Post-Brexit row over fishing rights

France and the UK are locked in a major dispute over post-Brexit fishing licences in the English Channel. French fishing boats threatened to blockade the harbour of the Channel island of Jersey. Both countries have deployed naval vessels to the area. Commentators discuss what can be done to prevent such confrontations.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Why this show of strength was necessary

For The Daily Telegraph the decision to deploy naval vessels was entirely appropriate:

“The main purpose of Johnson sending the 'gunboats' is two-fold. First, to bolster confidence among people on Jersey that Britain will not let them be intimidated, brow-beaten or bullied by a major European power. This is nothing less than the duty of the British Government, which is constitutionally responsible for the island's defence. The second purpose is to send a clear signal to France that it is time to get a grip on their unruly and belligerent trawlermen before things get very messy indeed.”

Népszava (HU) /

Explosives fabricated by politicians

Népszava criticises that an issue that is relatively marginal in macroeconomic terms is being placed in the public eye for the sake of domestic politics:

“At most, we're talking about 180,000 jobs here out of almost 200 million in the European Union. And it's no different on the British side: Fishery represents 0.02 percent of GDP. Yet the two sides have turned the arrangement into a matter of principle (and domestic politics). ... In the coastal areas, the fishing quota is an important economic issue, and in the capitals it can be effectively used to fabricate a nationalist explosive.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Create a basis for negotiation now

Such disputes could become a frequent occurrence if Brussels doesn't make a concerted effort to mediate effectively with London, La Stampa points out:

“The last-minute Brexit agreement has left many problems, both large and small, unresolved. If they are not addressed, they'll end up running amok. ... In the post-Brexit era, the EU and the UK need to use common sense and learn how to talk to each other again. London is still a major European capital - it has been throughout its history. Brussels can't continue to maintain the fiction that the UK is just any old 'third country'.”