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French minister cites 10 December deadline for UK fishing licence talks

·1-min read

French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune says he is eyeing a 10 December deadline for a resolution on a spat between France and Britain over the handing out of fishing licences in the wake of Brexit. Interior minister Gérald Darmanin has called on the UK to open a legal process for migrants to enter Britain legitimately.

UPDATE: 11h15 UT:

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has called on Britain to open a legal route for asylum seekers in order to prevent people risking their lives by taking small boats across the English Channel.

Speaking on RMC/BFMTV this Monday, Darmanin said "Great Britain needs to open up a legal immigration route" because "at the moment anyone who wants to ask for asylum has no other choice but to cross the Channel.

French officials have already suggested that British immigration officials process asylum requests in northern France from migrants camped out around the major ports on France's coast.

Meanwhile, speaking on France Inter radio this Monday, Clément Beaune said: "If there is no big gesture between now and 10 December, we will end our dialogue."

The dispute broke out after Britain left the European Union, with Paris saying London should have issued more French boats with licences to fish in British territorial waters.

Britain says it is respecting post-Brexit arrangements.

Tensions flared in October, when France briefly seized a British fishing boat in its waters, and both countries sent maritime vessels to waters off the English Channel island of Jersey earlier this year.

Meanwhile last Friday, French fishermen temporarily blockaded the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel in an effort to disrupt trade between Britain and the continent - escalating their row over licences to fish in British waters.

The dispute centres on the issuance of licences to fish in territorial waters six to 12 nautical miles off Britain's shores, as well as in the seas off the coast of Jersey, which is a Crown Dependency in the Channel.

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