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Tensions rise over post-Brexit fishing rights


Tensions rise over post-Brexit fishing rights

Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Today marks the deadline set by France by which fishing license disputes with the UK must be resolved.

Paris has threatened to cut off British access to French ports amidst a row over fishing rights. The feud has seen British trawlers seized and fined as their licenses were not recognized by French authorities. This was in response to a move from the UK denying French vessels licenses to fish in British waters.

In the short-term, expect officials to turn to conflict resolution mechanisms within the EU. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have already agreed to avoid escalation, averting a UK-France trade war. However due to Macron’s shaky prospects in the upcoming French presidential election, he will be keen to portray himself as a defender of national economic interests.

While this dispute will likely be resolved, the potential for economic conflict in the long-term remains. The cracks in the post-Brexit trade deal are likely to widen as Europe enters the post-pandemic economy. Conversely, efforts by EU leaders to shunt distractions like fishing in favor of addressing climate change may bode well for future disputes.

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