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Brussels has been accused of “organising the disappearance of the small-scale fishing industry” in France as a post-Brexit deal signed by Emmanuel Macron will force French fishermen’s catches out of their own markets to the advantage of British ones.
Emmanuel Macron’s government has agreed to open up the Breton fish markets to fish caught by British vessels, something that infuriated French right-wing politicians.
French MEP France Jamet denounced the agreement, approved by the EU, in a press release sent to her voters.
She said: “Two years after the conclusion of the laborious Brexit negotiations, it is with the complicity of the French government that Brussels is organising the disappearance of our small-scale fishing industry and our ports.
“Indeed, the prefecture of Finistère is planning to open up the Breton fish markets to fish caught by British vessels.
“The French industry will be even more vulnerable as the price of UK products is two to three times cheaper than that offered by our Breton fishermen.
“At the same time, instead of fighting to support the sustainability of the industry, the French government prefers to get out the chequebook to finance the scrapping of fishing vessels that cannot withstand the shock. Ninety deep-sea boats will be destroyed, including about thirty in the Finistère department.
“It is in Guilvinec, France’s leading small-scale fishing port, that the most fatal blow will be experienced, with an estimated loss of 20 percent of fish supplies to the auction, 125 unemployed sailors and 800 indirect jobs affected, from fishmongers to boat mechanics.”
She warned: “If we don’t want our artisanal fishermen to disappear, it is urgent to engage a policy of economic patriotism, to encourage local consumption, and to lower taxes on energy. We must put our own first before others.”
Ms Jamet was referring to Emmanuel Macron’s grand offer to trawler owners, who failed to obtain a permit to fish in British waters, willing to destroy their boats and promise to refrain from buying new ones for at least five years in exchange for a hefty payout by the government ranging between €94,500 and €2.92 million.
Commenting on the issue, Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henri Gallois told Express.co.uk remaining in the EU will only exasperate things for French fishermen going forwards.
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He said: “The French government is weak towards fishing. Not because of the UK or Brexit but because we are still in the EU.
“It means that the EU decides everything regarding fishing. As a result, you don’t have only British fishermen in the French waters but above all big Dutch or Scandinavian tankers.
“We should take back control of our waters and maybe we can have a bilateral win-win deal between France and the UK about fishing.
“Fishing is an exclusive competence of the EU. The margin to negotiate something is more than narrow. The current path of the EU is all the more to give more power to Brussels than the contrary.
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“You can see it with COVID-19, Russia Today and Sputnik closing or Brussels sending weapons to Ukraine. The EU decides all this out of its competencies.
“It’s the permanent coup d’Etat.”
Macron’s scheme was described by the mayor of Pont L’Abbe on the Breton coast, Stephane Le Doare, as “paradoxical”, but many trawlers owners are expected to accept the offer.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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