The UK government has warned that French threats to disrupt British trade by blocking its trawlers will be met with an “appropriate and calibrated” response.
Addressing the House of Commons on Thursday, UK Environment Minister George Eustice said it was very disappointing to see the threats, as they are not compatible with international law.
The development came after France seized a British trawler fishing in its territorial waters and issued a warning to a second vessel, claiming that they did not have a license.
“The measures being threatened did not appear to be compatible with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement or wider international law and if carried through, will be met with an appropriate and calibrated response,” Eustice said, adding that the seized vessel did have a license.
“They were on the list that was provided by the MMO (Marine Management Organization) initially to the European Union. The European Union therefore did grant a license,” he told parliament.
“We are seeing some reports that for some reason, they were subsequently withdrawn from the list. It is unclear why that might have been at the moment,” he added.
France, on the other side, says Britain has refused to grant its fishermen the full number of licenses to operate in British waters that France says is warranted.
Paris announced retaliatory measures on Wednesday if there was no progress in its post-Brexit fishing row with London.
The French government announced that it will introduce additional customs regulations on imports from the UK starting November 2, raising the prospect of further economic pain before Christmas for Britain, which is struggling with labor shortages and rising energy prices.
It is also considering a second round of sanctions that could affect power supplies to the UK, whose energy market is already facing a turmoil with several suppliers bankrupted.
“So now we need to speak the language of strength since that seems to be the only thing this British government understands,” European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told CNews television channel.