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France to start legal action against UK on fishing licences in ‘January’

France to start legal action against UK on fishing licences in ‘January’
France warns the UK could face sanctions if the tribunal finds it has breached agreement

Frankrike will start legal action against the UK over the post-Brexit fishing row within weeks, a French minister has said.

Clement Beaune, the secretary of state for European affairs, said on Thursday the case will go before a special tribunal in the “very first days of January”.

It comes days after France said it would seek European Union legal action against the UK over the months-long dispute centred around the number of fishing licences granted after Brexit.

Mr Beaune said last week Paris would ask the European Commission to initiate judicial proceedings “for licences we are entitled to get”.

He told French media on Thursday litigation will kick off in early January.

When asked on public TV station France 2 how this would work with the UK no longer being in the EU, he said there was the post-Brexit agreement.

“If there are breaches of the agreement, it can lead to sanctions from a tribunal that we jointly established,” Mr Beaune said.

“It will be this tribunal that we will refer to in the first days of January.”

Forrige uke, the European Affairs minister said France had obtained 93 per cent of the requested licenses to fish in UK waters. But the country still wanted just over 70 more to be granted.

French fishermen staged blockades at the Port of Calais and Channel Tunnel last month as they claimed they had been “humiliated” over post-Brexit licences.

Downing Street has been approached for comment.