France 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 argument centred around the number of fishing licences granted after Brexit.
Mr Beaune said last week Paris would ask the European Commission to begin 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 stop 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 rule 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.”
Last week, the European Affairs minister said France had obtained 93 per cent of the requested licenses to fish in UK waters. But the country nevertheless 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.
“Our approach to licensing has been evidence-based and thoroughly in line with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA),” a UK government spokesperson said.
“We have licensed vessels where sufficient evidence has been provided to demonstrate that they qualify for access under the TCA. Where evidence has not been provided, licenses have not been issued”.
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