Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 452, 4 November 2021

UK-France Fishing row: Conflict over catching rights escalates with slim signs of a thaw
Sourina Bej

In the news
On 3 November, France released the British trawlers that were detained amid the ongoing conflict over fishing rights. The Scottish-registered scallop dredger Cornelis Gert Jan left the northern French port of Le Havre, and the trawler's owner said, "the boat was detained last week, saying it did not have a license." Since October, the conflict over boat licenses to fish across the English Channel escalated, propelling France to threaten to block the UK goods.

On 1 November, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that talks over equitable fishing rights would continue as he stepped back from the threat to impose complete customs checks on the UK goods and ban the UK boats from entering some French ports. Even though the French transport minister called their position in the talks "a constructive one," the UK government spokesperson said the Brexit minister would "reaffirm our existing position" when they meet France on 4 November.
Additionally, on 3 November, tensions also eased when a French court ruled that a British scallop dredger seized by French authorities could leave immediately with no requirement to pay the EUR 150,000 deposit.
 
Issues at large 
First, the geo-economic tussle over the Channel. France and the UK have been at loggerheads over fishing permits in the English Channel Islands for several months. The French fishers have protested against the UK system, requiring the EU fishermen to prove prior fishing activities to gain permits. Britain had countered these protests on the ground that the terms agreed in Brexit trade talks support limited access to the Channel. In this, the Jersey port became a recent flashpoint when the post-BREXIT regulations were implemented. France had responded, saying no to any new conditions affecting all boats that had been agreed during the Brexit transition talks. Currently, France threatened a series of measures against the UK unless more licenses were granted by 2 November. On 6 October, the French fishing fleet owners threatened the Jersey administration with a two-week license deadline.

Second, post-Brexit conflict expansion. With conflict escalating over fishing rights, the UK now confronts tensions surrounding both its land and water borders. While the UK sees the English Channel as its bilateral conflict with France, the latter sees the right to fish as part of the Brexit agreement. Similarly, another fallout of the Brexit transition talks has been over the Northern Ireland protocol. The UK and EU are deadlocked over revising the Northern Irish protocol, the Brexit agreement that kept the region in the EU single market, and the customs union to prevent a land border. The UK's Brexit minister is due to meet the European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič for further talks on 5 November, as both sides try to settle the issue before the end of 2021. With both fishing rights and trade rights in its water and land borders respectively in question, the UK will steadily hurdle to holding its end of the agreement.  

Third, talks return to ease post-Brexit tensions. After three years of talks with the EU, the UK exited the union in 2020, however, in over a year, the two sides have now returned to the negotiating table to ease the tensions over the implementation of the Brexit agreement. Furthermore, the difference in the letter and spirit of the agreement for both the UK and the EU have challenged constructive talks. The French spokesperson said technical talks would continue on, including with some officials from Guernsey but cautioned against expecting any big breakthrough. While not ruling out progress, they said they did not anticipate resolving the issues at the Paris meeting.

In perspective 
First, the current tensions are a rerun of the Jersey island conflict and an expansion of similar sentiments across the coastline. It involves boats from Boulogne and other northern French ports, which are much better placed to create a real crisis in Franco-British relations.

Second, the leader's approach to conflict resolution has been insufficient. There is a danger that the French government, who is seven months from an election and angered by the submarine dispute, could be seen relishing a confrontation with Britain. French fishermen's leaders – even pro-Macron members of the National Assembly – are talking about blockades of Calais and the Channel Tunnel. Similarly, Johnson's populist approach to conflict resolutions risks equal escalation as well.

January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 470
Iran: Two years after Qasem Soleimani
January 2022 | Conflict Alert # 468
Kazakhstan: Bloody unrest and a brutal crackdown

December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 466
COVID-19: Omicron rapidly spreads across countries
December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 464
Ukraine: The West warns Russia over Ukrainian aggression

December 2021 | Conflict Alert # 463
China: 12 million missing children
November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 459
Europe: Restrictions lead to Widespread Protests
November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 457
Cuba: Between bouts of demonstrations
November 2021 | Conflict Alert # 454
Pakistan: A month-long ceasefire with the TTP
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 447
The US: Protests against the Texas anti-abortion law
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 444
Brazil: Anti-Bolsonaro protests across the country
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 441
Yemen: Houthis continue to capture territories
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 439
Europe: Pride Marches in Serbia and Ukraine
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 437
Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests

August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo

July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?

May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists
November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off

October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 

July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence

June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 

May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar