Ideas

Fishing For Trouble? Europe Must Stand Up To Boris Johnson's Bullying

The post-Brexit row of fishing rights is the last straw for not only France, but all of the European Union, who must put an end to the whims of Britain's prime minister, who seems ready to toss out years of negotiations for the divorce between the UK and EU.

Photo of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the COP26 in Glasgow

Boris Johnson speaking at the COP26 in Glasgow

Jean-Francis Pécresse

-OpEd-

PARIS — The fishing war between Paris and London is on, but it would be a mistake to worry too much about it.

Of course, we should not underestimate the deterioration of relations between our two countries, especially since the UK has multiplied unfriendly and even aggressive actions against France. The level of conflict is unprecedented for the contemporary era.


Summoning all the perfidy it's capable of, our British neighbor has worked in secret to cancel France's massive submarine contract with Australia, proving that it has little regard for its former European partner.

Respect the deals that were signed

The UK has been playing the role of the troublemaker in Europe for years: from its desire to obtain as many advantages as possible from the common market, to its decision to withdraw from it without paying exit costs and finally to its arrogant demands in the never-ending Brexit negotiations.

The country is no longer part of the European Union, but the turmoil carries on. This can't go on any longer, especially knowing that the EU has enough to worry about already on its eastern flank.

He can't continue to mock with impunity.

The fishing row represents a great opportunity to show the country's unpredictable and capricious Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he can't continue to mock with impunity the deals that were signed.

Of course, we would not be there if the agreement over fishing rights had been better negotiated in the first place, in order to guarantee, without ambiguity, the right of all French trawlers that had operated before 2021 in the 6-12-mile zone to continue to do so.

Photo of a fisherman unloading a catch of scallops at the harbor in St Helier, Jersey.

A fisherman unloading a catch of scallops at the harbor in St Helier, Jersey.

Ben Birchall/PA Wire/ZUMA

“French bashing” is not a policy

The spat initiated by the British island jurisdiction of Jersey are not worthy of two historic business partners who want to continue to manage their relationship. Especially since the Brexit deal is not really advantageous for our fishermen, who, beyond the 12-mile zone, are forced to give a quarter of their catch back to the UK. Gentlemen of Britain, help yourselves first ...

Today, standing up to the actions of Boris Johnson is not only a necessity to preserve the interests of France, but also of Europe. The European Commission should stand unambiguously behind Paris, or else the next step will be the unilateral exit from the Northern Ireland Protocol, which imposes mandatory custom checks and health controls in the Irish Sea. In other words, the core of Brexit will crumble.

Let's not forget his calamitous management of the COVID health crisis.

A complex and uncomfortable framework has been painstakingly established for the new relationship between the UK and Europe. But at least, a framework exists — and as such, it must be protected from the whims of Mr. Johnson, who fuels nationalist sentiment across the Channel to try to make people forget about his own failures.

And it must be said that these failures include Brexit itself, which deprives the British of many products, and perhaps even their Christmas tree in December; not to mention his calamitous management of the COVID health crisis.

Sausage wars, fights over migrants, fishing rows ... Permanent "French bashing" may be a political strategy, but it will never be political leadership.

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Pro-life and Pro-abortion Rights Protests in Washington

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Håfa adai!*

Welcome to Thursday, where new Omicron findings arrive from South Africa, abortion rights are at risk at the U.S. Supreme Court and Tyrannosaurus rex has got some new competition. From Germany, we share the story of a landmark pharmacy turned sex toy museum.

[*Chamorro - Guam]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• COVID update: South Africa reports a higher rate of reinfections from the Omicron variant than has been registered with the Beta and Delta variants, though researchers await further findings on the effects of the new strain. Meanwhile, the UK approves the use of a monoclonal therapy, known as sotrovimab, to treat those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.The approval comes as the British pharmaceutical company, GSK, separately announced the treatment has shown to “retain activity” against the Omicron variant. Down under, New Zealand’s reopening, slated for tomorrow is being criticized as posing risks to its under-vaccinated indigenous Maori.

• Supreme Court poised to gut abortion rights: The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a willingness to accept a Republican-backed Mississippi law that would bar abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape or incest. A ruling, expected in June, may see millions of women lose abortion access, 50 years after it was recognized as a constitutional right in the landmark Roe v. Wade case.

• Macri charged in Argentine spying case: Argentina’s former president Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on the family members of 44 sailors who died in a navy submarine sinking in 2017. The charge carries a sentence of three to ten years in prison. Macri, now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated.

• WTA suspends China tournaments over Peng Shuai: The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China due to concerns about the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and the safety of other players. Peng disappeared from public view after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.

• Michigan school shooting suspect to be charged as an adult: The 15-year-old student accused of killing four of his classmates and wounding seven other people in a Michigan High School will face charges of terrorism and first-degree murder. Authorities say the suspect had described wanting to attack the school in cellphone videos and a journal.

• Turkey replaces finance minister amid economic turmoil: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan appointed a strong supporter of his low-interest rate drive, Nureddin Nebati, as Turkey’s new finance minister.

• A battle axe for a tail: Chilean researchers announced the discovery of a newly identified dinosaur species with a completely unique feature from any other creatures that lived at that time: a flat, weaponized tail resembling a battle axe.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

South Korean daily Joong-ang Ilbo reports on the discovery of five Omicron cases in South Korea. The Asian nation has broken its daily record for overall coronavirus infections for a second day in a row with more than 5,200 new cases. The variant cases were linked to arrivals from Nigeria and prompted the government to tighten border controls.


#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

¥10,000

In the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin, a reward of 10,000 yuan ($1,570) will be given to anyone who volunteers to take a COVID-19 test and get a positive result, local authorities announced on Thursday on the social network app WeChat.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Why an iconic pharmacy is turning into a sex toy museum

The "New Pharmacy" was famous throughout the St. Pauli district of Hamburg for its history and its long-serving owner. Now the owner’s daughter is transforming it into a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys, linking it with the past "curing" purpose of the shop, reports Eva Eusterhus in German daily Die Welt.

💊 The story begins in autumn 2018, when 83-year-old Regis Genger stood at the counter of her pharmacy and realized that the time had come for her to retire. At least that is the first thing her daughter Anna Genger tells us when we meet, describing the turning point that has also shaped her life and that of her business partner Bianca Müllner. The two women want to create something new here, something that reflects the pharmacy's history and Hamburg's eclectic St. Pauli quarter (it houses both a red light district and the iconic Reeperbahn entertainment area) as well as their own interests.

🚨 Over the last few months, the pharmacy has been transformed into L'Apotheque, a venture that brings together art and business in St. Pauli's red light district. The back rooms will be used for art exhibitions, while the old pharmacy space will house a museum dedicated to the history of sex toys. Genger and Müllner want to show that desire has always existed and that people have always found inventive ways of maximizing pleasure, even in times when self-gratification was seen as unnatural and immoral, as a cause of deformities.

🏩 Genger and Müllner want the museum to show how the history of desire has changed over time. The art exhibitions, which will also center on the themes of physicality and sexuality, are intended to complement the exhibits. They are planning to put on window displays to give passers-by a taste of what is to come, for example, British artist Bronwen Parker-Rhodes's film Lovers, which offers a portrait of sex workers during lockdown.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

"I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never."

— U.S. actor Alec Baldwin spoke to ABC News, his first interview since the accident that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie Rust last October. The actor said that although he was holding the gun he didn’t pull the trigger, adding that the bullet “wasn't even supposed to be on the property.”

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

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