Europe's top court fines France over fishing laws

12th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

LUXEMBOURG, July 12 (AFP) - Europe's highest court fined France on Tuesday for failing to comply with European Union fishing laws, setting an important legal precedent.

LUXEMBOURG, July 12 (AFP) - Europe's highest court fined France on Tuesday for failing to comply with European Union fishing laws, setting an important legal precedent.

The European Court of Justice ordered Paris to pay a fine of EUR 20 million for failing to comply with EU laws and an additional sum of EUR 57.7 million every six months if it continues to flout the rules.

It is the first time the court has fined an EU member state for disobeying a past ruling and imposed a periodic penalty payment. The first six-month period will start Tuesday, the court said.

In 1991 the court, at the request of the EU's executive commission, found that France had infringed EU law between 1984 and 1987 by failing to carry out controls aimed at ensuring compliance with fisheries conservation measures.

In particular, it found that France had failed to enforce controls in relation to the minimum mesh sizes of fishing nets, attachments to nets, by-catches, and allowing fish that were too young to be sold.

The court, based in Luxembourg, also found that France had failed to take action against those who were in breach of EU laws.

The commission has said it has battled with France for years to try to convince it to apply the laws, but after numerous inspections it believes the country is still failing to comply.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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