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Protests by European fishermen set to expand

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Protests by European fishermen set to expand

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In many coastal areas of France, fishermen are continuing their protests against spiralling fuel costs. They have been blocking roads and handing out fish free to passersby to demonstrate their plight. The French government is proposing a change in EU state aid rules to the fisheries sector to ease the burden on the industry.

One French fisherman insists the solution to the problem lies with the European Commission: “Policies are decided in Brussels. That’s where the fishermen should meet to influence that Europe that doesn’t want to listen to us,” he said.

France has won the backing of Italy, another of the European Union’s major fishing nations and Spain could reportedly also endorse the French initiative.

Some of the striking fishermen in France went back to work expecting financial support from the government. But one fisherman said there was a division of about fifty-fifty among them.

Widespread protest strikes are expected to start on Friday in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. The price of marine diesel has surged by some 30 percent in the past four months. A proposal to reduce VAT on fuel for the fishing industry has been rejected by the EU Commission.