Boris Johnson slams France's 'unacceptable' threat to cut power to Jersey as Brexit fishing row erupts

Boris Johnson slams France's 'unacceptable' threat to cut power to Jersey as Brexit fishing row erupts

05/05/2021

BORIS Johnson today slammed France's "unacceptable" threat to cut electricity supplies to Jersey as a major row erupted over post-Brexit fishing rights.

No 10 blasted the "disproportionate" reaction by Paris after the Channel Island introduced new licenses for French trawlers using its waters.


In response to the move one of Emmanuel Macron's ministers threatened to cut the power to the isle of 100,000, which is supplied by an underwater cable.

Maritime Minister Annick Girardin told French MPs: "We are ready to use these retaliation measures.

"I am sorry it has come to this," Girardin said, but "we will do so if we have to."

But the move has sparked a furious row with No 10 and threatened to further sour tense cross-Channel relations.

It also risks dragging wider ties with Brussels into the mix if eurocrats side with Mr Macron over the threat.

A UK Government spokesman said: "To threaten Jersey like this is clearly unacceptable and disproportionate.

"We are working closely with the EU and Jersey on fisheries access provisions following the end of the Transition Period, so trust the French will use the mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems.”

A senior Government source added: "Comments such as these are surprising and disappointing, especially from a close neighbour.

“This is just the latest example of the EU issuing threats as a first resort at any sign of difficulty.

"They should be using the mechanisms of our new Treaty to solve problems – that is exactly what it is there for."


Last year's Brexit talks were made especially torturous by France's hardline stance on fisheries.

Since we left Paris has threatened to target the UK in other ways, including with a ban on vaccines exports.

Mr Macron's lieutenants, in particular his Europe minister Clement Beaune, have also repeatedly baited the UK.

Just last week he threatened "reprisals" against Britain if No 10 doesn't agree to grant French fishermen greater access to our waters.

Mr Beaune warned Paris will be a "brutal and difficult partner" until it secures more catches, and could cut access for UK banks to the continent.

French fishermen are furious with the deal done last year on fishing which will see their share of stocks from UK waters gradually reduced.

Last month trawler men blocked British lorries at the port of Boulogne in protest, claiming they've been shut out of British seas.

Whitehall officials insist they're fully implementing the terms of the agreement in full cooperation with Brussels.

Britain and the EU have become locked in a number of increasingly fractious disputes since we left the bloc in January.

Brussels' move to impose a vaccines border on the island of Ireland back in January sparked a furious response from No 10.

Chief eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen then threatened a jabs blockade on the entire UK as our rollout far outpaced the bloc's.

There have also been disputes over our post-Brexit visa rules.

And yesterday the EU Commission recommended that Member States turn down Britain's request to smooth out cross-border legal disputes.

No 10 wanted to join the Lugano Convention, which helps ensure legal cases between parties in two different territories are heard and enforced fairly.

In response to the rejection a UK Government spokesman said: "We maintain we meet the criteria for accession.

"This is the right way forward for families, consumers, and businesses on both sides facing cross-border legal disputes in the future.

"We will continue to discuss our application with our European partners."

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