France threatens to cut electricity supply to UK and Jersey over fishing dispute
France would take tough action against the UK by this week if the UK government did not grant more licenses to French fishermen, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday. In its ongoing fishing dispute with the UK, France has threatened to cut the supply of electricity to Jersey, which depends on the former for various needs. It came days after the French government strongly opposed the decision of the British government and the Channel Islands of Jersey to deny dozens of French fishermen a license to work in their territorial waters.
Declaring the British government’s decision “unacceptable”, France considered the refusal to be contrary to the post-Brexit agreement signed between the United Kingdom and France. Highlighting retaliatory action in his fisheries dispute with the UK, Attal said: “We are obviously in a position to take sanctions if the deal is not honored. There are several types of possible sanctions: energy prices, access to (French) ports, tariffs.
According to the post-Brexit agreement, which was signed between London and Brussels, it grants a subsidy to European fishermen to continue their fishing activities in territorial waters on condition that they obtain a license beforehand. Fishermen would get a license if they could prove that they had fished there before. However, the deal has now sparked a row between the two neighboring countries over the nature and extent of the evidence.
The disputed aquatic territory of Jersey is only 22 kilometers from the French coast. Jersey is under the control of the British government, but it has its own powers with regard to the authorization of fishing activities in its territorial waters. Attal said the government would announce sanctions and they would take effect in November if a settlement is not reached with the UK and Jersey. The government led by Emmanuel Macron has urged European Union countries to become one in the fisheries dispute, asking the bloc of 27 countries to denounce the British government’s decision and prepare retaliatory measures. Recently, France, along with 10 other countries in the European Union, issued a joint statement rejecting the UK’s ruling on the fisheries dispute. At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet his counterparts at a European summit to be held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.