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France threatens to cut off power to the British Isles in post-Brexit fisheries dispute



“As you know, the agreement contains provisions on retaliatory measures and we are ready to use them,” Girardin told the French parliament.

Girardin also claimed that the Jersey government – which issued 41 fishing permits to French vessels on April 30 – had imposed “unilateral” restrictions on trawlers.

“As for Jersey, for example, I would remind you of electric transportation via submarine cable,” she added. “We have funds available. And even though it would be sad to get to that point, we’ll get there if we have to.”

The autonomous island of Jersey is one of the Channel Islands and sits just 14 miles off the French coast. Although not technically part of the United Kingdom, the islands are crown dependents, defense and internationally represented by the British government.

Jersey Electricity, the island̵

7;s largest electricity provider, says more than 95% of the electricity the island buys is from France and is transported via submarine cables.

In a statement, Jersey’s external relations minister Senator Ian Gorst said the island had been informed by France and the EU “that they are dissatisfied with the conditions of fishing licenses and fishing in general.”

“Such complaints are taken very seriously and the government will respond fully,” Gorst said. “However, the Jersey Government has acted on legal advice in good faith and with due regard for non-discriminatory and scientific principles at every step of this procedure.”

He added that Jersey regretted a recent decision by French local authorities in neighboring Normandy to close their representation on the island, saying it was based on a “misunderstanding that can be rectified.”

“We want to heal the situation as soon as possible and we hope (the authorities in Normandy) take the opportunity to reverse the decision,” Gorst said.

Britain and the EU reached a trade agreement after Brexit on 24 December, which entered into force on 1 January, when Britain left the EU’s internal market and customs union.

The Jersey saliva is part of an escalating dispute between the EU and the UK over fishing rights, with both sides facing administrative obstacles and being rejected due to paperwork.

“It is important that we immediately condemn this move. I did so with the (EU) Commission and condemned the breach of the Brexit agreement,” Girardin said, warning Jersey moves “would set a dangerous precedent for access elsewhere.”

The Girardin’s threat is reminiscent of former French President Charles de Gaulle’s blockade of the Principality of Monaco in October 1962 as part of a tax dispute.

According to archives of the French Assembly, the movement had a “psychological impact” on the local population, who feared that water, gas and electricity from France would be cut. The blockade lasted only a few hours.


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