France threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity supplies on Tuesday as the row over post-Brexit fishing rights between Paris and London deepened.
“We are ready to use these retaliation measures,” Annick Girardin, the maritime minister, told lawmakers in the French parliament. “I am sorry it has come to this. We will do so if we have to.”
Ms Giradin mentioned the underwater cables that supply Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, with about 95 percent of its electricity and suggested they could be shut down. The remaining five per cent of its electricity is provided by on-island diesel generators.
The self-governing British Crown Dependency would face all-island power cuts if the French threat was carried out. There were three island-wide power cuts in six years until a new £40 million pound, 16.7-mile cable was laid between Jersey and France in 2016.
On Friday, the UK authorised 41 ships to fish in waters off Jersey. The French fisheries ministry said this was accompanied by new demands “which were not arranged or discussed, and which we were not notified about”.
The new measures set out “where the ships can go and cannot go”, as well as the number of days the fishermen can spend at sea and using what machinery, the ministry claimed.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” Ms Girardin said. “If we accept this for Jersey, it would imperil our access everywhere.”
David Jones, the deputy chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs, told The Telegraph: “This is straightforward demanding money with menaces, which is not the way a 21st century democratic country behaves. The simple fact is this is bullying in order to get the UK to back down on fishing.”
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May 5, 2021 at 02:02AM