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France is threatening to cut off electricity on the British Isles in a post-Brexit fishing dispute



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

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

“As for Jersey, I will remind you, for example, of transporting electricity by submarine cable,” she added. “We have the means. And even if it’s sad to get to this point, we’ll get there if we have to.”

The self-governing island of Jersey is one of the Channel Islands, located just 14 miles off the coast of France. Although not technically part of the United Kingdom, the islands are crown dependent, protected and internationally represented by the United Kingdom government.

Jersey Electricity, the island̵

7;s main electricity supplier, says more than 95% of the island’s electricity comes from France and is transported by submarine cable.

In a statement, Jersey Foreign Minister Senator Jan Gorst said the island had been informed by France and the European Union “that they are not satisfied with the conditions set out in the fishing licenses and fishing in general”.

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

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

“We want to heal the relationship 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 post-Brexit trade agreement on December 24, which took effect on January 1, when Britain left the EU’s single market and customs union.

Jersey rafting is part of an escalating dispute between the EU and the United Kingdom over fishing rights, with boats on both sides facing administrative hurdles and being rejected on paper.

“It is important to condemn this move immediately, I did it with the (European) Commission, condemning the breach of the Brexit agreement,” Girardin said, warning that the move from Jersey “would set a dangerous precedent for access elsewhere.”

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

According to archives from the French assembly, the move had a “psychological impact” on the local population, who feared that the water, gas and electricity provided by France would be reduced. The blockade lasted only a few hours.


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