It was one of the sensitive subjects during the negotiations on the Brexit agreement, it still is after its implementation: fishing rights in the Channel are still the subject of tensions between France and the Kingdom. United, especially around the British island of Jersey. After the granting, at the end of September, of 76 licenses to French boats – out of 450 requested by France – Paris raised the tone on Friday, October 8.
If France does not intend to “Cut the power to every inhabitant of Jersey this winter, reduce deliveries [d’électricité], it’s possible “, said Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, on the BFM-TV channel. The agreement reached by EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Brexit provides for a “Energy export agreement, he noted. So we can regulate the flow. I don’t want it to come to that. This is one of the political possibilities ”.
The post-Brexit agreement, reached in extremis at the end of last year between London and Brussels, provides that European fishermen can continue to work in certain British waters on condition that they obtain a license, granted if they can prove that they fished there before. The Channel Island of Jersey announced on September 29 the granting of 64 definitive licenses to French boats (out of the 169 requested by Paris) and the definitive rejection of 75 applications. The day before, London had granted 12 additional authorizations in its waters, within the limit of 6 to 12 nautical miles from its coasts (87 requests had been sent to it).
“The British need us”
“We have requested a little over 450 licenses in total (…). We will hold on to the 450 “, hammered the French Secretary of State. Wider, “We will take targeted retaliatory measures” against the United Kingdom if London “Continue not to apply the agreement” on Brexit, he added, without specifying whether he was talking about France alone or the Europeans.
“The British need us [Européens] to sell their products, including fishing. They need us for their energy, for their financial services, for their research centers ”, noted Clément Beaune. “On all this we have retaliatory measures, cooperation measures that we can modulate, reduce if the British continue not to apply the agreement”, he said. “If the British do not respect their share, we will not do 100% of our share. “
Paris has once again criticized the UK for wanting to hide the post-Brexit difficulties it faces by seeking the ” conflict “ with Europeans. “They missed Brexit, it’s their choice and it’s their failure, it’s not ours”, said Clément Beaune. “It is not by beating our fishermen, by threatening us every day, by being bad players and by creating annoyances or problems for the Europeans, the French, and our fishermen in particular, that you will solve turkey shortages. at Christmas “, he said.