Jersey: Fisherman criticises France over electricity ‘threat’
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Jayne Adye was speaking at a time of raised tensions between the two countries in the wake of threats by Annick Girardin, France’s Minister for the Sea, to cut off Jersey’s electricity supply earlier this month, coupled with threats by French fishing boats to blockade the island. Mr Johnson responded by deploying two Royal Navy boats to disperse the French vessels – but Ms Adye, director of campaign group Get Britain Out, said the incident should not be allowed to obscure the wider issue.
Specifically, Ms Adye pointed to two Freedom of Information requests which she had submitted to Defra.
These revealed that 1,659 boats have been granted licences to fish in the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone, including eight supertrawlers, while 105 vessels have also been granted licences to fish inside the nation’s 6-12 nautical mile range – with not a single application rejected.
Ms Adye said: “Just last week, Emmanuel Macron again threatened to block a deal on Financial Services if fishing disputes are not resolved.
“Quite frankly how much more does he want?
“Because as far as I can see, French fishermen seem to have everything they asked for already!
“The reality is the EU – and in particular the French – seem to believe they should be given free rein over another country’s land and sea, and unfortunately the current UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement all but confirms this.”
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Addressing the response of the Prime Minister himself, he added: “It is about time Prime Minister Boris Johnson gets his act together and actually addresses these issues.
“The Local Elections are now behind him and the Pandemic appears to be coming to an end. There is no time for more excuses.
“There’s still a great deal to do to finish Brexit for the good of Global Britain Boris!”
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Ms Adye’s reference to financial services followed widespread reports suggesting Paris was ready to block the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed earlier this month paving the way towards future cooperation on financial services, citing concerns over delays in obtaining licences to continue fishing in UK waters.
In April, France’s junior minister for EU affairs, Clement Beaune, had likewise threatened to limit access for UK financial services companies into the EU if fishing boats are not treated in a way his country considered fair.
Speaking to French TV station BFM last month, Mr Beaune said: “The UK is expecting a number of financial services authorisations from us.
“We will not give any until we have the guarantees that on fishing and other subjects, the United Kingdom is respecting its commitments.
“It’s give-and-take. Everyone must respect their commitments, otherwise, we will be as brutal and difficult as necessary.”
Commenting, David Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) suggested the move probably stemmed from Mr Macron’s concern at his prospects of re-election next year.
He said: “The French position is completely without merit.
“Even if they had reasonable cause for complaint about access to the waters around Jersey and the UK, the way that they are trying to bully their way into getting what they want – by threatening to cut off electricity supplies to Jersey, and now trying to stop UK access to EU financial markets – is wholly illegitimate.”
Mr Jones added: “The French attitude is becoming increasingly erratic.
“They are behaving like a rogue state, refusing to observe the provisions of the TCA.
“This is probably the consequence of increasing pressure on Mr Macron, who is clearly concerned about his diminishing prospects of re-election next year.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Downing Street for comment.
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