United Kingdom hits out at ‘unacceptable’ French threats to cut Jersey’s power

A flare is lit as French fishing boats protest in front of the port of Saint Helier off the British island of Jersey to draw attention to what they see as unfair restrictions on their ability to fish in UK waters after Brexit

Brexit leader Nigel Farage has criticised the French government for threatening to cut off electricity to Jersey island over a fishing rights dispute, remarking that "if the French are prepared to behave like this then thank God we left" the European Union.

Meanwhile, No 10 said, in a call with Jersey officials, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had given his "unequivocal support" for the island and confirmed that the two Royal Navy vessels would "remain in place to monitor the situation as a precautionary measure".

"We won't be intimidated by these manoeuvres", French Europe Minister Clement Beaune told AFP.

The French threat is the latest flare-up over fishing rights between the two countries.

Jersey-themed fridge magnets are on display in St. Helier, on the British island of Jersey, in November 2017.

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands in the English Channel and, while geographically closer to France, is a British Crown Dependency.

"It's incredible to have succeeded in getting everyone together", fisherman Camille Lecureuil told AFP onboard his boat from the port of Carteret on the French coast.

HMS Tamar (REAR), a Batch 2 river-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Navy, is watched by a fishing boat as it patrols the waters off the British island of Jersey on May 6, 2021.

Commission spokeswoman Vivian Loonela said the European Union was engaged in "intense joint work" with the British government to resolve the issue.

France threatens to cut electricity to British island in post-Brexit fisheries dispute
UK hits out at ‘unacceptable’ French threats to cut Jersey’s power

"The British government must now get round the table with French colleagues and authorities in Jersey and sort this issue out".

Downing Street has hit back at France after they have threatened to cut the electricity supply off to Jersey over post-Brexit fishing rights.

The dispute came after the island implemented new rules requiring fishermen to submit their past fishing activities in order to receive a licence to continue operating in Jersey waters. Paris has accused the British government off using red tap to limit fishing which French leaders claim is in breach of the agreement made in negotiations previous year.

"Our wish is not to have tensions, but to have a quick and full application of the (Brexit) deal", he told AFP, after speaking to Britain's minister for relations with the EU, David Frost. "That's the case for Jersey and that's the case for the licences we are waiting for in the Hauts de France" region. One boat was identified as a gendarme police vessel and the other a maritime administration patroller. The story dominated newspaper front page on Thursday, as voters go to the polls in local and regional elections in England, Scotland and Wales.

Johnson's spokesman said "any blockade would be completely unjustified", and that the United Kingdom will send two Navy vessels as a "precautionary measure".

With a population of 108,000, Jersey imports 95% of its electricity from France, with diesel generators and gas turbines providing backup, according to energy news agency S&P Global Platts.

In the run up to Thursday's protest, French fishermen had been loudly complaining about new licensing requirements announced by Jersey authorities.

The post-Brexit tensions over shared fishing grounds have been simmering in recent weeks.

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