- France and Britain embroiled in a standoff over Jersey fishing rights for French boats
- Paris minister Clement Beain says Britain is dependent on Europe for energy
- After Brexit, Jersey only licensed 12 French boats as others lacked evidence.
Ministers today dismissed France’s threats to cut Britain’s power, dramatically escalating a bitter dispute over Jersey fishing permits.
Europe’s minister Clement Bunin engaged in extraordinary saber-rattling, accusing Britain of failing to implement the Brexit deal.
Paris was furious when Jersey licensed 12 small French boats this summer out of only 47 applications – with the caveat that the ships could lead to a blockade.
Mr Byun went further this morning, noting that the UK depends on energy exports across the channel.
The two under-sea cables of the Interconnection France-Angleterre (IFA) supply enough electricity to the UK to power three million homes – more than the total amount generated by British wind farms.
‘Just already, we have an agreement negotiated by France by Michel Barnier, and it should be implemented 100 percent. It’s not happening,’ he told Europe 1 radio.
France threatens to cut Britain’s power in a dramatic escalation of a bitter row over Jersey fishing permits (pictured, French boats protesting St Helier in June)
Europe’s minister Clement Beain takes extraordinary saber-rattling accusing Britain of failing to implement Brexit deal
This graphic shows how the Interconnection France-Angleterre subsea electricity operation between France and Canto works
The IFA (thick line in green) is one of a series of power interconnectors between the UK and other parts of Europe.
‘Over the next few days, and I spoke to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures, either at the European level or at the national level, to put pressure on the United Kingdom.’
He said: ‘We protect our interests. We do it well and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work, we take measures.
“For example, we can imagine, since we are talking about energy, … the United Kingdom depends on our energy supply,” Bunin also said. ‘It thinks it can live alone, and curses Europe.’
But a cabinet minister told MailOnline that Mr Beain was making empty threats – stating that relations would break if France took such an action.
“If France cuts off our electricity supply, we will never use them again,” he said.
‘Why would you ever go to a provider that did this? Trust would be gone. They will harm themselves in the long run.
Fishing rights were one of the key battlefields in the post-Brexit negotiations between Britain and France.
Earlier this year, a dispute over the license prompted both France and Britain to send patrol vessels off the coast of Jersey, a self-governing British Crown dependency.
Diplomatic relations between the countries have reached a low level in recent weeks.
Last month, Boris Johnson told France to ‘prenez un gripe’ and ‘donez moi un brake’ in a row about the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal, which broke a separate French contract.
Britain says most vessels were denied licenses because they failed to provide evidence that they fished six to 12 miles of sea area in the years before Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union Was.
Jersey Foreign Minister Ian Gorst said the island’s government had taken a “practical, reasonable and evidence-based approach” to the issue.