Correspondent in Brussels
France has decided to increase pressure on the dangerous tensions that have arisen after the UK’s departure from the EU and is now threatening to reduce your electricity exports to the Channel Islands and to the British territory itself, if London does not agree to grant licenses to French fishermen who fish in its waters. French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune declared this morning that in the current circumstances of high demand in the EU, France could reduce its supply of electricity to the UK which is net dependent on this energy.
«They believe that they can live alone and also speak ill of Europe. And since it doesn’t work, they aggressively proclaim themselves superior, “Beaune said on a radio station. “Brexit has proven to be a great failure as a result of populism,” said the French representative.
Fishing in the waters of the Canal was one of the thorniest issues of the Brexit negotiation because the French have historically fished in the territorial area of the Channel Islands that belong to the United Kingdom. For Lóndres it is a symbol of the exercise of sovereignty and for France an electoral issue of the first order. Brussels has warned that if the French are not allowed to fish, British fishermen will not be able to sell their catch on the European market.
Last week when the United Kingdom granted only part of the licenses that the French authorities were waiting for, claiming that those fishermen they had not shown roots in those waters. The dispute is also delaying negotiations on granting access to buoyant British financial companies to the EU market and has led to the deployment of warships in Jersey when French fishermen briefly blockaded the island’s main port.
The United Kingdom relies on two huge power cables that carry electricity from France’s nuclear power plants through the English Channel. Any disruption to that supply would put further pressure on the vulnerable British energy market. Tomorrow, Wednesday, the European energy and environment ministers meet in Luxembourg.