France has decided to increase the pressure in the dangerous tensions that have arisen after the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU and is now threatening to reduce its electricity exports to the Channel Islands and to the British territory itself, if London does not agree to grant licenses. to the French fishermen who fish in its waters.
The United Kingdom’s relations with its former partners in the European Union are becoming increasingly difficult, especially since the consequences of the separation are felt in the daily lives of the British with the shortages and lack of workforce . London is thinking of stopping applying the Irish Protocol, which would have dramatic consequences on the island of Ireland and the negotiation with the European Commission on the status of Gibraltar has yet to be concluded, which in turn could lead to a dead end. for the border of the British colony. The reality is that there is no shortage of pitfalls to make the situation worse.
The Irish Protocol
This mechanism to avoid the need for a physical border with customs between the Republic of Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland is by far the most complex issue of all those that poison relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The British argue that the EU is too strict in enforcing controls on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK and for the most extreme Brexiters it is unacceptable even that there are controls on goods moving within. from the same country. Brexit Minister David Frost has already acknowledged that he is considering invoking Article 16, which provides for the unilateral cessation of these controls, which would trigger a serious crisis with Brussels.
This has been a vital aspect for France, which threatened to veto the trade agreement with the United Kingdom as a whole if its fishermen were not guaranteed access to the waters that they have traditionally shared with those of the islands under British sovereignty in the Channel. . Brussels has always said that if European fishermen are not allowed access, the catches will not be allowed to be marketed on the Community market, which is their traditional destination since the British do not consume these species. The problem was deferred until 2026, but the British are reluctant to grant licenses to all French fishermen.
Last week the negotiating mandate was approved with which the European Commission will try to reach an agreement to define the situation in Gibraltar, which is not affected by the conditions of the divorce treaty or those of the trade agreement that governs current relations between the EU and the UK. The Commission is the one that will handle the negotiations and has promised not to accept any agreement that is not satisfactory for Spain. What has been proposed is that Gibraltar be considered part of the Schengen territory, which would imply that there would be no border in La Línea but in return Spain should control all passenger entries into the British colony, something that they do not seem willing to accept. London has said it is preparing for a no-deal scenario.