France criticises UK’s ’unacceptable’ fishing decision
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Tensions are brewing in the English Channel and may soon spill over into the mainland, following Britain’s refusal to issue fishing licenses to French boats. French trawlermen have been fighting for access to British territorial waters but the Government has recently only issued licences to 12 out of 47 recent applications. The move has angered French officials who slammed the decision as “unacceptable”, sparking fears of a full-blown diplomatic crisis about to erupt in the Channel.
French fishermen have already threatened to cut power to Jersey and pundits fear fishing boats could further attempt to block the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK.
Tension is also brewing over the Northern Ireland protocol, which describes Northern Ireland’s position in regards to a border with the European Union, Ireland and the UK.
In particular, it was agreed as part of the protocol there would be no new checks on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU.
Tory MPs have, however, recently called for the agreement to be scrapped, arguing a better deal could be struck between the EU and the UK.
Dutch media have now zeroed in on the conflict, claiming Brussels may implement sanctions against the UK in retaliation for not honouring its Brexit agreements.
In a comment piece published in Volkskrant on Thursday, Marc Peeperkorn claimed the European Commission may consider banning British companies from the European market as well as introducing import duties.
He wrote: “The Commission knows that it is counterproductive to announce a new ultimatum with a drum roll.
“London will sit back until the new date is in sight and then – hoping for limp knees at the EU – try to wrestle new concessions.
Fishing: Ben Habib says relationship with France is ‘unbalanced’
“So far that works. Exactly what the Member States did not want – the continual extension of transition periods – is now happening.”
At the bottom of his article, he also claimed: “If London does not come up with more, France will consider less energy supplies to the UK.”
Former hedge fund manager Tony Walker has argued France could use energy access as a political bargaining chip against the UK.
He tweeted: “Dutch paper this morning – big article on EU coalition formed to implement UK sanctions due to Irish border agreement non-compliance.
“France may limit flow to UK due to non-compliance with agreed fishing boat access. Nothing on BBC News #Brexit.”
France is one of the UK’s biggest energy links to the continent and in 2018, about six percent of the UK’s energy was supplied from France.
France and the UK have been trading electricity since 1986.
Earlier this year, an undersea connection between the two nations went online.
The £700million IFA2 interconnector between Hampshire and Normandy is expected to deliver up to 1.2 percent of Britain’s electricity needs.
However, Britain has been diversifying its energy portfolio and may avoid trouble with the French with the aid of Norway.
Last week the world’s longest undersea power cables went online, connecting Northumberland to Norway in the North Sea.
The line will carry up to 1,400 megawatts of energy at peak output and power as many as 1.4 million homes.
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