Macron is a figure of hate says Niall McCrae
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Environmental Secretary George Eustice has warned that the UK will retaliate if Paris follows through with threats amid a row over post-Brexit fishing rights. It comes after a plethora of options were put on the table by French Ministers Annick Girardin and Clement Beaune – including stopping British boats from landing and even threatening the UK’s energy supplies. Ms Girardin told RTL radio yesterday: “I won’t say in seriousness that we cut the electricity.
“But yes, we have some sanctions we could implement, especially on tariffs we could amend.”
But Mr Drummond, a former Army officer, has lambasted the French President for his attitude towards the UK.
He told Express.co.uk: “Clement Beaune and Annick Girardin would have done nothing without President Macron instructing them to.
“Overall, Macron is playing a very dangerous game. Over the last 12 months, his desire to punish the UK for leaving the EU has bordered on naked aggression.
“You might expect a potential adversary to blockade the UK to prevent vital supplies from reaching us, as France did last Christmas, but not our closest European ally.
“His attitude is completely wrong and this latest threat will have undoubtedly caused further damage to Britain’s relationship with France.”
Catherine Colonna, France’s ambassador to the UK, has been summoned for talks after a British trawler was seized by France and another fined during checks off Le Havre on Thursday.
French authorities said the detained vessel, the Cornelis Gert Jan, did not have a licence.
This has been denied by its owner, Macduff Shellfish of Scotland.
The captain of the scallop dredger will face a court hearing in August next year, French authorities said on Friday.
Ministers met on Thursday to discuss the situation and are understood to be considering a “range of options” to retaliate.
And Mr Drummond has laid out a few potential measures.
He said: “Should France follow-up and force the French state-owned energy company EDF to cut power supplies to the Channel Islands and the UK, it would cause a diplomatic crisis.
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“In response, I would hope that the UK Government would act to prevent EDF from trading further in the UK, by nationalising its UK arm.
“We would definitely take other steps in response.
“We might also terminate the Lancaster House agreement. Above all,
“Macron should know better – the UK never surrenders to aggression. Cutting power supplies could only be seen a hostile act designed to damage the UK economy.”
France has been supplying electricity to the UK through an undersea cable since the Eighties, and EDF Energy took a leap into the UK energy retail market in 1998 when it bought London Electricity.
A decade later it paid £12.5billion for British Energy, the financially troubled owner of the country’s nuclear power fleet, including Hinkley Point C.
EDF now produces about a fifth of the UK’s power and it has more capacity in Britain than in any market outside France.
And it could be set to have more of a grip on Britain.
Hinkley Point C is being constructed by EDF, who owns two-thirds of the plant along with Chinese state-owned company CGN.
Concerns over this “dependence” from the UK were heightened when the Royal Navy’s HMS Tamar and HMS Severn stood guard off of Jersey after France threatened to cut off its electricity – 95 percent of which was reportedly imported from EDF.
Speaking at the time, Dr Paul Dorfman at the UCL Energy Institute, said Brexit Britain will “continue to be dependent, politically, culturally, technologically and in terms of energy” on other nations.
Eventually, Hinkley Point C will provide seven percent of the UK’s total electricity and catering for up to six million homes.
There have been calls for Britain to be “self-sufficient” in energy production as it sets its sights on being Net-Zero by 2050.
Of the Big Six energy suppliers in the UK, four are foreign-owned.
A Government spokesperson added: “Lord [David] Frost chaired a Ministerial meeting earlier today to consider the UK response to the measures set out by France yesterday.
“The proposed French actions are unjustified and do not appear to be compatible on the EU’s part with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) or wider international law. We regret the confrontational language that has been consistently used by the French government on this issue, which makes this situation no easier to resolve.
“We have raised our concerns strongly with both the French and the EU Commission. As a next step, the Foreign Secretary has instructed Minister Morton to summon the French Ambassador.
“We repeat that the Government has granted 98% of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in the UK’s waters and, as has consistently been made clear, will consider any further evidence on the remainder.”
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