Brexit: EU making Jersey fishing deals difficult says Thompson

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French Fisheries Minister Annick Girardin said the issue must be solved “by November 1 after Jersey said 73 vessels would be banned from fishing in their waters if they failed to provide the correct paperwork. Paris said energy exports to the UK and the Channel Islands could be cut or restricted if all French vessels were not given the post-Brexit licences.

Ms Girardin made clear on Friday that “nothing is ruled out” in terms of action “neither by France nor the European Commission.”

But Minister for External Relations Ian Gorst said the island can re-activate its own diesel power station if necessary to provide electricity to the UK.

The British Crown Dependency on Saturday reaffirmed its position on the row after Ms Girardin undertook crunch talks with the European Commission.

Mr Gorst said the French threat to cut off electricity to Jersey would be “disproportionate and unprecedented” if executed.


He added that “we have no desire whatsoever other than to meet our obligations” under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Mr Gorst made clear: “We want to sit down and solve the issue in hand.

“We fundamentally believe that threats and rhetoric won’t solve the problem.”

Mr Gorst also said he saw no evidence that Jersey had become a pawn in wider post-Brexit battles between Paris and London, including over Northern Ireland and a new submarine contract with Australia.

 

He added: “We shouldn’t let bureaucracy come before individual fishermen’s livelihoods,” the minister said.

“We don’t know where that logjam is.

“We don’t think it’s useful to point fingers or apportion blame.

“The most useful thing is we receive the appropriate information.”

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The Channel Islands including Jersey is not part of the UK but depend on Britain for their defence.

They acceded to the UK’s trade accord with the EU when Brexit took full effect on January 1st.

Fishing rights for EU boats in UK waters were a key stumbling block to negotiations for the accord.

The dispute flared in May when a flotilla of around 50 French trawlers massed in front of the Saint Helier harbour in Jersey.

Jersey: Don Thompson says fishermen ‘fed up’

The protest sparked a tense standoff that even drew in French and British military vessels.

Those boats have until the end of October to provide the requisite data, with Mr Gorst making clear more talks would occur in the coming days also involving London, Paris and Brussels.

Threats of a new blockade by French boats from Normandy and Brittany had also failed to materialise on Friday.


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