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06th Oct 2021

France threatens to use energy supply to ‘put pressure’ on UK to comply with Brexit deal

Danny Jones

France to put pressure on UK energy supply

Hot take incoming: we’re starting to think Brexit was a totally rubbish idea

The French government looks set to “put pressure” on the UK’s energy supply to live up to its end of the Brexit deal after European minister Clement Beaune says the current administration is not complying.

Beaune, the Secretary of State for European Affairs of France, recently told Europe 1 radio that the nation is “exasperated” with Britain’s restrictions on their fishing fleets and that our reliance on their energy supplies works both ways.

He declared: “Enough already, we have an agreement negotiated by France, by Michel Barnier, and it should be applied 100%. It isn’t being. In the next few days, and I talked to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures at the European level or nationally, to apply pressure on the United Kingdom.”

As the Independent reports, French fishing fleets are being denied entry to the waters around Jersey, which remains a British Crown territory, with around 75 boats believed to have been rejected for licenses due to lack of evidence that they have fished there before.

It is also thought that the local government will give 30 days’ notice to the end of their transitional arrangements with fisherman, meaning said French boats won’t be able to access Jersey waters whatsoever.

Beaune expressed French and EU frustration: “We defend our interests. We do it nicely, and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work we take measures. The Channel Islands, the UK, are dependent on us for their energy supply. They think they can live on their own and badmouth Europe as well. And because it doesn’t work, they indulge in one-upmanship, and in an aggressive way.”

As per The Guardian, French prime minister Jean Castex backed the warning, stating that “We will use the arbitration panel of the agreement to force the British to respect their word.”

He then went on to add: “We will question all the conditions for the more comprehensive implementation of the agreements concluded under the aegis of the European Union, but also, if necessary, the bilateral cooperation that we have with the United Kingdom in many areas.”

It is estimated that Britain imported a net amount of 8,700 gigawatt-hours of energy from France in 2020 alone and with many in the UK staring down a difficult winter – especially with the universal credit cut and an impending surge in energy prices – this isn’t the kind of punishment Parliament can afford right now.

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