Downing Street has hit back at France after they have threatened to cut the electricity supply off to Jersey over post-Brexit fishing rights.
Furious French officials and fishermen have warned that Jersey will be plunged into darkness as they have to apply for a licence to fish in their waters.
A senior government source said the “comments such as these are surprising and disappointing, especially from a close neighbour.
“This is just the latest example of the EU issuing threats as a first resort at any sign of difficulty.
“They should be using the mechanisms of our new Treaty to solve problems; that is exactly what it is there for.” Paris has accused the British government off using red tap to limit fishing which French leaders claim is in breach of the agreement made in negotiations last year.
The French Maritime Minister, Annick Girardin said of the potential electricity cuts, “We are ready to use these retaliation measures.
“Europe, France has the means, that’s written in the deal.
“With regards to Jersey, I would remind you, for example, of electricity transmission by underwater cable.
“So, we have the means. Even if I would regret getting to that point, we will if we have to.”
This comes after 41 ships were authorised by the UK on Friday to fish in Jersey’s waters.
However, France is saying that the authorisation came with new demands, “which were not arranged or discussed, and which we were not notified about.”
A Government spokeswoman said, “To threaten Jersey like this is clearly unacceptable and disproportionate.
“We are working closely with the EU and Jersey on fisheries access provisions following the end of the Transition Period so trust the French will use the mechanisms of our new treaty to solve problems.”
Jersey’s External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said there is no justification for such severe measures.
Gorst told the BBC: “This is not the first threat that the French have made to either Jersey or the United Kingdom since we are into this new deal.
“It would seem disproportionate to cut off electricity for the sake of needing to provide extra details so that we can refine the licences.”
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