“We are ready to use these retaliatory measures,” Annick Girardin, Minister of Maritime Affairs, told lawmakers in the French parliament. “I’m sorry it has come to this. We will if we have to. “
Ms Giradin mentioned the submarine cables that power Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, with around 95% of its electricity and suggested they could be shut down. The remaining five percent of its electricity is supplied by diesel generators on the island.
The dependence of the self-governing British Crown would face power cuts across the island if the French threat were carried through. There were three island-wide power cuts in six years until a new £ 40million, 16.7 mile cable was laid between Jersey and France in 2016.
The UK authorized 41 vessels to fish in the waters off Jersey on Friday. France’s fisheries ministry said this was accompanied by new demands “which have not been settled or discussed, and of which we have not been informed.”
The new measures define “where vessels can and cannot go”, as well as the number of days fishermen can spend at sea and use which machines, the ministry said.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Ms. Girardin. “If we accept this for Jersey, it would jeopardize our access everywhere. “
David Jones, vice-chairman of the European Research Group of Conservative MPs, told the Telegraph: “It’s just about asking for money with threats, which is not how a democratic country in the 21st century behaves. get the UK to give up fishing. ”