French Europe Minister Clément Beaune told Britain that penalizing French fishermen over fishing rights would not solve post-Brexit Christmas shortages.
France is furious at Britain’s refusal to grant all the licenses requested by French ships to access British waters, accusing the British government of not respecting the Brexit deal.
“They made a mess of Brexit. It is their choice and their failure, not ours… It was a bad choice, we see it today ”, declared Mr. Beaune in an interview with the French channel BFM TV Friday.
“It is not by denigrating our fishermen, by threatening us every day, by being bad players and by creating red tape or problems for the Europeans, the French and our fishermen in particular, that you will solve the shortages of turkey at Christmas. “
Britain needs us to sell its products, including fisheries, it needs us for its energy, it needs us for its financial services, it needs us for its research centers
The Paris government has previously suggested that the energy supply imported from Britain could be cut off in retaliation for the lack of access to British waters.
Mr Beaune said France could cut, but not entirely, Jersey’s electricity supply as part of “targeted retaliatory measures” if Britain continues to “not respect the deal”.
“Reducing supplies is possible; cut off electricity to everyone in Jersey this winter – that will not happen, ”the minister said.
Mr Beaune said France had applied for 450 fishing licenses under the Brexit deal, but only got 275.
“Britain needs us to sell its products, including fisheries, it needs us for its energy, it needs us for its financial services, it needs us for its research centers.” , did he declare.
In all this, France could reduce its degree of cooperation with the United Kingdom, he warned.
Earlier this week, representatives of the French fishing industry threatened to block the port of Calais and halt cross-Channel exports to the UK in the run-up to Christmas.
The French fury was sparked after the London government announced last month that it had approved only 12 of the 47 requests it had received from small French boats.
According to a UK government spokesperson, the refused licenses have not been able to prove a history of fishing activity in the six to twelve nautical mile zone in the years leading up to the UK’s departure from the ‘EU.
The spokesperson added that the approach was “fully in line” with the UK’s commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (CCA) agreed as part of the Brexit divorce deal.
Cross-Channel tensions over fishing have been going on for a long time, with earlier rows leading to Navy ships being sent to Jersey over concerns over a blockade of the island.
The French have also already used the threat of energy supplies to try to gain ground in the Brexit row.