Jersey has accused France of creating “disproportionate” threats after Paris warned it may lower off electrical energy to the island in a row over post-Brexit fishing rights.
Maritime minister Annick Girardin warned on Tuesday that France was able to take “retaliatory measures” after accusing the Channel Island of dragging its ft over issuing new licences to French boats.
Nevertheless Jersey’s Exterior Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, insisted that there was no justification for such extreme measures.
The row got here after the island applied new necessities beneath the phrases of the UK-EU commerce deal for boats to submit proof of their previous fishing actions with the intention to obtain a licence to hold on working in Jersey waters.
Gorst informed the BBC Radio 4 At the moment program: “This isn’t the primary menace that the French have made to both Jersey or the UK since we’re into this new deal.
“It might appear disproportionate to chop off electrical energy for the sake of needing to offer further particulars in order that we are able to refine the licences.”
Jersey receives 95 per cent of its electrical energy from France via three undersea cables.
Girardin informed the French parliament that it gave Paris the “means” to behave in opposition to the island if the difficulty couldn’t be resolved.
“Though I’m sorry that it has come to this, we are going to achieve this if we’ve to,” she stated.
Gorst nevertheless stated the island was not looking for to bar boats which had traditionally fished in Jersey waters and insisted the dispute might be resolved amicably.
He stated that of the 41 boats which sought licences beneath the brand new guidelines final Friday, all however 17 had offered the proof required.
“The commerce deal is evident however I feel there was some confusion about the way it must be applied as a result of we completely respect the historic rights of French fishermen to fish in Jersey waters as they’ve been doing for hundreds of years,” he stated.
“I do suppose an answer might be discovered. I’m optimistic that we are able to present further time to permit this proof to be offered.”
He stated the Jersey authorities was now looking for permission from London and Brussels to talk straight with the French fishermen involved to resolve the difficulty.