Jersey receives energy threats from France

In: Interconnectors
05/05/2021
In an escalating conflict between France and Jersey regarding fishing regulations, French Minister Annick Girardin announced that France is "ready to take retaliatory measures" including leveraging its electricity supply to the UK Channel Island.
Jersey imports the Lion's share of its power from France via three subsea interconnectors. This power is also shared with Guernsey.

The conflict stemmed from the issue of fishing licences post-Brexit for French fishermen. According to UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), Jersey must issue licences which correspond to the previous activity a vessel has carried out in Jersey waters. Jersey’s government released a statement that it had issued licences in line with the TCA, and in line with the data submitted by the French and EU authorities. Jersey has the sole power to issue the licenses.  

A total of 41 permits were issued on Friday and as of last week, all fishing vessels are now required to have a licence in order to operate in Jersey waters. However, the French government claims that the licences made demands which were not previously discussed, including limits to which zones they could operate in and the number of days per year they could be active in those waters.

"We stand with the French fishermen who depend on access to British waters. Our neighbours are imposing criteria not included in the post-Brexit deal. Law is formal, conventions must be respected. We will make sure that the deal signed at the end of 2020 is done," stated Minister Annick Girardin.

With energy threats being lodged in Jersey's direction, concerns have arisen whether the conflict will affect the energy supplies to the wider UK from France. The UK currently receives power from two interconnectors IFA and IFA2 with France and development of a third, ElecLink, is in development.

France has previously threatened UK energy supply over fishing rights. Back in October, before the UK left the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron warned of energy embargoes for the UK, blocking its access to the EU energy market following disagreements on fishing activities. At the time there was concern that if UK left the EU without a deal, French fishermen would be banned from UK waters.



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