Pointer - outside - the ball stands between London and Paris

Pointer – outside – the ball stands between London and Paris

Downing Street ad on Wednesday night

He described the threats made by the French government as “disappointing and disproportionate”.

A spokesman for the prime minister’s office in London said Britain “would not expect this from a close ally and partner”. According to a statement from the British government, the measures threatened by Paris do not appear to be compatible with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the United Kingdom and the European Union or more broadly with international law.

A Downing Street spokesman said that if the French government responded to the threats, a “appropriate and measured response” from the British side would follow.

As a prelude to London’s decision, Paris indicated that it might close some of its ports from British ships from next week, tighten controls on trade between the two countries and even restrict energy supplies to the Channel Islands in the event British fishing licenses are issued for French fishing vessels not being settled.

France was angry that the British authorities had rejected the applications of 31 French fishing vessels that had applied for a fishing license in British territorial waters and in the waters around Jersey. According to the reasons for the refusal, the French ships could not prove their entitlement.

The Jersey government introduced a new hunting licensing system back in the spring, citing the TCA. On this basis, French fishing vessels can obtain a fishing license in the area if they can prove that they have been active in the waters around Jersey in the past.

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Located 22 kilometers off the coast of Normandy, Jersey, with extensive self-governance and a population of 108,000, is not part of the United Kingdom but a Crown Dependent Territory.

Jersey receives 95 percent of its electricity from France on three submarine cables, so it would be very sensitive if Paris were to actually restrict its power supply as part of the envisaged sanctions.

For reasons similar to the current ones, a state of conflict between Britain and France broke out in the spring.

In early May, a sixty French fishing boat sailed to the sea entrance to the capital and Jersey’s largest port, Saint Helier, but the port was not eventually closed.

Both the British and French governments sent two naval patrol boats to the flotilla’s marching site to “observe the situation,” but the warships did not intervene and the French fishing boats marched to the island’s port and eventually departed without incident.

Since the end of Britain’s membership of the European Union last year (Brexit), this was the first dispute over the rule of law between Britain and an EU member state involving the armed forces of the countries involved, although at the time London and Paris confirmed the presence of two warships. All of them arrived at the scene for patrol and observation purposes only.

(Cover photo: French and Dutch fishing vessels off the coast of northern France. Photo: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

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