As anxieties mount over Channel fishing penalties, France is ‘throwing toys out the pram.’
A minister has claimed that France could use the continuing AUKUS security agreement problem as a means of retaliation in the Jersey fishing conflict.
On September 30, an amnesty period permitting French vessels unrestricted access to Jersey seas will end, before additional controls are implemented.
From October 1, French vessels must produce proof of prior fishing in Jersey waters, or face having their licenses revoked.
Over the last few weeks, intense negotiations have taken place to settle the concerns, but Jersey politicians and UK authorities have yet to strike an agreement with France.
However, tensions between London and Paris have increased since the United States and Britain negotiated a nuclear submarine contract with Australia, forcing Australia to cancel a prior $40 billion French-designed submarine pact.
Australia talking with Washington and London behind its back enraged Paris, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling it “treason” and a “stab in the back.”
The loss of the contract was announced just hours before US President Joe Biden inaugurated the new AUKUS security and defense collaboration, which includes the submarine purchase, between the three English-speaking countries.
Jersey’s Home Affairs Minister, Deputy Gregory Guida, said: “I think the French are quite angry about it, but based on what I’ve read, I think the arrangement was nearly inescapable.”
“However, it is a slight affront to the French, and it has enraged them, so it will not assist our situation.
“I believe it will have an impact on the whole of Brexit – we must remember that fishing in Jersey is essential from a sovereignty standpoint, but it is only a minor portion of the economy.”
In May, after a flotilla of French fishing boats went to Jersey in protest, France and the United Kingdom dispatched patrol vessels to the island’s shores.
Under the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Arrangement with the European Union, an interim agreement was set to expire on June 30, but it was extended until September 30.
Hundreds of French fisherman protested on Armanville beach in Normandy on Saturday ahead of the September 30 deadline.
Fishermen claim that just 70 of the 169 licenses requested have been granted thus far.
“Brinkwire Summary News,” however, Deputy Gilda.