EU still 'trying to punish UK' over Brexit says Don Thompson
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European Union states will, within days, announce measures to apply pressure on London to abide by Brexit agreements sealed with the bloc when Britain left the European Union, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday.
He did not say what those measures would be, but noted in an interview with the radio station, that Britain depends on energy supplies its receives from the continent of Europe.
He said France felt exasperation at a decision by British dependency Jersey to refuse fishing permits for dozens of French vessels.
“Enough already, we have an agreement negotiated by France, by Michel Barnier, and it should be applied 100 percent. It isn’t being,” he said, referring to the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator, who is French.
“In the next few days, and I talked to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures at the European level or nationally, to apply pressure on the United Kingdom.”
He added: “We defend our interests.
“We do it nicely, and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work, we take measures.
“For example, we can imagine, since we’re talking about energy, … the United Kingdom depends on our energy supplies.
“It thinks that it can live all alone, and bash Europe.”
The French politician gathered EU counterparts yesterday for a special meeting in a bid to come up with a plan to fight the UK on fishing rights.
Mr Beaune posted a picture of the video conference on Twitter, adding: “With Annick Girardin, we brought together our counterparts from the countries directly concerned by fishing issues, to jointly defend our interests and our fishermen in the face of non-compliance with the Brexit deal by the UK.”
France has been locking horns with the UK over Brexit for weeks now.
Tensions were exacerbated when the UK only issued fishing licences to 12 out of 47 recent applications by French fishermen.
The move has angered French officials who slammed the decision as “unacceptable”, sparking fears of a full-blown diplomatic crisis about to erupt in the Channel.
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French fishermen have already threatened to cut power to Jersey and pundits fear fishing boats could further attempt to block the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK.
Tension is also brewing over the Northern Ireland protocol, which describes Northern Ireland’s position in regards to a border with the European Union, Ireland and the UK.
In particular, it was agreed as part of the protocol there would be no new checks on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU.
France is one of the UK’s biggest energy links to the continent and in 2018, about six percent of the UK’s energy was supplied from France.
France and the UK have been trading electricity since 1986.
Earlier this year, an undersea connection between the two nations went online.
The £700million IFA2 interconnector between Hampshire and Normandy is expected to deliver up to 1.2 percent of Britain’s electricity needs.
However, Britain has been diversifying its energy portfolio and may avoid trouble with the French with the aid of Norway.
Last week the world’s longest undersea power cables went online, connecting Northumberland to Norway in the North Sea.
The line will carry up to 1,400 megawatts of energy at peak output and power as many as 1.4 million homes.
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