May 6, 2021 at 12:05 p.m., May 6, 2021 at 1:01 p.m.
About fifty French boats, two British warships. Tensions are still high on the island of Jersey. On Thursday morning, about fifty French fishing boats sailed to the island’s capital, Saint-Helier, to protest post-Brexit fishing conditions. A desire to “mark the event,” the movement explained to AFP as the head of Normandy’s Dmitry Rogop’s regional fisheries committee. In response, the British navy stationed two warships around the island. “Strictly preventive action, in agreement with the Jersey government,” a spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense promised.
Sends French ships. The French Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Clement Bonn, told the AFP that these “British” maneuvers “should not impress us”, while two French patrol boats were sent near the protest. According to a military source, the situation there is calm. French fishermen from Brittany and Normandy are expected to return to their ports in the afternoon. This power display shows the tension that prevails during fishing. Despite the Brexit agreement coming into force on January 1st.
What the text offers. The trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom provides a transitional period until 2026, during which European fishermen will have access to authorized, peaceful and fish-free areas between 6 and 12 nautical miles. British beaches. To obtain a license, vessels must prove that they already fished in the area during the 2012-2016 period.
Depression and tension. Some fishermen have already condemned the British administration’s recession when issuing licenses. But last Friday the irritability increased further. According to Paris, British authorities have released a list of 41 French vessels, out of 344 requests, for accreditation and new conditions for fishing in Jersey waters. The latter could not have been “consolidated, discussed or previously announced”, much to the chagrin of French officials. The indictment, which was rejected by the Jersey government, ended in late December, saying in a statement issued Tuesday that “the fishing license was issued under a trade agreement.”
Annik raises Girard’s voice. Faced with these restrictions on access to the waters of the territory of Jersey under the authority of the British Crown, Maritime Minister Annie Girardin assured that France could seek “retaliatory measures.” He noted the potential consequences of the “submarine transmission of electricity” provided by Channel Island. The “clarifications” were requested by the Minister from the European Commission, which alone could negotiate with the United Kingdom.
Threats will not pass. Jersey Foreign Secretary Ian Korst said, “The power outage is disproportionate because we need to provide more details to fit the fishing licenses better.” On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also responded by calling for “increased tensions”, pointing out that the siege of Jersey ports by French fishermen was “completely unreasonable”.
Why is this important? The situation in Jersey is a new test for both governments, while access to fishing grounds during the Brexit talks is one of the main points of tension. This incident could disrupt the current negotiations. In fact, the European Union and the United Kingdom have not yet reached an agreement on the allocation of fisheries reserves for shared reserves between the two regions by 2021.
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