TPO – France and the UK have deployed maritime patrol boats to the English Channel area, after tensions have escalated over new regulations imposed by the UK on post-Brexit French fishermen.
On May 6, about 50-70 French fishing boats arrived in waters off Jersey Island, concentrated around the main harbor. Helier objected to the island authorities’ restrictions on fishing rights.
At least one French fishing boat entered the harbor and blocked the Commodore Goodwill, a cargo ship connecting the island of Jersey to the British mainland.
The French fishermen insisted that the arrival of the ship to Jersey was not a blockade, but only an expression of discontent, and that they would return the same day.
Jersey is an autonomous island in the Strait Islands in the English Channel, and London has a constitutional obligation to protect it. Jersey is located 140km off the coast of England, but only 19km from the French coast, and about 250 French boats regularly fish in the waters around the island.
As part of the Brexit negotiations, the parties agreed that French vessels were allowed to continue fishing around Jersey, provided that a new permit was obtained. But when the permit was received, some fishermen said the Jersey imposed requirements and restrictions that were not part of the agreement. Some fishermen are even licensed for a week or two a year.
France then warned that it was considering responding, even stopping the supply of electricity through the underground cable system to Jersey Island, because 95% of the electricity on Jersey Island came from France. Britain declared its support for Jersey, while the EU called for calm.
To prevent the escalation of tensions, the British immediately dispatched two Royal Navy ships, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar (equipped with machine guns, helipads) to the English Channel. France responded by sending two patrol boats, one of them to the gendarmerie, to the area.
After the French group of fishing vessels left, the British side announced that they would withdraw the Royal Navy ships from the waters off Jersey, but said they were still ready to support the island if necessary.
According to the The Times, The EU has asked the UK to pressure Jersey back to withdraw the new fishing regulations, avoiding “the local confrontation escalates into an international dispute between the UK and the EU”.
However, British Prime Minister Johnson seems to be taking advantage of this opportunity to win voters’ hearts amid the British election. By standing up to France and the EU, Mr. Johnson “hopes to show Scotland and Hartlepool voters London is defending the fishing industry of this country,” the newspaper said. The Times identify.
It is expected that in the next few days, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron will have talks to relieve tensions before the G7 Summit in June.
According to The Week, Reutes