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PM says French threats to Jersey "unjustified"

PM says French threats to Jersey

Monday 15 November 2021

PM says French threats to Jersey "unjustified"

Monday 15 November 2021


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed his support for the island’s approach to the fishing row with France after meeting the Chief Minister, saying the threats made to the island were "unjustified".

The pair met this afternoon to discuss what were described as “matters of significant importance to the island, including international trade and the ongoing process of licensing French fishing vessels in Jersey waters.”

Jersey has been locked in a dispute with France over the number of licences granted to French vessels to fish in the island’s territorial waters after Brexit. 

France has suggested the Brexit deal has been broken because not all boats that previously fished around Jersey have been granted a licence – but Jersey’s Government has always maintained that those who can provide sufficient evidence that they fished in local waters for at least 10 days in a three-year period will be given one. 

The dispute resulted in France threatening to add tariffs to the island’s energy supply, which comes from France via undersea cables, and trade blockages across six ports.

The threats were put on ice to allow renewed negotiations to take place, including a meeting between Brexit Minister Lord David Frost and French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune in Paris. Last week, Jersey released three more licences.

After appearing at the National Service of Remembrance in London yesterday, Senator John Le Fondré and External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst met the Prime Minister and Lord Frost at Downing Street today.  

An official UK Government statement released after the meeting said: "The Prime Minister said that France’s recent threats were unjustified and would have breached the TCA. He reiterated that the UK would continue to stand behind Jersey in the event that they were carried through, although he welcomed their deferral and said he hoped that they would be taken off the table permanently.

"Both sides agreed that they would continue to assess new evidence in support of the remaining licence applications and that technical discussions with the EU Commission and France would continue."

Boris Johnson commented afterwards: “The UK/Jersey relationship remains strong and we agreed to continue working closely together on issues that affect us both.  

“We support Jersey’s approach on fishing licences which has been reasonable and fully in line with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement."

Senator Le Fondré said: “I would like to thank the Prime Minister for giving us his valuable time to discuss these important matters, and for his continued commitment to ensure that the views of our island are considered in ongoing discussions with the EU and France.”

Senator Gorst added: “As a proud member of the British family, it is crucial that we continue to work closely with the UK Government to proactively manage matters of international trade and fisheries."

He added: “I am grateful to the Prime Minister for his time and reassurance that Jersey’s views are being heard and considered as the UK manages the practicalities of the new UK-EU trading relationship.”

As of Friday, Jersey had now issued 116 permanent fishing licences to French vessels, reducing the number of temporary licences – which run out at the end of January - by three to 46.

55 licence applications were rejected.

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Posted by Guy de Faye on
The PR information issued to the Jersey media seems to have a section missing.

The one covering the strong protest from the Chief Minister and the External Affairs Minister over the British Government unilaterally assuming control of Jersey's fishing grounds, amalgamating them with UK territorial waters as a negotiating package and then exposing Jersey's marine environment to uncontrolled damage by effectively increased numbers of French fishing vessels.
At the same time the new agreement is substantially undermining the viability of local marine resources and the livelihoods of our fishermen..

Jersey has never been a member of the European Union, did not take part in the Leave/ Remain referendum and would have been much better placed to negotiate new arrangements by dealing directly with Brittany and Normandy, to replace the pre-existing and unsatisfactory Bay of Granville Treaty.

Still - an interesting visit to 10 Downing Street and a selection of great photos with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show the family for posterity.
Posted by Martin on
BE assured the French would NOT threaten the UK as they do us!

We know why!
Posted by Jon Jon on
The two ditherers Boris and John ,could be start of a great comedy show!
Posted by Graeme Marett on
We should not trust this disingenuous Tory government. Jersey should take on its own foreign policy and negotiate separately from the UK.
Posted by Michael nicolle on
I wonder if our Chief Minister really believes what Johnson says, he must be one of a dwindling number who trust the liar in Chief Johnson
Posted by Roy Dean on
I am under the impression that Jersey...Falkland Islands et al are independantly responsible for their own EEZ....

But of course...if you need your Mummy..one is at hand
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