Politics Explained

Would France really cut off energy supplies to the UK and Jersey?

The temptation in Paris to leverage the current energy crisis to extract concessions from the British (or just make them honour their legal commitments, depending on your view) must already be intense, writes Sean O’Grady

Friday 08 October 2021 21:30
<p>Troubled waters: there is anger over licences among French fisherfolk </p>

Troubled waters: there is anger over licences among French fisherfolk

Would France cut off supplies of electricity to the UK and Jersey just because its fishing boats aren’t getting the permits they need?

It is unlikely, given everything, but cannot be ruled out. Even in the current bad-tempered environment it would seem harsh to deprive Jersey’s medical facilities of all their electricity (the pipeline from France being the only reliable permanent source of energy). Killing Jersey’s sick and elderly as winter sets in as an act of spite isn’t what Boris Johnson might call “une bonne look”.

But the mood in France is certainly turning ugly, and electricity supplies to mainland UK must be in some jeopardy – reduced rather than cut off. In some ways, Brexit seems to have been an even more traumatic event on that side of the Channel than it has been in England. The French minister for European Affairs, Clement Beaune, has declared that the Brexit agreement had to be “implemented fully”, or else “we will take European or national measures to exert pressure on the UK”.

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