Relations between the UK and France are again under strain over concerns regarding post-Brexit fishing agreements.
The dispute, which is expected to be resolved through diplomatic channels soon, involves the small island of Jersey, which despite being just 22 kilometers off the coast of Normandy, is a sovereign British dependency.
The dispute began after French fishermen blocked the island’s main port, St Helier, in the face of the UK’s implementation of new rules on access to its waters. In response, Paris threatened to cut off the supply of electricity, provided by France via undersea cables, to Jersey.
In this context, Boris Johnson’s government sent two Royal Navy patrol vessels to St Helier, as the presence of French fishing boats is expected to increase in the coming hours. France followed suit and two French military vessels are currently patrolling the island.
The dispute over fishing rights following Brexit, which came into force on January 1, could not come at a worse time. Relations between France and the United Kingdom had already frayed in March, when Paris accused London of “blackmail” amid a vaccine shortage on French territory.
It should be recalled that the European Union recently decided to sue the Oxford / AstraZeneca laboratory due to an alleged delay in the delivery of doses.