By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

LONDON (AP) - Authorities on the island of Jersey accused France of acting disproportionately after Paris threatened to cut off electricity amid a dispute over fishing rights following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

French maritime minister Annick Girardin warned Tuesday that France was ready to take “retaliatory measures” after it accused Jersey of stalling in issuing licenses to French boats under the terms of the U.K.’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Girardin said Wednesday in Le Parisien newspaper that Jersey’s requirements are “not acceptable.”

The external affairs minister for Jersey, Sen. Ian Gorst, said Jersey was just following new rules that took effect last week.

“This is not the first threat that the French have made to either Jersey or the United Kingdom since we are into this new deal,” Gorst told the BBC. “It would seem disproportionate to cut off electricity for the sake of needing to provide extra details so that we can refine the licenses.”

Britain is responsible for the island’s foreign relations even though Jersey is not technically part of the U.K. Jersey and the other Channel Islands, which are closer to France than to Britain, are self-governing dependencies of the U.K. that have their own administrations and elected legislatures.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal declined to comment on the electricity issue on Wednesday, but he expressed France’s “total determination” to fully implement the post-Brexit agreement with the U.K., especially regarding the fishing industry.

“We will continue to do everything we can to make sure this agreement is respected,” he said.

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