France and Jersey to restart fishing talks after island offers to postpone new post-Brexit rules

France will reopen negotiations with the Channel Island of Jersey "in the coming hours" over the licensing of French fishing boats after tensions flared about new access rules, Maritime Minister Annick Girardin said on Tuesday.

France and Jersey to restart fishing talks after island offers to postpone new post-Brexit rules
French fishing vessels protest outside Saint Helier, Jersey. Photo: Sameer al Doumy/AFP

She told parliament the island – a British crown dependency but not a part of the UK – had offered to postpone its new rules until July.

“Jersey has proposed pushing back these technical restrictions to end-July, so that we can resume talks in the coming hours, and I am going to respond in writing,” she told lawmakers.

She had warned last week that France was weighing “retaliation measures” against Jersey, which under a post-Brexit accord is supposed to allow access to French boats hoping to fish off its coast.

ANALYSIS How far will France’s post-Brexit fishing row with Jersey go?

Fishermen say the new conditions on licenses were imposed without any discussion with Paris, and effectively create new zoning rules.

Paris and London had already clashed over French claims that fishermen are being prevented from operating elsewhere in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.

Last Thursday, around 50 French boats converged on Jersey’s harbour at Saint Helier, prompting Britain to dispatch two Navy vessels in case of a blockade.
   France also deployed police patrol boats, but the standoff ended without any of the incidents such as boat-rammings or stone throwing, which have marred previous protests.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned earlier on Tuesday “there will probably be consequences” for London if it does not honour the trade accords hammered out before its exit from the bloc last January.

“We have a serious problem concerning Jersey, which I don’t understand, unless it’s a question of unwillingness,” Barnier told journalists in the Europresse association.

Member comments

  1. According to the Jersey local Press, the ban on Jersey fishermen landing their catch is back on for ‘security reasons’ and the latest threat is to withhold financial services ‘equivalence’ from Jersey. You would think it would be easier to just supply the evidence required under the Agreement of each vessels historic fishing in Jersey waters. But maybe the evidence is not there and more time to produce it won’t help. If there’s a genuine complaint here, I don’t know why Barnier, the EU etc don’t invoke the arbitration system allowed for under the Agreement. Why all the invective and threats ?

  2. I’m afraid I can see the fishy fingers of the Johnson government all over this. The problem here is a government that has proven itself totally untrustworthy and the blame for this can be laid fair and square at the doors of number 10 Downing Street.

  3. Boris doesn’t care as long as he can present the redtops with someone they can tell the english to hate. This week it’s French or Jersey fishermen, both or either. The english will lap up the heroic gunboats (the whole Royal Navy…) nonsense and the little island of hate is happy.

    Historically, it’s always France, jealousy is so ugly.

  4. I’m a little confused here.
    Jersey was not & is not part of the UK & was never involved in Brexit.
    Ergo NOTHING has changed.
    This may well have been orchestrated from London in perfect time for last week’s elections. Nothing more, nothing less.

  5. All passenger and freight transport between France and Jersey has now also been blocked. It’s now a State blockade of a friendly island under the protection of a NATO ally. What’s going on ?

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‘Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed’ – How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

A new in-depth survey on British nationals living in the EU has revealed the impact that Brexit has had upon their lives, and their attitudes to their country of origin.

'Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed' - How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

The study, conducted by academics at Lancaster and Birmingham universities, provides a snapshot of how Brits in the EU live – their age, family, work and education – and how they feel about the UK in the six years since the Brexit vote.

Unsurprisingly, it revealed that Brexit has had a major practical impact on the lives of Brits living in the EU – who are now subject to third-country rules and require residency cards or visas and face restrictions on voting and onward movement within the EU.

But the survey’s 1,328 respondents were also asked about their emotions towards the country of their birth.

Eighty percent of respondents said it had changed their feelings towards the UK.

A British woman living in Norway said she felt: “Deep, deep shame. Embarrassed to be British, ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough, or appreciate my EU citizenship.”

“Since Brexit I am disappointed in the UK. I am worried, and no longer feel like I have the same affinity for the country. It’s a shame because I love ‘home’ but the country feels so polarised,” added a British woman in her 30s living in Denmark.

An Austrian resident with dual British-Irish nationality said: “I feel disconnected, like it’s a completely different country from how I left it.

“So much so I feel more connected with my second nationality (Irish) despite the fact I never grew up in Ireland. It’s embarrassing what’s happened in the UK and what continues to happen. It’s like watching a house on fire from afar.”

The experience of living abroad during the pandemic also affected people’s feelings towards the UK, with 43 percent of people saying the UK’s handling of the Covid crisis affected their feelings towards the county.

A British woman in her 50s living in Spain said: “It was shambolic. Too late, too little, mixed messaging, lack of seriousness. So many deaths after what should have been a head start.”

A British man living in Greece described it simply as “a shit show”.

In addition to the Brexit effect, the survey also provided interesting and detailed data on the lives and profiles of Brits who live in the EU;

  • 69 percent had degree-level education
  • 77 percent worked in a professional or managerial role
  • 53 percent are of working age
  • 59 percent have been living in their country of residence for more than five years
  • 78 percent said it was very unlikely that they would move countries in the next five years 
  • The most common reasons for moving country were retirement (40 percent), family reasons (35 percent) and work (30 percent)

Almost all respondents said that Brexit had impacted their lives, with the loss of freedom of movement being the most common effect mentioned.

One man said: “My original plan (pre-2016) was to move to France on retirement, due in 2026. Brexit caused me to move sooner, in order to retain my European citizenship rights. The pandemic helped (indirectly) in that I got locked down in France in 2020, which enabled me to earn residence under the pre-Brexit rules. I had been talking to my employer about doing something similar before the pandemic broke.”

“I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100 percent a result of Brexit,” said one American-British dual national.

Other respondents talked about the post-Brexit admin necessary to gain residency status in their country, financial losses due to the weakening of the pound against the euro and the loss on onward freedom of movement – meaning that Brits resident in one EU country no longer have the right to move to another.

The report also highlighted that only 60 percent of respondents had changed their legal status by security residency since Brexit.

For some Brits in the EU this is not necessary if they already have citizenship of their country of residence (or another EU country such as Ireland) but the report’s author highlighted that: “It may also offer an early indicator that within this population there are some who may find themselves without legal residence status, with consequences in the future for their right to residence, and access to healthcare, welfare and work (among other services).”

READ ALSO What to do if you have missed the Brexit deadline in France 

In total 42 percent of respondents were completely disenfranchised – the 15-year rule means they can no longer vote in the UK, while the loss of EU citizenship means that they cannot vote in European or local elections in their country of residence.

The British government has recently announced the ending of the 15-year rule, giving voting rights to all UK nationals, no matter how long they live outside the UK.