You need us, Macron! Professor says France in ‘political debt’ to UK after Brexit clash
Jersey: Fisherman criticises France over electricity ‘threat’
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Professor John Keiger, Director of the European Studies Research Institute at the University of Salford also stressed the French had the most to lose if relations between Paris and London “deteriorate beyond the cosmetic.” Professor Keiger was speaking after Paris and London clashed over French claims that fishermen are being prevented from operating in British waters because of difficulties in obtaining licences.
French fishermen also complained about conditions placed on fishing licenses by Jersey without any discussion with Paris, and said the rules effectively created new zoning rules.
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 patrol boats, threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity and suspended access for EU fishing vessels.
Paris also reportedly hinted it would delay a European Union financial services deal with Britain until Prime Minister Boris Johnson grants European fishermen fair access to UK waters.
The new UK-EU trade deal does not cover financial services and direct access to the single European market for financial firms in the City of London has yet to be decided by the bloc.
The University of Salford academic referred to the Jersey incident as mere “gesture politics” and claimed that it was always a “popular pastime” for both sides of the Channel to do “some English or French bashing for domestic political reasons.”
However, he stressed: “But Paris should be reminded not to overstep the mark.”
Professor Keiger also made clear how defence cooperation between the two countries puts London in a stronger position than Paris.
Referring to the Lancaster House Treaties of 2010 for defence and security cooperation between France and UK as well as a longstanding historical military association with Britain, he claimed these were a “French force multiplier and insurance policy.”
He stressed France and Britain were “serious military and diplomatic allies” because of these agreements and pointed out: “This is why Paris has more to lose than London from a serious deterioration of their relations.
“Without this force multiplier, France would be hobbled internationally.”
Professor Keiger concluded by saying without UK relations, the French Government would eventually have “little alternative but to throw their military lot in with Germany” and the “political dwarf and military worm that is the EU.”
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He added: “Even Macron knows that it is in France’s ‘vital’ interest to maintain tight defence and security relations with Britain.
“Now that Britain has left, France is cheek by jowl with Germany and fully conscious that her perpetual interest of denying a European hegemon is threatened.
“France is building up a lot of political debt. London should call in that debt soon.”
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