France: Using energy as 'weapon' is 'bad behaviour' says expert
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France’s decision to use energy as a “weapon” against the UK in the row between Paris and London over access to British fishing waters has been slammed by the Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society. Alan Mendoza discussed President Emmanuel Macron’s demands on GB News and said described the threat to UK energy supplies as “very bad behaviour.” He warned that such a move would leave France isolated as other regional actors and firms begin to view Paris as a “bad commercial partner.”
Mr Mendoza told GB News: “It would be deeply counterproductive for the French to do that for them to be seen to be using energy as a weapon.
“Particularly in the current climate on another matter on fishing would be very bad behaviour.
“I think it would cause doubt among many people about the French willingness to pursue contracts or indeed to supply things that they’re supposed to be supplying, don’t forget this energy contract is a different contract to anything to do with the fishing side of things.
“So for the French to actually cut it would indicate they are bad commercial partners, and I don’t think the French want to be seen as bad commercial partners, given the volume of international trade and deals they do.”
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French political commentator Anne-Élisabeth Moutet has argued the President Macron has grown increasingly isolated due to the hardline position of France on UK fisheries.
She wrote in The Daily Telegraph this week: “Even in Brussels, he is increasingly isolated.
“Macron is still, surprisingly, taking Brexit personally after five years, probably because he has consistently staked a good deal of his political capital on Europe.
“He has sought to play tough with the British on fishing and had hoped the EU would play along.
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“But his minister for the sea, Annick Girardin, had her first sharply worded French ultimatum on fishing licences softened in Brussels before 11 coastal EU members agreed to sign a common document to try to find a solution to the fish wars in the Channel 10 days ago.
“Yet yesterday morning there was more talk of a new two-week ‘ultimatum’ to the Jersey fishing regulators.”
Ms Moutet added: “Macron increasingly appears to the dour commissioners and their careful Brexit policy advisers as the rash subaltern, always ready to push matters to the coup d’eclat.
“The EU don’t believe in the Count Schlieffen doctrine of being able to wage a war on two fronts.
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“Their primary concern is the Northern Ireland Protocol, the peril of seeing a resurgence of the Troubles, and the serious potential damage to Ireland, a fellow EU nation, if it falls apart.
“Their position is that a handful of licences for an industry that represents only 0.06 percent of France’s economy and 0.1 percent of the UK’s is not the hill anyone should die on.
“France is making an inordinately loud fuss.
“This voice of reason doesn’t seem to be heard in Paris.”
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