Guernsey ‘entering a new era with France’ after fishing deal

A ‘NEW era’ has opened in Guernsey’s relationship with France after a fishing deal was sealed – and could smooth the way for a direct electricity link to Europe.

Chamber Brexit seminar with the States Brexit team at OGH. Speaking is Chris Morris, lead for International Trade Relations and Business. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29102598)
Chamber Brexit seminar with the States Brexit team at OGH. Speaking is Chris Morris, lead for International Trade Relations and Business. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29102598)

The fishing agreement was struck as part of the UK-EU trade deal, allowing French fishermen into some local waters under island controls – and officials say it could help in other areas such as progressing plans for a direct electricity cable between Guernsey and France to improve energy security and a low-carbon future.

The new Guernsey-French relationship was set out by the States team that has been working on Brexit policy at a seminar arranged by the Guernsey Chamber of Commerce, with questions about the cable coming from the audience.

‘Really importantly for us for the last 40 years, we’ve had a bit of social and economic instability around fisheries, particularly when we want to express our interests around energy, trade,’ said Chris Morris, international trade relations lead at the States of Guernsey.

‘I think we’re now entering a new era and a new relationship with France.’

He continued: ‘They very much see this as a new relationship, and us respecting their rights, and ensuring that there is a new way of working and a new relationship moving forward.

‘It’s started in very much a positive vein really.

‘So it is quite an important one this one in respect of, not necessarily fisheries, but of the potential opportunities around trade, stability and the blue economy.’

In relation to the fishing deal and the new cable link, States director of international relations and constitutional affairs Jo Reeve said: ‘I think the overall position that we were trying to negotiate is one that helps with projects like the cable.

‘You’re going to struggle with any infrastructure project like that unless you have got a harmonious relationship with Normandy, with the Normandy fisherman.

‘That project has still got some time to run, but I think we are on the right foot because there is a productive relationship with Normandy.

‘We have had some very positive discussions with the Norman fishermen.

‘I’m sure they’ll have some other demands when it comes to surveys and that sort of thing.

‘So, I think we’re in the right direction but there will be some more work to do.’

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