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Le Grinch threatens Christmas: France warns UK it faces festive goods blockade in fishing dispute


Paris’s noisy European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune lashed out at the UK’s Brexit ‘failures’ and said that France’s trawlermen would not ‘pay the price’ for the UK’s decision to leave.

A French minister today threatened to cut off supplies of Christmas turkeys unless continental fishermen are allowed to work in British waters.

Paris’s noisy European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune lashed out at the UK’s Brexit ‘failures’ and said that France’s trawlermen would not ‘pay the price’ for the UK’s decision to leave.

It is the latest threat from across the channel in a dispute over access to rich fishing grounds from next year.

French fishing barons earlier this week gave Britain two weeks to grant them more access to its waters or face being cut off from crucial Christmas supplies.

They handed down the ultimatum a day after skippers vowed to block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel unless their demands were met.

 Speaking to BFM TV in France today Mr Baume – one of Emmanuel Macron’s most outspoken ministers, vented on the subject again. 

‘They failed on Brexit. It was a bad choice. Threatening us, threatening our fishermen, will not settle their supply of turkey at Christmas,’ he said.

‘We will hold firm. The Brits need us to sell their products.’

French Fishermen previously blockaded Jersey over access to Channel Island waters.

French Fishermen previously blockaded Jersey over access to Channel Island waters.

US warns Boris Johnson scrapping NI protocol would be a ‘serious risk to stability’ in Ulster

Boris Johnson‘s row with the EU over Northern Ireland risks creating ‘a serious risk to stability’, one of Joe Biden‘s top aides warned today.

Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser, said the White House has significant concern’ about UK threats to unilaterally suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol before Christmas.

His comments came after Brexit Minister Lord Frost set a November deadline for a solution to the protocol deadlock, warning the EU the UK ‘cannot wait forever’ for border checks to be improved. 

He said there will be a ‘decision point’ early next month when it will become apparent if it is possible for the two sides to agree a solution to resolve ongoing disruption to intra-UK trade.  

London has threatened to unilaterally suspend the agreement if Brussels does not agree to scrap the protocol and replace it – something the EU is refusing to contemplate.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Sullivan said: ‘Without something like the Northern Ireland protocol and with the possibility of the return of a hard border between NI and the Republic of Ireland, we will have a serious risk to stability and to the sanctity of the Good Friday agreement, and that is of significant concern to the US.’ 

French boats were free to fish in the six-to-12 mile zone when the UK was in the EU, but now have to prove that they previously did so. France says they should keep the same level of access, accusing Britain of breaching the Brexit trade deal. 

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was ready to review bilateral cooperation with Britain if London continues to ignore the agreement reached over fishing rights in its post-Brexit trading relationship with the European Union.

Paris is infuriated by London’s refusal to grant what it considers the full number of licenses due to French fishing boats to operate in Britain’s territorial waters, and is threatening retaliatory measures.

French fishermen have also said they could block the northern port of Calais and Channel Tunnel rail link, both major transit points for trade between Britain and continental Europe, if London does not grant more fishing licences in the next 17 days. 

They previously blockaded Jersey over access to Channel Island waters. 

Beaune said France had asked for 450 fishing licences but had only received 275. ‘We’re 40 percent short, but we insist on those 450,’ he said.

‘Britons need us to sell their products, including from fishing, they need us for their energy, for their financial services and for their research centres,’ Beaune said.

‘All of this gives us pressure points. We have the means to modulate the degree of our cooperation, to reduce it, if Britain does not implement the agreement,’ he said.

‘If they don’t do their share, then we won’t do 100 percent of our share either.’

In Brussels, Eurocrats refused to be drawn into the row, as Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius held talks with Environment Secretary George Eustice.

 A European Commission spokesman said: ‘Both sides committed to continue as a matter of urgency to examine the evidence, boat by boat, to find a solution for European fishermen and women, guaranteeing that all who qualify under the terms of TCA (trade and co-operation agreement) can receive their licenses swiftly.’

Earlier this week a senior EU diplomat claimed France was ‘overplaying’ the row ahead of next year’s presidential election. The source said: ‘It looks good for President Macron right now to be tough on the British.’

The Brexit trade agreement, signed by both sides last year, reduces the catch for EU trawlers in British waters by 25 per cent over five-years. After that expires, access will be negotiated on an annual basis.

The French government wants other EU members to support their push for Britain to be brought before an arbitration panel set up to thrash out post-Brexit disputes.

The country’s maritime ministry said yesterday that French ministers would unveil retaliatory measures ‘in the second half of October’. Annick Giradin, the French maritime minister, has raised the possibility of cutting electricity supplies to Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey.

Prepare for ‘significant’ rise in energy bills: Ofgem chief confirms price cap WILL go up and refuses to rule out increase to £2,000 for millions of households

Ofgem today warned there will be a ‘significant rise’ to the cap on energy bills – hitting millions of Britain’s poorest people – with soaring energy prices set to push average annual bills through the £2,000 barrier for the first time. 

As the gas crisis escalated, industry analysts suggested the current energy cap of £1,277 would rise by as much as £800. 

Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley, didn’t put a figure on it, but said there will be a ‘significant rise’ in the price cap set by the industry regulator which helps to control the cost of gas and electricity in the UK. He didn’t knock back claims that fixed and other deals could reach £2,000 in 2022.

‘We can’t predict everything, and the wholesale market, as we’ve seen, has gone up and down extremely quickly so we can’t predict fully what that will be,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘But, looking at the costs that are in the system, we are expecting a significant rise in April.’

But Mr Brearley added that the current price cap will remain until April. ‘We have no plans to raise the price cap before April,’ he said. 

The energy crisis has been blamed, in part, on a shortage of natural gas caused by Vladimir Putin allegedly ‘choking’ supplies to Europe to pressurise regulators into approving the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline.  

Today Boris Johnson waded into the row, branding the link a threat to energy security and suggesting the decision to bypass Ukraine to bring supplies direct to Germany would damage the Ukrainian economy. 

A No 10 spokesman said: ‘Although Nord Stream 2 will not directly impact the UK’s energy security, it could have serious implications for central and eastern European countries. 

‘Some European countries are nearly wholly dependent on Russian gas, which raises serious concerns about energy security.’  

In comments reported by The Times, the spokesman also warned about the damage to Ukraine, which currently hosts the largest pipeline network for Russian gas and benefits from large transit fees. He added: ‘Nord Stream 2 would divert supplies away from Ukraine, with significant consequences for its economy.’ 

The natural gas price is currently hovering at around £2.40 a therm – down from more than £4 yesterday – after traders were reassured by Putin hinting that Russia would consider increasing exports.  

Vladimir Putin has been accused of holding Europe to ransom in a bid to win approval for his Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Boris Johnson has waded into the row and branded the proposed link from Russia to Germany a threat to security

Vladimir Putin has been accused of holding Europe to ransom in a bid to win approval for his Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Boris Johnson has waded into the row and branded the proposed link from Russia to Germany a threat to security 

Experts claimed Putin was using the crisis as leverage over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is run by Gazprom. Pictured: An output filtration facility of a gas treatment unit at the Slavyanskaya compressor station

Experts claimed Putin was using the crisis as leverage over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is run by Gazprom. Pictured: An output filtration facility of a gas treatment unit at the Slavyanskaya compressor station

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business

Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.  

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last night insisted there would be no bailout for failing firms, adding that the Government’s plans to decarbonise the UK’s power supply would protect customers in the long term.

Last night Ofgem appeared to open the door to a rethink on the way the cap works, with chief executive Jonathan Brearley saying: ‘Although the gas price rise is unprecedented today, we will need to plan on the basis that shocks like this could happen again.’ 

The current energy bill price cap is set at £1,277 a year based on typical use, but industry analysts suggest it could rise by anything from £500 to £800 next April, based on the current market. 

Mr Brearley has made clear that a dramatic surge in gas prices, which leapt 60 per cent at one stage this week, will push up bills when the cap is reviewed. Some energy firms have been pushing for the cap to be ditched entirely or raised much sooner.

Mr Brearley said: ‘For millions of households the price cap has played its part in mitigating the consequences of the current gas price rises. 

‘But it is designed to reflect fair costs and therefore will need to adjust over time to reflect the changes in fuel costs that we are seeing today.

‘It is hard to predict how long gas prices will stay high, but we do expect significant upward pressure on prices.’ 

Industry analyst Dr Craig Lowrey, of Cornwall Insight, said prices were likely to stay at a record high through to next winter and beyond.

The National Grid says the gap between energy supply and demand this year is likely to be at its lowest level for six years. 

The organisation said it was confident blackouts can be avoided, but government energy adviser Tom Edwards said: ‘If we have a very cold winter there is a chance of blackouts.

‘We are reliant on imports from other countries and if the flows are not forthcoming then as a country we will have to take action to reduce demand.

‘Some large industrial companies like car manufacturers may have to turn off.’ 

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Analysis of price rises in the last year shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10 and the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4

Analysis of price rises in the last year shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10 and the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4



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