Macron’s threat that the EU will launch a devastating energy embargo against Britain if we refuse to capitulate not just on fishing, but other disputed areas like state aid and the “level playing field”. The mooted blockade would not only deny UK energy exporters access to EU markets but cut “top-up access” to European electricity and gas pipelines into Britain as well. That risks a supply squeeze during peak winter demand, potentially halting energy imports from Europe altogether. The idea of a Putin-style UK-EU energy boycott is ridiculous, even amid a high-stakes negotiation inevitably involving much chest-puffing and brinkmanship. Yes, interconnectors from France, Belgium and Holland have supplied around a tenth of the UK’s electricity this year – and the share can be higher during peak usage. But that’s because imported energy is sometimes slightly cheaper, not because Britain lacks back-up capacity of its own. The prospect of a French-led energy embargo is particularly mad given that EDF – majority-owned by the French government – is among Britain’s leading domestic energy producers. EDF not only owns 35 wind farms across Britain but runs all eight of the UK’s operational nuclear power stations, generating almost a fifth of our electricity. So for Macron to even suggest cutting UK-EU energy ties is an act of unfathomably commercial folly. And the French president’s threat could yet look even more ridiculous once the Government publishes its long-awaited energy white paper, expected in the next few days.
Telegraph 13th Dec 2020 read more »