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Wind power at sea, fishing in English waters… Bertrand facing Le Drian – Brittany

Jean-Yves Le Drian: “Brittany has a lot of capacity for offshore wind power”

Interview by Guirec Flécher

How can the reindustrialisation of Brittany go within the framework of the France relaunch plan?

It’s not bringing in companies, it’s an almost religious idea. They are already there. Breton innovation is in Brittany and the revival means that Breton innovation is fertilized, that it has the means to develop because entrepreneurial creation is in Brittany. We must not go looking for them from the outside, that’s magic, but it is not the reality of the industry. The reality is to ensure that Breton entrepreneurs are there and that all the means are put in place for this. This is the logic.

For several months, offshore wind farm projects have aroused the anger of fishermen. How to make these activities coexist?

Through dialogue and speed of execution. We know that the Saint-Brieuc project, I had concluded it as president of the Region in 2012. We are in 2021. We have procedures which are too long, whereas there was, in 2012, an agreement with the all actors and fishermen. So the slowness of the procedures, also due to the number of disputes which accumulate and which are not dealt with at the same time, means that, sometimes, it is difficult to be there, while Brittany has a lot of capacities. in this domain. Including in that of renewable energies.

Following Brexit, where is the issue of access to English waters for Breton and French fishermen?

I met my British colleague on Monday and we raised this issue very firmly for our part. There are fishing agreements and they must be respected. This means that there must be a lasting identification of the accesses of the boats that have access to 6-12 miles, on one side, and of the boats that have access to Jersey Guernsey, on the other side. And these are not the same agreements. For the moment, we only have provisional agreements and we must arrive at long-term agreements and that is what I asked my British colleague. All this concerns the fishing part. On the rest, there is an agreement which must also be respected and which must, in particular on the Irish protocol, respect the commitments which were announced at that time.

Are you still optimistic about the future of the French fishing industry?

Yes of course. Optimistic and determined.

Xavier Bertrand: “We have to wonder about the wind power lobby in France”

Interview by Dimitri Rouchon-Borie

Xavier Bertrand, what did you say to the Costa-Rican fishermen about this wind farm project that they have been contesting for several months?

I told them again that I was fiercely opposed to it. We really have to ask ourselves why the wind energy lobby has so many audiences in France and why it is ruling the law at the expense of other proposals in terms of renewable energies. Where’s the solar? Methanization? We can also discuss floating wind power, very, very far from the coast. It is true that it is a little less profitable. But the profitability of a large group interests me less than the balance of a territory, between the environment, the economy and the preservation of landscapes. You will never see a wind promoter having a wind turbine at the foot of his country house. I opposed other projects but the nonsense, this is really where it is found.

Brexit also remains a matter of concern for fishermen …

Fishing is a strategic issue for the country. Where we have assets, we consolidate, we do not weaken. But the English, who are friends, are serious negotiators. Basically what is theirs is theirs and what is ours is negotiable. The stake locally is important with the Channel Islands. This means that we have to go through the Brexit after-sales service and, if that is not enough, go into a standoff until renegotiating the Brexit conditions. We are in the process of making our fishermen, like our farmers, administrative managers of their businesses. Personally, I will not let an asset of this country break, which is part of our traditions but which is also linked, economically, to a whole agrifood processing sector which can also disappear if we do nothing.

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