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Squeezing U.K. Energy Becomes Barnier’s Brexit Bargaining Chip

  • Electricity grid in U.K. depends on EU for about 7% of supply
  • U.K. says energy trading would be less efficient with no deal
French Fishing Port Ahead of Brexit Summit
Photographer: Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg

Brexit talks are going down to the wire, and the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier is threatening British access to the continent’s single energy market as a way of extracting concessions on fishing rights.

At stake is at least 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) of natural gas and electricity traded across the English channel every year, according to research by Bruegel, an economics research group in Brussels. That benefits companies from Centrica Plc and National Grid Plc in the U.K. to Electricite de France SA and RWE AG on the continent.