WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT & FUTURE RELATIONSHIP ENVELOPES UK IN CFP ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
Across the political spectrum there have been demands that there must be no surrender of the governments red-line that access for markets will not be linked to access to fisheries. Those still seeking assurance miss that the horse has bolted.
These commitments were sought and made to avoid British fisheries resources being levered and bartered yet again as part of a wider future relationship agreement.
WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT LINKS MARKETS AND ACCESS
Protocol Article 6 of the Withdrawal Agreement runs a coach and horses through the Ministerial and White paper commitments. The government has already flagrantly capitulated on markets and access being linked by agreeing to Article 6.
This is despite Michael Gove and George Eustice saying this is a red-line that wouldn’t be breached – their promises and authority are hopelessly undermined by what Mrs May and her negotiators have agreed.
PROTOCOL – ARTICLE 6
Single customs territory – movement of goods – page 311
…fishery and aquaculture products….shall not be covered…, unless an agreement on access to waters and fishing opportunities is applicable between the Union and the United Kingdom.
The government has therefore (in breach of all promises) already agreed that unless the UK cough up access for EU boats to continue fishing in British waters then the EU will deny access for fisheries and aquaculture products.
The PM saying this is not the case at the dispatch box this evening (22nd) means she’s either an idiot or a liar.
FUTURE RELATIONSHIP IS CFP ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP
The Future Relationship wording may not explicitly state that the UK must forfeit our fisheries to continued obedience of the CFP – the EU would not want to jeopardise the Withdrawal Agreement that gives them total UK capitulation to being a vassal state by being openly antagonistic on such a totemic issue.
What the Future Relationship agreement does is leaves the door wide open to the UK being levered (using market access and fisheries access being linked) into agreeing associate membership of the CFP in a quiet room out of the public spotlight in the future.
With the performance of the UKs supine political establishment thus far there is little doubt that they would cave in to the agreed text below that shepherds the UK towards being bound in ‘a’ CFP rather than ‘the’ CFP.
MPs saying the UK will be an independent coastal state and who cite XII. FISHING OPPORTUNITIES Point 74 “preserving regulatory autonomy” miss that this is no defence.
The UK may officially, legally be an independent non-EU member, enforcing her laws under her own steam.
However, these laws will be set subject to the wider fisheries agreement with the EU – as agreed as part of the overall economic partnership outlined in Point 75.
Furthermore, Point 74 continues;
“the Parties should cooperate on the development of measures for the conservation, rational management and regulation of fisheries, in a non-discriminatory manner.”
Non-discrimination was the principle upon which the CFP foundation of “equal access to a common resource” .
Article 18 – Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) – defines non-discrimination as the prohibition of ‘any discrimination on grounds of nationality’.
Simply – the select word choice of ‘non-discrimination’ is not accidental. Historically, and in legal practice, when applied to fisheries it means ‘equal access’ – the founding principle of the CFP continued.
XII. FISHING OPPORTUNITIES Point 75. States that fisheries management and access will be negotiated; “Within the context of the overall economic partnership”.
This leaves fisheries wide open to being sacrificed yet again as negotiating capital using markets and access being linked as the lever.
It also means any fisheries agreement will be subject to the wider context of the future relationship which must ensure “provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition” (i.e. regulatory alignment) – as set out in Protocol Section XIV.
With Point 75 concluding “the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares.”
Taken together this means the government has flagrantly capitulated on another red line – that the Withdrawal Agreement wouldn’t link or see provision for market access to be used to lever fisheries access.
Worse, the future relationship agreement would oblige the UK (although officially an independent state passing and enforcing the rules) to ensure those rules were on the basis of ‘non-discrimination’ (i.e. equal access) and under the wider rules of a ‘level playing field’ (i.e. regulatory alignment with EU rules).
What has been agreed is terms which allow for the slow envelopment of the UK using the lever of access to markets into not ‘the’ CFP but ‘a’ CFP – associate membership under a different name.
It may not be called the CFP – but if it walks like the CFP, and quacks like the CFP then it is the CFP.
ANY TRANSITION FATAL
The Transition alone is fatal for British fishing and can now be extended for 2 years until 2023 – despite MPs and ministers staking their reputation otherwise.
The transition gives the EU the power to; cut UK quotas; barter UK resources in international agreements and abolish the 12nm that protects our inshore and shell-fishermen along with important nursery grounds.
Worst of all the EU will be free to fully enforce the ill-founded discard ban. Discards are caused by strict EU quotas – rather than address the quota cause the EU will ban the discard symptom.
As of 2019 vessels have to tie up on exhausting their meagrest quota – bankrupting most of Britain’s fleet. The EU can then use international law (UNCLOS 62.2) to claim the ‘surplus’ of our resources we could no longer catch.
Combine the long transition, the government handing the EU a market vs access negotiating lever and the Future Relationship agreement to be ratified and the situation is disastrous.
MINISTERS MUST RESIGN AND MPs MUST WRITE LETTERS
This runs coach and horses through all ministerial and white paper promises. It directly tramps all over Scots Tory demands and promises that markets and access wouldn’t be linked; the CFP wouldn’t continue past 2020; that the UK would be completely free thereafter and not bound to any form of quota and access share agreement.
If Mr Gove, Mr Eustice and Mr Mundell wish to have any political credibility then they must resign and hand in letters of no confidence.
If Scots Tory MPs don’t want to be electorally obliterated leading to another independence referendum, they must honour their pledge by also submitting letters of no confidence.
Sycophantic failure to do so to protect the Worst deal and PM in history will be no defence against an electorate who now see through Mrs Mays double speak of Brexit In Name Only where the UK unforgivably is surrendered to becoming a vassal state.