EU Demands Fishing for A Free Trade Deal Confirms Fishermen’s Worst Fears

EU Demands Fishing for A Free Trade Deal Confirms Fishermens Worst Fears.

The ultimatum issued by Brussels on fishing yet again confirms the uncomfortable reality of the deal Britain is walking into with eyes wide shut.

A reality which Fishing for Leave have been desperately pointing out but which is met with heads in a bucket of sand as it conflicts with the narrative being construed that a bad deal is somehow palatable and can deliver a simple Free Trade Deal.

The revealing comments in the Telegraph (link below) merely back those in the recent article by RTE (link below).

That the EU is determined to continue its ability to pillage UK waters for 60% of our resources, all whilst also enmeshing the UK in regulatory alignment with the CFP through “associate” membership. (Paragraph 118 & 120 of the Political Deliration)

The Conservative manifesto may pledge to take back full control of our water, but the reality is we re-obey the CFP for the Transition period and then - as shown by the RTE Article - the EU has painted the UK into a corner on fishing with the terms of the Political Declaration.

Terms which the Withdrawal Agreement under Article 184 would legally oblige the UK to ratify as the basis of the Future Relationship and Free Trade Agreement which will be enforced by the European Court of Justice.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified then then the UK may nominally be an “independent coastal state” but one obliged under the Political Declaration to have a fisheries agreement based on;

  • “non-discrimination” – the founding principle of equal access to a common resource.
  • “level playing field” – only achievable by binding the UK to regulatory alignment with CFP rules.
  •  To be bartered as “part of the overall economic partnership”.

This is what ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement means. We are obliged to swallow this and have fishing levered. The EU has now spelt this out crystal clear. Surrender fishing a second time or no Free Trade deal.

It is clear to the most optimistic that trying to ratify a Free Trade Deal with the EU by the summer is near impossible.

It is clear to anyone who can read that the Political Declaration is constructed to ratchet the UK into concession after concession as another “cliff edge” approaches.

The key is – what the hell is Boris Johnson and the Conservatives response to this?

If it is silence that is deafening, then alarm bells will ring around coastal communities and constituencies.

It will show that a Conservative government would have no intention of telling the EU to get stuffed but will capitulate to bully boy tactics of being asked to surrender our nations greatest natural resource for a trade deal.

Something no other nation or government in the world will have ever done – little Iceland and Faroe.. No! Norway – erm – no! Yet all sell huge volumes of fish and other goods to the EU.

It shouldn’t and needn’t be like this – fishing is one of the Brexit poster children, being one of the biggest economic and political benefits of Brexit.

 We can automatically take back complete sovereignty over all waters and resources under Article 50 which causes all current CFP access and resource shares to “cease to apply” on exit.

Economically this repatriates a £6-8bn pound industry, injecting an adrenaline hit to maligned coastal communities which if husbanded can provide billions every year, year after year, for generations.

Politically it exorcises the ghost of Edward Heath surrendering Britain’s fishing as “expendable” which still haunts the Conservative party decades later.

It should be a huge totemic win for any government. Yet, the May Government, and the majority of the wider political establishment, have allowed the EU to paint us into a legal corner to the point that fishing is hanging by a thread of being surrendered a second time.

Many in the political establishment say fishing – and by association with it – coastal communities don’t really matter. Well then why is the EU pushing so hard for being able to continue to pillage our water?

The answer – because catching 60% of our fish represents a third of their NE Atlantic catches. Coupled with their huge demand on our seafood exports means they have a critical dependency on UK seafood as a staple of their populations diet.

It means the UK has a huge position of strength with a clean break on Brexit. We regain billions of resources. The EU (as in the RTE article) recognises tariffs are no impediment to our supplying them and the UK will have a captive market with the EUs huge dependency.

The response from Boris and the Conservatives is critical – are they men who will stand up for the national interest or mice who will be blackmailed to surrender something even though it will politically bury them.

They MUST scrap the Political Declaration on fishing or be blackmailed into surrendering fishing for a trade deal – something Boris told the Commons in July in response to Owen Paterson “would be a reprehensible thing to do”.

Either that or we are back to No Deal – which, given the Conservative Brexiteers correct assertion that the EU is a diminishing part of our trade which tariffs wouldn’t unduly afflict, should be embraced now!

Rather than signing up to a Withdrawal Agreement where the EU is going to use our obligation to ratify a FTA based on the Political Declaration to squeeze the UK till we scream.

The EU is testing them on a totemic issue – their response will be telling – particularly in coastal constituencies.

Brussels to hit Britain with fishing ultimatum the day after Brexit

Brussels plans to hit Britain with a demand for access to UK fishing waters the day after Brexit, it has emerged. 

Sources said the plan was to make EU access to British waters a condition for any trade deal and to make the demand public on, or as close as possible, to February 1, if Boris Johnson wins a majority in the general election. 

“That will be the day that reality hits home,” one EU diplomat told The Telegraph. 

The European Commission began work on Monday on drawing up internal mandates for the trade negotiations that will begin once Britain leaves the EU on January 31, 2020. 

British officials insist that Britain will be taking back control of its fishing waters, which are currently pooled with EU fleets, after Brexit.

Influential EU countries such as France, Denmark, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands want to maintain the status quo, which allows UK fleets to fish EU waters, after Britain leaves. 

A Tory majority would pave the way for the ratification of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons and the European Parliament, which would mean Britain leaves at 11pm UK time on January 31. 

That will trigger an 11 month transition period to negotiate the UK-EU free trade agreement. The Tory manifesto promises that the tight time frame will not be extended. 

“There is no way in Hell to do a deal on the basis of what Boris Johnson is proposing,” the diplomat said, “the choice is either no deal Brexit 2.0 or to extend the transition period.”

The diplomat warned that the true deadline for a decision was not the end of December but June, which is when the UK and EU must decide whether to extend the transition period. 

“Fishing is the first flashpoint in what will be very difficult negotiations,” an EU diplomat said, “and it needs to be resolved by June, so in four months.”

Britain would have to ask for the extension to the transition period in June in order for it to be granted. Refusal to grant access to UK fishing waters, which would be on a reciprocal basis, would make finalising the trade deal by the end of December impossible. Talks cannot begin until Britain leaves the EU.

Outgoing Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said on Monday that securing a trade deal with Brussels by the deadline was possible, despite warnings by EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that such negotiations often last two to three years. 

Mr Barnier will move to his new role overseeing the negotiations on the future UK-EU partnership when the new European Commission takes office on December 1. 

Work has already begun in preparing for the trade negotiations, which promise to be even more complicated than the talks on the divorce treaty. 

EU diplomats met with European Commission officials on Friday and agreed to replicate the close cooperation between national governments and the EU executive that preserved EU unity during the first phase of the Brexit talks. 

The commission is preparing sector-specific seminars and briefings on the trade talks for December and January with a view to publishing its negotiating demands in February. 

Brussels will push for British guarantees that it will not undercut EU social, tax and environmental standards for competitive advantage after Brexit. 

It will also demand cooperation on security as another condition for the trade agreement, which will be a bare bones trade deal focusing on zero tariff trade in goods. 

EU diplomats said there was agreement that, if possible, the new relationship should be covered by one overarching deal, rather than a series of bilateral agreements. 

“If we are given time we can come up with a bespoke, more comprehensive, agreement that but if the December deadline is the key element then you can forget it,” a diplomat said. 

The Friday meeting also discussed post-Brexit plans to strip British EU officials of security clearance if they work on sensitive projects in, for example, the bloc’s foreign affairs service. 

EU governments today approved a list of 27 commissioners to serve Brussels for the next five years.  Britain is facing legal action for refusing to name a representative and missed a deadline on Friday to put forward a candidate. 

The commission is considering whether to pursue the lawsuit further. Britain could still face the possibility of paying large fines to Brussels  in the European Court of Justice after Brexit. 

The Withdrawal Agreement has provisions meaning the new executive could continue legal action against Britain if the UK leaves the EU on 31 January, officials warned. 

EU lawyers argue that the refusal breaches Britain’s obligations as an EU member state and leaves the bloc open to legal challenges in the court.  

The UK also undertook not to frustrate the functioning of the EU, which is a promise its current stance breaches, an EU official said.