Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Brexit fisheries warning: Boris Johnson warned to ‘stand firm’ and not betray UK fishing

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The issue of fisheries has remained one of the main areas of divergence during talks so far, causing the EU’s chief negotiator to warn a no deal Brexit is now likely. Mr Johnson has vowed to reclaim the UK’s waters after years locked within the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. Speaking to Express.co.uk, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, Ian Gatt, claimed the UK has held firm during negotiations so far and must continue to do so.

Mr Gatt also claimed any continuation of the EU’s continued access to British waters would be unacceptable.

He said: “It would be betrayal if he backs down.

“They have told us he will secure a good fisheries agreement going forward.

“He knows that and he knows our red lines.

“To date, the UK has held firm during negotiations.

“They have said there will get a good deal on fisheries, and that is what we will work on.”

Although he insisted the Prime Minister must protect Britain’s waters during negotiations, he also declared an agreement on the issue is preferable to a no deal Brexit.

Any agreement, however, must be based on the Norway model whereby the country negotiates quota shares and access to its waters with the EU on an annual basis.

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Mr Barnier has so far declared this model would not be possible for the UK and EU to replicate.

Indeed, speaking this week after emergency talks, Mr Barnier declared the UK had not altered its stance during negotiations.

State aid and fisheries have still not been resolved, something he attributed to the UK’s intransigence.

He added: “We are ready to make fair and constructive compromise but not at the detriment of the EU.

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“I’ve shown clearly openness to find a compromise.

“If the UK doesn’t move on the issues which are the key issues of the EU, the UK will take itself the risk of a no-deal.”

The EU has set the end of October as the deadline for agreeing a deal.

This is in order to give Brussels enough time for it to then be ratified by the EU 27.

Next week, the two sides will conduct the latest round of talks in order to achieve a deal.

Ahead of those negotiations, the Prime Minister’s spokesman warned the EU had made negotiations difficult.

He added: “An agreement is still possible and is our goal but it is clear it will not be easy to achieve.

“The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy but also that this must be agreed before any further work can be done in any other area of the negotiations including on legal texts making it very difficult to make progress.

“We would instead like to settle the simplest issues first in order to build momentum in the talks as time is short for both sides.

“We will continue to work hard to reach agreement and look forward to the next round taking place next week.”

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