Brexit news: Barnier takes shots at ‘unwilling’ UK as EU makes demands on fisheries | UK | News (Reports)


Britain won’t get a new trade agreement with the EU without making substantial concessions on fishing rights according to Mr Barnier. Talks between the UK and EU are currently deadlocked over fishing rights and industrial aid.

Brussels is demanding continued access to British territorial waters for EU fishing boats.

Speaking to the Institute of International and European Affairs, an Irish think-tank, Mr Barnier insisted Britain needs to compromise.

He said: “There will be no trade agreement between the UK and EU without a sustainable agreement on fisheries.

“The UK has not shown any willingness to seek compromises.”

The Government is currently calling for annual negotiations with Brussels over fishing quotas and access to British waters.

Mr Barnier warned this could “lockout” European fishermen and accused Britain of using EU fishing fleets as a “bargaining chip” in the negotiations.

Whilst fishing makes up a small part of the UK economy the issue is of symbolic importance to many Brexiteers because of its implications for British sovereignty.

Mr Barnier argued the status quo shouldn’t be changed because European boats have been operating in UK waters “long before” Britain joined the European Economic Community, which developed into the EU, 47 years ago.

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If no new agreement is reached EU fishing fleets could be locked out of British waters.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly ruled out any extension to the transition process.

Many Brexiteers regard fishing rights as one of the UK’s strongest cards during negotiations with Brussels.

Writing in the Daily Mail Daniel Hannan, a former Conservative MEP, pointed out how many European jobs could be affected by the decision.

He commented: “The vast majority of fish stocks in the North Sea are in British waters.

“But the EU’s quota system reserves more than two-thirds of those stocks for vessels from the other states.

“Even this figure underestimates the problem, because many British skippers, unable to make ends meet under the CFP, had to sell their licences to Continental fishing companies.

“At present, around 90 percent of cod fished in the English Channel is caught by European boats — 84 percent by French boats.

“Their livelihood is now seriously endangered.”

Last month Mr Barnier said a trade deal between the UK and EU “seems unlikely” at this stage.

Tariffs could be placed on goods moving to and from Britain if the transition period ends without a new agreement.


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