The EU needs to realise that the UK is NO LONGER a member state.

Last week, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and UK chief negotiator David Frost spent a week thrashing out the text to see if there is a trade deal to be had. The talks ended on Friday just gone, Barnier come out in front of the world’s press, and he wasn’t happy. Barnier’s fundamental dilemma was that there was no progress made on fisheries.

Barnier lay down his red line stating, no future economic partnership will be agreed if the EU doesn’t have the status quo on fisheries. (including the continuation of the common fisheries policy and its now set quotas).

To fully understand the two sides stances on fisheries, we need to go to the future relationship texts from the EU and UK. Below are the EU’s fisheries demands taken from “Negotiations for a new partnership with the United Kingdom” document: 

The envisaged partnership should include, in its economic part, provisions on fisheries setting out a framework for the management of shared fish stocks, as well as the conditions on access to waters and resources. It should secure continued responsible fisheries that ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources, in line with the relevant principles under international and Union law, notably those underpinning the Common Fisheries Policy as laid down in Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013. The provisions on fisheries should be underpinned by effective management and supervision, and dispute settlement and enforcement arrangements, including appropriate remedies.

The provisions on fisheries should encompass cooperation on the development of measures for the sustainable exploitation and conservation of resources, including avoiding wasteful practises such as discarding. Such measures should be non- discriminatory and follow a science-based approach aligned to the objective of achieving maximum sustainable yield for concerned stocks. The envisaged partnership should include provisions for collaboration in data collection and research.

Besides the cooperation on conservation, management and regulation, the objective of the provisions on fisheries should be to uphold Union fishing activities. In particular, it should aim to avoid economic dislocation for Union fishermen that have traditionally fished in the United Kingdom waters.
To reach this objective, the provisions on fisheries should build on existing reciprocal access conditions, quota shares and the traditional activity of the Union fleet, and therefore:

  1. Define stable quota shares, which can only be adjusted with the consent of both Parties;
  2. Include modalities for transfers and exchanges of quotas and for the setting of annual or multi-annual total allowable catches (or effort limitations) on the basis of long-term management strategies;
  3. Organise the modalities for obtaining fishing authorisations and the provisions that ensure equality of treatment and compliance, including joint control and inspection activities.

Now we’ve seen the EU demands, Below are the demands from the UK taken from ”EU – U.K. future relationship document”:

  1. The UK is ready to consider an agreement on fisheries that reflects the fact that the UK will be an independent coastal state at the end of 2020. It should provide a framework for our future relationship on matters relating to fisheries with the EU. This would be in line with precedent for EU fisheries agreements with other independent coastal states. Trade in fisheries products should be covered by the CFTA. Overall, the framework agreement on fisheries should provide a clear basis for an on-going relationship with the EU, akin to the EU’s relationship with other coastal states, one that respects the UK’s status as an independent coastal state and the associated rights and obligations that come with this.
  2. Any such framework agreement on fisheries should cover access to fish in UK and EU waters, fishing opportunities and future cooperation on fisheries management, as follows.

a. It should set out the scope and process for annual negotiations on access to the parties’ exclusive economic zones and fishing opportunities (total allowable catch and shares).
b. Fishing opportunities should be negotiated annually based on the best available science for shared stocks provided by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The UK will no longer accept the ‘relative stability’ mechanism for sharing fishing quotas, which is outdated, based on historical fishing activity from the 1970s. This means that future fishing opportunities should be based on the principle of zonal attachment, which better reflects where the fish live, and is the basis for the EU’s fisheries agreement with Norway.

c. Any EU vessels granted access to fish in UK waters in annual negotiations would be required to comply with UK rules and would be subject to licensing requirements including reporting obligations. New fisheries management measures will be notified in good time.
d. The UK is committed to acting as a responsible coastal state and to working closely with the EU and its Member States and other coastal states on the sustainable management of shared stocks in line with our international obligations. The UK is, therefore, open to providing, in the agreement on fisheries, for the creation of a forum for cooperation on wider fisheries matters outside of annual negotiations. This could include cooperation on matters to support

20 The Future Relationship with the EU | The UK’s Approach to Negotiations
responsible fisheries management, such as data-sharing, science and control and enforcement.
e. It should include provisions for sharing vessel monitoring data and information to deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. If annual negotiations provide for access to fish in UK waters, then additional data-sharing would be required for control and enforcement. As part of an agreement on fisheries, the parties could agree to designate additional ports under the rules of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) to ensure each other’s vessels are able to land in those ports.

f. It should include arrangements for dispute settlement along the lines common to other fisheries agreements, including provision for the suspension of the agreement on fisheries if necessary.

  1. The UK will be negotiating separate fisheries framework agreements with other independent coastal states, notably Norway.
  2. The UK Government recognises the interests of the devolved administrations in this area and is committed to working with them in the consideration of any agreement.

As you can see, it was clearly stated that the UK, wanted from the outset to be treated as a third country and its waters to be respected as a third nations territorial waters. The EU was warned that any encroachment on the terms obviously wouldn’t be agreed. “The UK is ready to consider an agreement on fisheries that reflects the fact that the UK will be an independent coastal state at the end of 2020.” The document goes on to say: Overall, the framework agreement on fisheries should provide a clear basis for an on-going relationship with the EU, akin to the EU’s relationship with other coastal states, one that respects the UK’s status as an independent coastal state and the associated rights and obligations that come with this.

So far, we haven’t seen the EU respect the independence of the United Kingdom in these negotiations. Barnier demands continued unrestricted access into the UK territorial waters as if its a god-given right for the EU to have such privilege. What independent coastal nation state would allow its waters to be dictated to by a foreign entity? It wouldn’t. The EU needs to realise that the UK is NO LONGER a member state. We are leaving the European Union in its entirety, on the 31st December 2020, deal or No deal, come what may. The EU needs to get used to these change of terms instead of moaning that the UK isn’t moving quickly enough due to the UK not accepting the EU’s unacceptable demands.

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