Panic has gripped Brussels, as French MEP warns, Britains Fisheries proposal would devastate the EU. François-Xavier Bellamy told the (EEP) European People’s Party that fisheries were “not just a detail in the Brexit deal but a decisive issue”.
He said: “We do not want an agreement with the UK if there is not a fisheries agreement which allows in the long term a balanced and stable way to continue to share reciprocal access to waters and resources.
“What we must have in this agreement is the guarantee that European fishermen will be able to continue to access the British waters.
“Today, it is in these waters that about 40 percent of European fishing is carried out.
“And so, if we could no longer access, these waters and resources, it would obviously be a considerable loss for European fishing.”
This week an EU official told Reuters: “There have been hints of a possible reconciliation. “We would be looking to shift on demands to keep everything as is now, a somewhat maximalist opening position, if the UK also moved from its position of coastal attachment. That’s where the room for compromise lies.”
If the negotiations don’t produce any fruit, the UK has until the 1st July to ask for an extension to the transition period. This would mean a change in law, pushing the deadline date beyond 31st December 2020. Though the extension option is available, it’s mainly the EU that is willing and wanting the UK to extend these negotiations.
Downing Street has maintained the UK will honour the timeline – despite earlier this week Mr Barnier offering the UK a 24-month delay in a letter to opposition party leaders.
Despite this, Paris has stated that they are willing to listen and consider any new proposals coming from London, meaning the EU is hoping the UK caves in on fishing. Britain has stated numerous times that the UK is going to be an independent coastal state who’s in control of its waters and fish. Next round of negotiations starts next week.