Does this leaked framework document on fisheries expose the EU for wanting control, rather than seeking a free trade deal with the U.K.?

Today, leaked documents have surfaced showing the framework details of the fisheries agreement between the UK and Norway. This indicates that the UK is taking back control of its waters and will be controlled under a different system away from the EU. This deal will have infuriated the EU as they seek to bind the UK to a long term fisheries agreement in the final trade deal which the UK want it as a separate entity away from the trade deal. 

The question needs to ask. Why can Norway sort a deal out around fisheries under a new system yet the EU refuses to do so? Is this about control or a free trade deal? The one thing this document has exposed is the lack of willingness coming from the EU to achieve a real free trade agreement. 

The press release from the Norwegian government stated: “This is a great day! I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with the United Kingdom, which will be an important coastal state and partner from January 2021, says the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.”

“Arrangements for reciprocal fishing access and the exchange of fishing quotas will be made through annual fishing agreements, as today. Other parts of the fisheries cooperation in the North Sea will, however, need to be regulated by a separate tripartite agreement between the EU, Norway and the United Kingdom.”

“I am glad that we now have an agreement that provides a framework for extensive fisheries cooperation with the UK, which is an important country for Norway. The agreement is consistent with our obligations under the law of the sea to cooperate with other coastal states on the joint management of shared fish stocks, in line with modern sustainable management regimes, an ecosystem-based approach and the precautionary principle. We will also maintain our close cooperation with the EU on fisheries in the North Sea. We look forward to putting in place a trilateral agreement between Norway, the UK and the EU on the management of joint fish stocks in the North Sea, once Brexit becomes a reality, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.”

“The United Kingdom has been part of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy for nearly 40 years. When the Brexit transition period expires on 31 December 2020, the United Kingdom will act as an independent coastal state.”

“The new agreement between Norway and the United Kingdom facilitates fisheries cooperation on control, licensing and research. In addition, it gives the parties the opportunity to agree on reciprocal access to each other’s fishing zones and to the exchange of fishing opportunities.”

“This agreement facilitates a good and solid fisheries cooperation for the future. The management of shared fish stocks is at its best when the coastal states agree on how this should happen, says the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Seafood.”

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