EU member states are becoming very edgy with each other, wondering who will cave in on fishing to get a deal with the UK. Fishing has been the most contentious subject during the Brexit talks as the EU seek continued unrestricted access into UK waters, with same quotas and same rules as the pre-Brexit era. They have been expecting the UK to be the first to concede, giving away its sovereign waters which so far Boris hasn’t done.
Katya Adler went onto the BBC’s Radio 4 Today’s Programme saying: “As we’ve discussed many times, fishing is not very significant in GDP terms, either to the UK or EU coastal states but politically it’s very huge and, of course, for fishing communities individually it’s about their livelihoods.”
“Both sides have to be able to turn around to their respective populations and say, ‘ok, well, there’s been a compromise made, but this is what we can walk away with.’
“On fishing, this is where the EU is going to have to compromise big time and among the coastal nations – say France, the Netherlands, Spain – they’re looking at each other suspiciously and saying, ‘well, I don’t want to give up more of my fishing rights than you’ve got’.”
“So it does come down to herring versus cod.
“But, of course, what the EU can also do is financially compensate fisher people who lose out when concessions are made to the UK.
“The standoff point where we are at the moment is that the EU knows it has to concede big time on fish but is waiting to see if the UK accepts it has to give in to certain EU fundamental demands on the level playing field – on the competition.”
With Lord David Frost in Brussels this week to continue with talks, the mood around getting a deal with the EU is becoming less likely as time moves on. Unless the EU caves in on specific areas like fishing a No Deal exit is still a strong option, the deadline set for the deal to be completed is this week so if a deal is made it can be ratified by the member states and voted upon.
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