The UK and EU are set to begin talks on Monday and face a race against time to get an agreement signed before the end of the transition period in December 2020, which Boris Johnson is refusing to extend. The European Union has demanded the UK continues to allow fleets from inside the bloc access to British waters in order to strike a post-Brexit free trade deal. The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned after European ministers agreed to red lines for the negotiations in a meeting on Tuesday that fishing rights must be included in the deal or there “won’t be any agreement at all”.
The EU’s egregious demands for the Government to sacrifice British fishing and coastal communities must be resisted
Fishing For Leave
But Downing Street said the UK had twice voted to “take back control” of British waters, firstly in the EU referendum in 2016 and again in December’s general election, and are refusing to give any ground.
Now Fishing For Leave has launched a furious attack against the EU over its “egregious demands” for fishing rights in the post-Brexit free trade agreement with the UK, warning Boris Johnson they “must be resisted”.
The Brexit campaign group told Express.co.uk: “The EU’s egregious demands for the Government to sacrifice British fishing and coastal communities must be resisted.
“No other nation sacrifices its rich natural resources for the ability to trade – Norway and Iceland don’t – let alone to someone who exports £100billion more to us.
“These nations chose to take tariffs and customs on their seafood exports to avoid sacrificing their rich waters to the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy) and exploitation by the whole EU fleet. They export vast volumes because the EU needs that seafood.
“The EU also has a critical dependency on UK seafood exports, taking a vast volume of the paltry shares the UK fleet is allowed to catch under the CFP.
“That dependency will only increase if the Government ends the EU fleets’ ability to catch 60 percent of the fish in British waters that represents a third of their catches.”
Fishing For Leave also lashed out at the EU, labelling its threats to the UK over fishing rights as “hollow brickmanship.
ut the campaign group also warned the Prime Minister sacrificing fishing in a trade deal would “enrage the public” and could come at the expense of a handful of coastal constituencies currently held by his Conservative Party.
Fishing For Leave said: “There is no trade or economic reason to sacrifice either fish or finance. The EU needs both and therefore their threats are hollow brinkmanship.
“The real cost of sacrificing fishing is political. It would enrage the public who see fishing as totemic.
“It would cost the Conservatives a host of coastal constituencies, particularly those in Scotland that underpin the Union.
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“Boris can take back control of a £6-8billion industry by not rolling over current exploitational EU access and quota shares and being a national hero for righting a grievous wrong.”
The EU set out its mandate for trade deal talks on Tuesday, which says Brussels will look to “uphold the existing reciprocal access to waters” and quota shares for fish.
Setting out the EU’s position on linking fish, trade and the UK respecting Brussels’ rules, Mr Barnier said: “The trade agreement will be associated with a fisheries agreement and an agreement about a level playing field or there won’t be any agreement at all.”
But Downing Street has hit back with a vengeance, insisting the UK will determine whether EU fishing boats can access British waters.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The UK did not vote twice to take back control of its fishing waters only to give that control up again.
“As a matter of fact, it doesn’t matter what the EU puts in its mandate as we become an independent coastal state on December 31 2020.”
The spokesman added: “This does not have to be negotiated, nor will it be.
“Any access by non-UK vessels to fish in UK waters will be for us to determine.”
Earlier this week, Emmanuel Macron said Mr Johnson “has a card in his hand and it is fishing”.
But the French President also insisted he will do everything possible to protect French fishermen.
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