Monday, 30 December 2019

Fishing will be the barometer for round one of Brexit talks.

Looks like London will pay host to the next stage of Brexit negotiations post January 31st according to the Guardian newspaper:

Negotiations on the future relationship are expected to start in earnest in early March. EU member states are due to adopt their negotiating position on issues such as trade in goods, fisheries, security and level playing field demands on 25 February after the publication of a draft paper in the first week of the month.

On fisheries, the political declaration obliges the EU and the UK to make “best endeavours” to agree on future access to British waters by 1 July, but Brussels sources are sceptical as to whether such a deal can be struck in that time.

“Without an agreement on fish, there will not be a deal – the price for a trade deal is the level playing field demands and fishing rights,” said an EU source. “But in reality, we don’t have to agree it by the summer, just the end of the year.”

Gerard van Balsfoort, the chair of the European Fisheries Alliance, a lobby group representing the fishing fleets of the member states most affected by Brexit, said there needed to be certainty each year on the allocation.

“Of course, if the UK is outside the EU, it will have their own fisheries policy and they will be an independent coastal state, and everything will not remain the same,” he said.

“But the real issue with fisheries is where can you fish, and how much. And with these two things, it is easy: we have the quota sharing set in stone. And we want an agreement that reflects what we have now.

“You can ask whether that is realistic, but the UK points to Norway. With Norway, the quotas are set in stone. There is an allocation key from the early 1980s. And that hasn’t changed.”

An EU source said: “In reality, if we can’t agree on fish then we really are in trouble.”

Full story courtesy of the Guardian here: