It’s Time to get Tough Boris
Boris Johnson has set a five-week deadline to conclude talks with Brussels after which time it will be decided how the UK will proceed – deal or no deal. The EU summit mid-October is seen as the unofficial deadline for completing any deal.
In addition, Boris is pushing through legislation to make changes to the Withdrawal Agreement which included the Northern Ireland protocol, originally negotiated by the then Prime Minister Theresa May. An angry Theresa May made a brazing statement to Parliament stating that the Government had signed the Withdrawal Agreement and Parliament had voted for it - but it was now changing its mind. “Given that, how can the Government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations that it signs.”
The Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis defended the legislation giving the UK Government powers over state aid and customs checks on goods traded with Northern Ireland. Lewis insisted the Government was committed to the Brexit deal and that it was taking "limited and reasonable steps to create a safety net" going on to say that the plan "does break international law in a very specific and limited way".
The head of the Government's legal department Jonathan Jones has resigned over concerns about Brexit.
The EU are requesting additional measures for the UK which don’t form part of agreements with other countries like Canada or Japan.
The EU is insisting that the UK align closely to EU rules on matters like workers' rights, environmental regulations and particularly state aid (Fearing that Britain will subsidise goods going to Europe they want reassurances in additions to a host of other demands that are not part of agreements with other trading partners like Canada or Japan.) The EU is also stipulating that in order for the UK to sell fish to the EU, free access to British waters must be granted.
The Clock is Ticking
Chief negotiator Lord Frost has demanded “more realism” from the EU citing they “can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground” as final negotiations continue in order to broker a post-Brexit trade deal. If the EU are prepared to stop punishing the UK and acknowledge (get realistic) the reasons why the UK left the EU in the first place, a deal could be possible. It seems though that a no deal is more and more likely as concessions requested by Michel Barnier can’t be agreed on.
The bias BBC are telling a very one sided story with headlines like “Why does the UK need an EU trade deal?” They should be looking at why the EU needs a trade deal.
Should the EU decide to boycott British fish as suggested, then it is the EU that has clearly started a trade war. A ban on importing German cars and French wine could be the response. Countries like Poland who sell €1.000.000.000 worth of goods per month to the UK but import very little from the UK would be one of the first victims should tariffs be imposed.
It is clearly in the interest of the EU to strike a fair and reasonable deal.
Barnier get realistic!
Stand Firm Boris - It's getting results!
French fishermen who depend on UK waters are so worried about losing access to UK waters that they will resort to blackmail.
Jerome Vicquelin, a fisherman from the Normandy shore — stated in an interview “The UK exports almost 70 percent of its fish into the EU. If we reach December 31 plus they throw us from the waters, then we’ll block our ports, stop the ferries, no British boats will hit French soil.”
Emmanuel Macron on the other hand said “if we don’t receive the same access as now, we will look for compensation`
Barnier to support Johnson’s proposal
Michel Barnier however has recently announced that Brussels is willing to be more “creative” in other areas to keep negotiations moving forward. He went on to say that Brussels would support a UK proposal to divide fishing quotas according to data that reflects the number of fish in British waters.
Known as zonal attachment, British fishermen will be able to catch fish according to how long the marine life stays in British territory, which is determined by scientific data. Zonal attachment accommodates for changing water temperatures due to climate change, which has led more fish heading to UK waters. Brussels has also backtracked on the requirement that EU boats be given the same access to UK waters after he admitted that the policy was “clearly not” balanced.
Is Macron Dictating to EU Members?
The crazy notion of Britain paying billions of pounds to the EU while allowing EU Member States free fishing rights had to end.
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) created by the EU allowed France and Norway to build a multi-billion Euro fishing industry at the expense of Britain. The chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier can't allow this industry to be disrupted or harmed because of Brexit.
We’re Talking Big Fish
Around 60% of fish caught in British waters is landed by foreign EU fishing fleets. It’s further complicated as some UK fishermen have sold off their quota to foreign skippers getting money for staying at home. UK fishing waters stretch 200 miles from the coast, here's how this looks.
Exclusive Economic Zones
Source: Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Why is Fishing Important in Brexit Trade Talks?
Barnier’s problem is that UK waters are so large and bountiful that he‘s under pressure from those EU countries with big fishing fleets to keep the status quo. In other words to maintain free access to UK waters. British waters rank third when it comes to tonnage landed each year making it an especially important fishing ground.
Although fishing is only a fraction of the overall UK economy (worth £784m in the UK compared to financial services at £132bn.) chief negotiator Michael Barnier is making access to EU markets for access to UK fishing waters a condition of any trade deal. Pressure is coming from President Emmanuel Macron whose Country gains the most from free access to British waters.
Fishing rights have always been an emotional issue and a symbol of sovereignty when it comes to Brexit negotiations. Britain’s negotiating position is that "British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats". No wonder this is a sticking point in UK/EU trade talks.
The French Will Suffer the Most
The French Agriculture minister Didier Guillaume said,
'There is no scenario in which French fishermen should be prevented, could be prevented, would be prevented by Boris Johnson, from fishing in British waters… So I will keep telling Britain that our fishermen must be allowed to keep fishing in its waters,'
29 July - A close ally of President Emmanuel Macron insisted that Paris would push for continued access to UK fishing grounds as the price of a free trade deal. The European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune added ‘France has blocked several attempts by European negotiator Michel Barnier to water down its demands for status quo access to British waters.’
Cracks were exposed within EU unity last week when diplomats from Lithuania and Hungary suggested easing the bloc’s stance on fishing rights amid fears it could sabotage chances of a deal.
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was a bad deal for Britain from the start.
Declassified documents published by the National Archives give an insight to how Mrs Thatcher felt about the Common Fisheries Policy. In September 1979 she notes:
‘The fisheries situation was already sufficiently unsatisfactory without our making further concessions. The so-called reciprocity of historic sights was meaningless since the French had fished out their own waters and British access to those waters was worthless.’ (Margaret Thatcher)
What Next After Brexit?
Will we see boats battling it out on open seas as in the 2018 scallops war with the French?
The fact is that the UK will control what's known as an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as an "independent coastal state". This is a large maritime territory stretching up to 200 nautical miles into the North Atlantic.
Inside the EU, the EEZs of all member countries which is a fraction of that which the UK has are managed jointly as a common resource.
Should the UK offer a fishing license?
Britain could charge the EU a fishing license offering conditional access to British waters. Transponders on fishing boats make it easy to monitor where boats are at any one time.