British fishermen believe that a BREXIT fisheries agreement is still a long way off, despite Boris Johnson’s major concession to Brussels last week.
Last week Lord Johnson’s chief negotiator, Lord Frost, presented the EU with a three-year adjustment period for fisheries. Despite this huge concession from Britain, a fisheries deal remains elusive as the time for Brexit negotiations is running out. Speaking to Express.co.uk, executive director of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations, Barrie Deas argued that the EU would not yet consider Britain an independent state.
Indeed, Deas stated that large gaps remain between the two sides as EU states like France desperately try to maintain full access to UK waters.
He said, “I think we are far from an agreement.
“My understanding is that this idea of a three year adjustment period was something that Britain proposed to the EU but didn’t really get a response.
“I think the amount of adjustment in the quota shares required to reflect the UK’s new status as an independent coastal state is likely to be much more significant.
“That is where the big void lies, and countries like France are digging in.”
Last week the UK signed a historic fisheries agreement with Norway, the first as an independent coastal nation.
This agreement provides for annual negotiations on access to waters and quotas.
Given the proposal on quotas and access, this illustrates the strange demands the EU is making, Deas said.
This agreement is also similar to the treaty between the EU and Norway and should form the basis for a future agreement between Brussels and the UK.
He added: “I think the Norway deal is great because it is the first fisheries deal that defines the UK as an independent coastal state and how the EU should deal with the UK.
“The agreement between the EU and Norway also shows how Brussels treated the nation for 40 years.
“This is how Britain will refer to the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland, and it will only make it clear how strange the EU’s demands are.
“And I even think the EU Commission finds their demands strange.”
Despite claims that the EU’s demands were bizarre, Mr Deas concluded that UK officials had stated that UK fisheries remained key to their negotiating position.
On Monday, the German Chancellor met with EU officials, namely French President Emmanuel Macron, to urge them to drop their demands on the fisheries.
Ms. Merkel was also supported by her Foreign Minister Heiko Mass, who called on the EU states to support a Brexit compromise.
States like France still want access to British waters, similar to what they achieved in the Common Fisheries Policy.
Since Britain is an independent state, Lord Frost has refused this request.
As part of his three-year transition proposal, both sides would use this time to adjust to new measures, giving coastal communities time to adjust.
The catch quotas are also being reduced from year to year.
After the last round of negotiations, Lord Frost said: “Regarding fisheries, the gap between us is unfortunately very large and without further realism and flexibility from the EU there is a risk that no bridging is possible.
“These questions are fundamental to our future status as an independent country.”