We open 2021 with a new relationship between European Union and the UK. The ironclad decision of the British to separate from Europe has conditioned community policy in the last four years, causing a notable impact and uncertainty at the political, social and economic level.
From the community institutions we have lived the course of this decision with enormous concern for the future of coexistence between UE y UK. We always defend the future of a Europe, strong and united, committed to the interests of all its citizens.
It is, without a doubt, the best way to deal effectively with the enormous challenges health, social, environmental and economic that we have ahead.
Since the ratification of Brexit, the January 31, 2020We worked with great commitment so that the exit from the United Kingdom would take place with an agreement that would defend the interests of people and Spanish companies linked to that country.
Otherwise it would have been a real chaos. With very good will on the part of the EU and not too much of the British Government, this last year of fast-paced negotiations culminated in a satisfactory global agreement for mutual trade relations. Many remain pending issues And, at this point, there is still no authorization for a fishing sector that will be greatly affected by Brexit.
After the United Kingdom left the single market on January 1, our agri-food companies can continue to export to the UK on a regular basis and without tariffs. According to data from Bank of Spain and from Institute of Foreign Trade, 7% of Spanish foreign sales are destined for the United Kingdom. In this trade, Spanish and Andalusian agri-food products, with their varied range of fruits, vegetables and wines, among others, have a notable weight and have consolidated links for many years.
A Brexit whitout deal it would have had a high cost for the Spanish and Andalusian agri-food sector. The absence of new tariff barriers is an excellent support for the competitiveness of our companies, for which I congratulate the European Comission and the negotiating team led by Michel barnier, whose solidity and perseverance in the search for reasonable solutions in this difficult context, have been decisive in achieving an agreement that also encompasses areas such as fishing, transport and energy, among other.
Undoubtedly, the departure of the UK of Europe It will mark a before and after in its commercial relations with Spanish agriculture. As an independent country, it will not benefit from the free movement of goods, and therefore, our agri-food companies will have to face customs controls and greater bureaucratic burden to continue marketing its products and serving its consumers in the UK. All this in a scenario of increasing competition with third countries, whose productive models with lower socio-labor and quality conditions, they have lower costs and therefore will compete in unequal conditions with Spanish and Andalusian products in the British market.
In this context, as a Spanish MEP, from the community institutions, we will support our agri-food sector with all the political tools that are in our hands. Over time, our companies and cooperatives have demonstrated their great entrepreneurial nature, supported by the highest quality, innovation, health requirements and guarantee of food safety of their productions. A great differential value to move forward with confidence.
On the other hand, the establishment of fishing powers has been a source of disagreement and concern until the last moment, as we have been denouncing by the Socialists, despite the relevance of this sector in social and economic terms. The agreement establishes a adjustment period (transitory) of five and a half years, from January 1, 2020 to June 30, 2026, during which the transfer of 25% of the value of the catches made to the United Kingdom is contemplated.
At the end of this time, the level and conditions of reciprocal access to the territorial waters of each party.
The fishing setting
The fishing sector will face many difficulties due to Brexit. It is the most negative aspect of this agreement. The United Kingdom wants the management of its waters to be exclusively for the use of its fishing sector, which would seriously harm the EU, which has about 3,000 ships fishing in British waters, of which about 90 are Spanish.
This fleet would have to be distributed to other fishing grounds, which is worrying and generates great uncertainty for the sector. All of this can have a high economic and social impact for our fishermen, who will need support to compensate for the reduction of catches and they should redirect their activity in the medium and long term.
With the Agreement signed and pending ratification by the Plenary of the European Parliament in February, I hope that commercial relations will be normalized and neighborhood relations, as is the case with Norway O Switzerland. This same week, all the committees will meet in Parliament to make an exhaustive assessment by sectors of the agreement. Among the priority issues, UK It must maintain the same requirements in the agri-food and fishing sector so that our sectors defend their competitiveness on equal terms.
Finally, I would like to highlight the social value of the agreement reached by the Spanish Government to Gibraltar, whose application will favor the transit of some 12,000 people and workers between this territory and the Spanish part of the Campo de Gibraltar.
It will be an exceptionally authorized border within Schengen. This commitment must still be ratified within the global agreement, which will contribute to the normality of coexistence relations in this area.