The EU and the UK fail to finalize a trade agreement for Brexit

Boris Johnson doesn’t tone down. While playing the game and may speculate on an imminent trade deal with the EU after Brexit, the UK prime minister keeps his harsh speech in the British Parliament. Time is short and the blockade continues on several key issues, such as fishing.

“Our position on the fishing industry has not changed. We can only progress if the European Union accepts the reality that we must be able to control access to our waters. Right now it is very important to emphasize that”, says Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

With a view to a possible concession in the negotiations, the highest authority of the Community Executive points out that the EU seeks ‘guarantees’ for its fishing fleets.

“The crucial issues for the European side are, of course, issues related to a level playing field, governance and fisheries. And with the little time ahead of us, we will do everything in our power to reach an agreement. We are ready to be creative but we are not ready to question the integrity of the single market, “says Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

British and European Union negotiators have moved on the path to an agreement, and it appears that the outline of a possible final text has already been created. But both have little more than a month to close a commercial pact. The next few days will be decisive for the negotiations between both parties.


British Prime Minister Johnson on Brexit: Our position on fisheries has not changed

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The Government will modify the sanctions to the fishing sector in 2021

Madrid, Nov 21 (EFE) .- The Government will modify the system of sanctions and fines for the fleet, with the presentation of two new laws around January 2021, to modernize fishing control and promote sustainable activity, as explained the Secretary General for Fisheries, Alicia Villauriz.

Villauriz has underlined, in an interview with Efe, that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food foresees “adjustments” of the sanctioning regime, taking into account the most significant “breaches” and seeking a “balance” between the protection of fishing grounds and the “proportionate” penalty to offenders.

The Ministry intends to present “in unison and hand in hand” two laws, one to promote sustainable activity -with research as a basis- and another to update the regulation on control matters, also in connection with the modifications that are already being processed within of the European Union (EU) regarding fisheries surveillance.

Within the EU, the debate in Brussels covers, for example, the installation of video surveillance cameras on ships.

Villauriz, of Galician origin, has indicated that the idea is to “review” important aspects of the sanctions regime of the current Maritime Fishing Law, but has not detailed amounts, after noting that the adjustment could be “up or down.”

In that sense, he recalled that last spring, within the measures to alleviate the coronavirus in agriculture, there was a modification that graduated the sanctions related to the sale of molluscs, considering that the classification that had prevented the brotherhoods from accessing community aid


In relation to the cuts in working days proposed by the European Commission (EC) for the Mediterranean fleet (-15%), Villauriz has admitted that fishermen have already made efforts and that the impact of the pandemic has been more pronounced in these waters than in other fishing grounds.

The trawler fleet depends more on the hotel and catering industry, he pointed out, and for this reason it has “suffered more” from the consequences of the restrictions due to the coronavirus.

Spain will defend that these circumstances are taken into account in the negotiation of fishing quotas for 2021 that the EU ministers will face in December, and that the measures to recover the Mediterranean are “progressive” and not abrupt cuts.

Spain will ask to extend the margin until 2025, a year set by the EU rules to achieve the maximum sustainable yield (safe biological levels) in Mediterranean fisheries.

“We have to assess whether we are making adequate progress, so as not to apply drastic measures next year,” he stressed.


Regarding Brexit, Villauriz has remarked that on January 1 (end of the transitional period) Spanish activity in British waters and in fishing grounds shared between the EU and the United Kingdom will continue, although the distribution of fishing possibilities remains to be seen.

However, the negotiation of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Atlantic for 2021 comes with “uncertainty” about the British exit from the EU and the distribution of the hundred species that the Twenty-seven share with the United Kingdom.

At the EU Council in December, the decision on that hundred species will remain pending the outcome of the Brexit discussions, according to Villauriz, who has trusted in a “balanced” agreement and in the negotiating team with London.

Villauriz has defended the Executive’s action to alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus on the income from fishing and aquaculture.

In the future, he pointed out, the Government will implement new measures focused on research and fisheries management, thanks to the specific allocation assigned to this policy within the EU funds that Spain will receive for reconstruction after the pandemic.

Mercedes rooms


What if the EU’s 750,000 million euros is not enough?

01/11/2020 05:00Updated: 11/01/2020 3:55 PM

The second wave of the coronavirus has allowed the last section of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union to be held these weeks without the political pressure or media attention that would have made the transfers and the search for common ground more complicated. Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the European Commission, and David Frost, his British counterpart, spent a week of continuous talks in London and moved to Brussels last Thursday, where negotiations have continued.

This week will be key. There is important progress in terms of ‘level-playing field’, the level playing field necessary for the EU to allow the UK access to the single market, and in matters of state aid. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, celebrated on Thursday that it had been much progress and the work was already concentrating on equal conditions and fishing. “We are detailing in depth how we could build a system that is fair for both parties,” he explained during a press conference, “with a dispute mechanism and clear rules on both sides. This is crucial. This will be in the next days, the field in which to work deeply ”.

The calendar with which the capitals work indicates that an agreement should be reached regarding a legal text during the next few days

The calendar with which the capitals work marks that Barnier and Frost should reach an agreement regarding a legal text during the next days. There is a little more time, but not much. The text must be translated and then ratified by the European Parliament so that the future trade agreement can be put into effect as of January 1. But, in any case, not everything will be simple and easy: Barnier and Frost are stretching their negotiating mandates during these days, and what they manage to agree will have to receive the political blessing of the Twenty-Seven and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Economic forecast

It will not be the only issue on the European agenda for the next few days. Finance ministers also maintain a Eurogroup and an Ecofin in which the virus will focus all the attention. They will discuss, among other things, the measures that different Member States are taking and their possible economic effects. No one doubts that This second wave is going to have important consequences for the European economies in the last quarter, but no one knows exactly what the magnitude will be. Indeed, one of the issues to be discussed will be to what extent the budget plans sent to Brussels only half a month ago are still valid now.

It is expected that at the end of the week, on November 5, the European Commission will update its economic forecasts, so European sources have explained that the ministers will receive from the Community Executive, represented in the Eurogroup by Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy and on Ecofin by Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, a preview in the form of a general “trend” of the forecasts. “The European Commission is preparing its forecast in a situation of extreme uncertainty because the new containment measures are changing day by day, and it is very difficult to anticipate how quickly they will have an effect ”, explains a European source.

What if the € 750 billion Recovery Fund is not enough given the severity of this second wave?

What if more measures are needed? In other words, what if the Recovery Fund of 750,000 million euros is not enough given the severity of this second wave? According to the source, the ministers are not going to discuss that yet: “I think the general understanding is that it is still a bit early.” For the moment they will focus on implementing the agreements already reached: half a billion euros of aid in the SURE program, the emergency line of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the pan-European guarantees of the European Investment Bank (EIB), as well as the Recovery Fund.

Also in the coming days, the trilogues between the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament will continue to close an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European budget for 2021-2027, own resources and the instrument of the rule of law. Especially with regard to the MFF, where cuts had to be made to make room for the 750,000 million of the Recovery Fund, the tone among the negotiators is being very harsh.


Congress seeks solutions to Brexit with food and fishing companies

The Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB) and the Galician Cerco Shipowners Association (Acerga) will appear this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in the special presentation of the Congress of Deputies on the consequences of Brexit and possible solutions.

The food employers’ association and the Galician association will take part in the special presentation on Brexit of the Joint Commission for the European Union (EU) of Congress, in which interlocutors from all economic sectors, companies and unions, universities and social agents participate.

Spokesmen for the PSOE, PP, Vox and United We Can have defended, in statements to Efeagro, the need to help agri-food companies to deal with the consequences of Brexit.

The popular spokesperson for Agriculture in Congress, Milagros Marcos, which is also part of the joint committee, has indicated that the deputies “will identify the problems and seek solutions” in the face of the new scenario with the United Kingdom.

Most of the organizations that have participated in the presentation so far have expressed the fear of an agreement “Last minute, very poor and to save the junk” between the EU and the United Kingdom, “which will keep the process open for months and does not provide solutions,” according to deputy Roberto Uriarte (United We Can).

Uriarte -of the mixed commission- points out that for the agri-food sector it is “fundamental” that the Common Agricultural Policy (PAC) is more social and sustainable or that import quotas are revised, taking into account that the capacity of the Community market will be reduced with the exit from the United Kingdom, as for example in the case of butter.

He added that there are SMEs without export experience, to which are added customs complications with Brexit, and therefore “public policies” are needed to help them facilitate these procedures.

In fishing, Uriarte has admitted the uncertainty because until the last moment it is not known if he will have a minimum agreement with the United Kingdom or there will not be, and he has advocated “putting pressure” on these negotiations, always bearing in mind that it is a multilateral discussion of the EU and not a bilateral one.

The Socialist spokesman for Agriculture in Congress, Manuel Gonzalez Ramos, has asked for caution while the negotiations in Brussels and London continue, because although uncertainty is rife in the sector “now we are moving on hypotheses and we all hope there is a beneficial agreement.”

González Ramos has added that, even in the case that the worst case scenario is met (hard Brexit), “The Government has a contingency plan” and the Administration will provide “the necessary personnel” and will expand the staff of officials so that there is no delay in administrative procedures and “do not burden” the export.

He has also pointed out that there are EU tools, within the regulation of agricultural markets.

On the contrary, Marcos (PP) has shown his mistrust in the government, “Because it has not made the necessary approaches or worked in the diplomatic activity” required by the agri-food sector.

Vox Agriculture Spokesperson in Congress, Ricardo Chamorro, has expressed concern about the movements of the United Kingdom to seek alternatives to Spanish products, especially in negotiations with Morocco, in the fruit and vegetable sector, and in tourism.

Moroccan competition “It would be devastating” for Spain and for Andalusia, according to Chamorro.

Has stated that the Government “is bad and late” and he has asked that “be put the batteries” in defense of national interests, which has also extended to the situation in Gibraltar, and its consequences for Spanish fishermen.


Rügen Eurobaltic fish factory is threatened with Brexit

For the Euro-Baltic fish factory in Sassnitz on Rügen and its employees, it is currently up to date. The Baltic herring is no longer important due to the drastic cuts in catch quotas by the EU. The processing of North Sea herring is also endangered by the upcoming Brexit. But there is still hope.


Brexit, fisheries and General Moore

January 16, 1809 Sir John Moore, general of the British army responsible for the troops sent to Spain to help contain the Napoleonic invasion, fell mortally wounded in the battle of Elviña, while defending the Galician coast from the French attack in order to evacuate his troops.

Today, however, it is the British who defend every last meter of their coastline against the supposed threat of French and Spanish fishermen, who only aspire to continue fishing after Brexit as they have been doing for decades. The problem is that this battle can end up torpedoing the entire Brexit negotiation.

The European Union has established three conditions to be able to approve a Definitive Relationship Agreement after Brexit with the United Kingdom: a fishing agreement, a commitment to fair competition (avoid the competitive use of state aid and environmental, labor and tax regulations) and a minimum governance of the agreement (management and supervision, dispute resolution mechanism, effective application and jurisdictional order).

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Spanish fishing sector would lose access to some 9,000 tons per year, less than 1% of the total, although of high-value species such as hake or monkfish

Of the three, the one that has most surprised many is the demand for an agreement in the field of fisheries. And not because it is undesirable, but because it is established as a key factor in the negotiations. The explanation is not to be found in the quantitative importance of the sector in terms of GDP or employment, but in its social and regional importance: there are few activities whose jobs revolve so much around very specific places. Spain is the EU country where fishing activity absorbs more direct employment (together with Greece and Italy they account for around 65% of the European total), and also the one that fishes the most tons annually (followed closely by Denmark), although its activity in the maritime zone of the United Kingdom (Gran Sol and Malvinas) is less important than that of France, Ireland or the Netherlands. In the event of a Brexit without an agreement, the Spanish fishing sector would lose access to some 9,000 tons per year, less than 1% of the total, although of high-value species such as hake, monkfish or rooster, and harming more than one hundred ships, 1,700 direct jobs and another 6,800 indirects.

What are the positions of both parties? It should be remembered that the Common Fisheries Policy governs the EU, which implies two things: permanent access to the territorial waters of the rest of the Member States – shared as “EU waters” – and the annual distribution of maximum catches per species (TAC ) according to national quotas established in the 1970s. The United Kingdom considers that it badly negotiated its quotas at the timeAlthough that was 48 years ago, when the territorial waters of the countries only covered 12 nautical miles (since 1982, each country has 200 miles within its so-called “Exclusive Economic Zone” or EEZ).

Zonal linking

The EU intends to maintain the the state and guarantee, as far as possible, stable access and catches that can only be modified by mutual agreement, while the British Government wants to discuss each year both the access of EU vessels to UK waters and the catch quotas (which I would prefer to calculate based on the percentage of species in each EEZ, known as “zonal linkage”). This is what other states such as Norway do (who, by the way, refused to be part of the EU, among other things, for not joining the Common Fisheries Policy).

The EU, of course, is aware that the current situation cannot last indefinitely, but wants the conditions of access to British waters to gradually change, to avoid major disruption to European fishermen who have traditionally fished in UK waters. . Also fear the technical nightmare of having to negotiate the catches of multiple species annually. Some countries, like France, are taking a very rigid position.

Fish don’t have a passport

Are there reasons for an agreement on fisheries? I think so, for at least five reasons.

In the first place, because, although the United Kingdom did not want to let anyone enter its territorial waters, according to the Convention of the Sea In any case, it would have to allow other countries to access the part of the TAC established for its EEZ that it has not been able to cover with its own fleet.

Second, because cooperation is essential to resource sustainability: as the EU does with Norway, catches must always be negotiated, not only because the fish do not carry a passport (they are caught where they are found, and not where they have been raised), but also because if each country sets its own TAC as much as possible fishing grounds are likely to be depleted.

Third, because of the business interdependencies of the British fishing fleet. Unlike many countries, which allocate their quotas based on socio-economic and regional considerations, the UK sees them as private rights that can be freely bought, sold and rented; This has led, on the one hand, to strong internal concentration (in 2018 Greenpeace estimated that more than a quarter of the quotas were in the hands of just five families) and, on the other, to a large outsourcing (more than 90% of the British quota of herring is in the hands of European companies, and more than 60% of the tonnage landed in British ports is caught by foreign ships).

80% of all fish exported by the UK is sold within the EU, and some sectors such as shellfish, cod and mackerel are totally dependent on their European sales

Fourth, because the UK is not going to chip away everything it can catch. The other side of access to British fishing grounds is access to the European market, its best customer: 80% of all fish exported by the United Kingdom is sold within the EU, and some sectors such as seafood, cod, herring and mackerel are totally dependent on their European sales.

Fifth, because the political motivation is unclear. Although the vast majority of UK fishing communities (to the south, east and on the Northern Irish coast) voted in favor of Brexit, The UK’s largest fishing port, by far, is Petershend in Scotland, whose government would not welcome another blow to its economy from Brexit that they never wanted.

Greater control share

Is there a possibility of agreement? It is reasonable that the UK wants to have a higher quota and more control over its resources, and it is reasonable that the European Union wants to maintain a minimum legal certainty for its fishermen so that they do not have to be at the risk of difficult negotiations every year. A certain gradualism is perfectly compatible with an agreement that provides legal certainty in the short and medium term.

Sovereignty is only good if it has practical implications. If it comes to slowly restructuring their access and catches, the UK is within their rights. If it is only about closing itself to the outside, it should be remembered that before World War II (when the United Kingdom was still an empire) territorial waters were much less than the current 200 miles. They did not even reach 12, but were considered to be limited to the distance that could be reached with the firing of a cannonball from the coast.

A cannonball was precisely what killed Sir John Moore. He managed to repel the onslaught of the French and embark his troops back to the United Kingdom and won – apart from an elegy of Rosalia de Castro– an eternal rest with sea views in the Jardines de San Carlos, one of the most beautiful places in La Coruña. But he did not survive, and his grave serves as a permanent reminder that defend the coast with cannon fire it is always much more expensive than promoting commercial cooperation.


Comment on Brexit

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Comment on Brexit
As tragic as it is ridiculous

Half a dozen European coastal states, and above all France, are urging that practically nothing should change in the future. As if the kingdom was still subject to the common fisheries policy, EU states should continue to retain full access to British fishing grounds. For the British government, this request is an affront.

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Brexit: How Boris Johnson is fighting with catch quotas: The herring extortion – domestic politics

It is 45 centimeters long and weighs one kilogram, but in the big Brexit poker with the EU, the North Sea herring (Clupea harengus) is Brexit Boris Johnson’s biggest pound!

The reason: German herring is caught almost exclusively in British territorial waters. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (56) has the EU negotiators hooked and can “really piss us off”, as even Chancellor Angela Merkel (66, CDU) recently put it internally.

Particularly spicy: In Merkel’s constituency (Vorpommern-Rügen), Saßnitz has the largest fishing fleet in Germany and one of the largest processing factories for herring.

The fronts between the EU and Great Britain have been deadlocked for weeks. London insists on the fishing rights of its 200-mile economic zone, Brussels threatens in this case with an import ban on fish and fish products into the EU. Motto: fishing rights against free trade.

The German fishermen are alarmed. “The entire German North Sea herring quota is fished in British waters,” says Uwe Richter from the German Deep Sea Fisheries Association, more than 50,000 tons per year.

Mackerel, cod, saithe, haddock and other popular food fish of the Germans are also caught two-thirds around the British Isles.

Richter, who is also the managing director of Euro-Baltic fish processing in Sassnitz-Mukran (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) and processes 40,000 tons of North Sea herring there annually, expects 230 jobs that are at risk if the British plan were to come true. The fishing industry could make a loss of around 100 million euros.

Photo: Jörg Carstensen / dpa

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Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (47, CDU) is alarmedPhoto: Jörg Carstensen / dpa

Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (47, CDU) is also alarmed.

Opposite BILD is combative: “Our fishermen in Germany need long-term guarantees with quotas and access to the British fishing grounds. There has to be a fair compromise here, as these are straddling stocks: they spend parts of their life cycle in UK waters, parts in EU waters. That has to be reflected. What I am not going to do is to sacrifice fishing for an agreement in other sectors. There can only be one package. “