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  • British Prime Minister Theresa May says UK Government is seeking to finalize a fisheries deal by 2020.

    British Prime Minister Theresa May says UK Government is seeking to finalize a fisheries deal by 2020. | Photo: Reuters FILE

Published 29 November 2018
Opinion

President Emmanuel Macron chimed in to warn that any wider trade deal among the EU group will fail, unless the trawlers retain current access to the waters.

United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May, in a letter to Scottish members of parliament, stated that trawlers will not be allowed to fish in British waters unless a fair Brexit deal.

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“It remains our resolute position that there should be no such link. If we can’t reach a new and fair agreement by the end of 2020, then the default is that EU (European Union) vessels would have no access to our waters.” May added that the United Kingdom would be “an independent coastal state with full control over our waters.”

However, President Emmanuel Macron chimed in to warn that any wider trade deal among the EU group will fail, unless the trawlers retain current access to the waters. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also acknowledged that talks regarding fisheries were “undoubtedly going to be an area where negotiations are going to be tough.”

Scottish Secretary David Mundell threatened to resign if the UK remains a party to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) beyond 2020. But, May announced that the UK Government is seeking to finalize a fisheries deal by then.

“While there is an option to extend the implementation period for a time-limited period, as I have said many times, I don’t want to extend the implementation period and I do not believe we will need to do so. This is an insurance policy that would only apply in the unlikely event that it takes longer to secure a future relationship than planned.”

Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation CEO Harry Wick, said, regarding Britain possibly losing control of its waters through the union’s aggressive tactics, “We are very concerned about this. We think it is very opportunistic by the EU to attempt to gain access in this way. It would be a breach of the good faith agreement between the UK and EU in negotiations.” 

Wick made the remark after the 27 remaining EU leaders vowed to protect their own interests on several issues, including fishing.

“Once we leave the EU and therefore the Common Fisheries Policy, the UK should have complete control over fisheries waters,” Wick explained, adding that “if the French try to link this issue to access to trade, Theresa May said it would be referred to an independent arbitrator. But the very fact of an independent arbitrator making a judgment proves the UK has lost control.”

The prime minister’s official spokesman responding, stating that any such actions carried out by France would be a “breach of good faith.”  

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