EU says Britain must STAY in fishing policy during transition…but gets NO VOTE on quotas

Posted on Dec 21 2017 - 7:04am by admin

Michel Barnier laid out the uncompromising position as the Commission put forward new directives, which need to be signed off by EU leaders, for a bridging period on membership terms. 

The Frenchman stressed that “all community policies”, including the heavily criticised CFP and its agricultural equivalent the CAP, will “continue to apply” for the duration of a transition. 

However, Britain will formally leave the EU institutions on March 30, 2019 meaning it will no longer have a seat on the Fisheries Council where mandatory quotas are set. 

That means the UK will not get a vote when the limits for catches in our waters are set, though Brussels is planning a mechanism so Downing Street can be “consulted” on such decisions. 

The revelations are likely to infuriate eurosceptics, who put the decline of Britain’s fishing industry at the hands of the CFP front and centre of the campaign to leave the EU. 

The Commission’s proposals state: “Specific procedural arrangements…should also be found for the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities (total allowable catches) during the transition period.”

However, they make clear the solution must be “compliant” with the broader principle that during the transition Britain cannot “participate in the decision-making or the governance of the Union bodies, offices and agencies”. 

Ukip MEP Mike Hookem, whose Yorkshire and the Humber constituency includes the port of Grimsby, has launched a petition calling on the Government to make removing Britain from the CFP as soon as possible a “red line” in the negotiations. 

He said: “Barnier’s confirmation that the UK will have to stay in the CFP during the transition, while having no seat at the table confirms the realisation of the worst fears of British Fishing communities.

“It has been obvious since the referendum that the EU would fight tooth and nail to keep their rights to continue plundering British waters of fish. This situation is totally unacceptable and I call on the British people to make it clear to every member of Parliament that we want our seas back.”

“The simple fact is, Theresa May has negotiated herself into a corner and in doing so, has betrayed the future potential of British fishing. The only way forward is to make British Fishing rights a red line, not to be crossed. This can only be achieved through removing the UK from the CFP.” 

Earlier this week Mrs May told Parliament that Britain would be leaving the CFP and the CAP in 2019, but the EU says that is at odds with her pledge for a transition “on membership terms”. 

Mr Barnier said: “Mrs May said in her speech under current terms in her Florence speech so that would of course apply to a very important community policy such as CFP. 

“But at the same time the UK has decided it will no longer be part of the Council when there are discussions such as the discussions establishing the fish quotas. 

“With the UK’s departure for that period after the UK has left they’ll no longer be part of the council so well have to find a mechanism a way of consulting with the UK specifically on this question.”

However, according to some reports Brussels could be considering adopting a Norway-style agreement with the UK, where quotas are set bilaterally, rather than imposing them through the CDP. 

A senior EU official told The Times: “We are thinking about a fair play kind of solution. The important thing is that people don’t need to feel discriminated on the UK side.”

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