Brexit transition battle BEGINS: May goes to WAR with EU on agriculture and fishing policy

Posted on Dec 19 2017 - 7:48am by admin

Speaking in the Commons for the first time since the EU27 leaders agreed enough progress had been made during the first phase of Brexit talks, the Prime Minister suggested Britain would try to leave both the fisheries and CAP during the transition period.

However, the EU is of the mindset that Britain will stick with its current EU relationship without any major changes during the transition period.

Mrs May’s admission this afternoon suggests Britain will not absolutely maintain its current relationship with the EU during the transition period, and will instead opt out of certain policies as Britain continues its path out of the bloc.

She said: “We will be leaving the European Union on March 29 2019, we will therefore be leaving the Commons Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy at that date.

“The relationship we have on both those issues continuing through the implementation period with the European Union will be part of the negotiation of that period which will start very soon.”

Mr Gove, the Environment Secretary, was already in discussions with farming and fishing leaders to discuss how the nation’s domestic food production industry will function after Brexit, said the Prime Minister.

“The Environment Secretary is discussing with the fishing and agriculture and industries what those arrangements should be,” she added.

This could spark the first major Brexit battle of the second phase of talks, with early indications that neither side will be willing to concede on either issue.

There is a range of other difficulties that look set to arise when the relationship is discussed next year – for instance, the Commons Fisheries Policy quotas are set by the calendar year, so leaving it in March will only add to complications.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear how the UK Government will satisfy EU farming subsidies received by UK farmers with the future relationship still yet to be discussed.

Control over fisheries remains a particularly contentious aspect of Britain’s break with the EU, with some British fishermen claiming the policy has made impossible for them to earn a decent living.

Fishing for Leave official Alan Hastings said last month: “Fishermen are being forced to catch more than necessary but to land less – crushing livelihoods and the marine environment. This mad, unsustainable quota system must end in mixed fisheries when Britain Leaves the EU

“A quota system will always lead to discards in a mixed fishery where it is impossible to catch the right mixture of fish.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minster also used her Commons speech to hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after he claimed it was his party were behind the idea of a transition period.

Mr Corbyn had said the Government is now backing Labour’s calls for a transition period and said the UK must stay in the customs union and the single market for a limited period.

Mrs May immediately responded that she set out the transition period in her Lancaster House speech back in January.

She told MPs: “He claims that the transition period, the implementation period,w as somehow a Labour idea – I have to say to him he should look at the Lancaster House speech when I was very clear about the need to have a smooth departure from the European Union.”

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