The Council spells it out – but David Davis doesn’t

The latest draft negotiating guidelines from the European Council on Brexit couldn’t be clearer when it comes to fishing. Section 7 begins as follows:-

“As regards the core of the economic relationship , the European Council confirms its readiness to initiate work towards a free trade agreement (FTA), to be finalised and concluded once the UK is no longer a Member State. Such an agreement cannot offer the same benefits as Membership and cannot amount to participation in the Single Market or parts thereof.

This agreement would address:

i) trade in goods, with the aim of covering all sectors, which should be subject to zero tariffs and no quantitative restrictions with appropriate accompanying rules of origin. In this context, reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.”

Let us be quite clear:- this document is not discussing a transitional agreement but a long-term trade deal. In other words, unless we allow essentially a continuation of the Common Fisheries Policy in all but name,  there will be no deal on trade.

Will our government  show the necessary resolve to indicate in no uncertain terms that the jobs of our fishermen are not going to be used as bargaining chips?

Given David Davis’ performance at the most recent meeting of the European Scrutiny Committee, it is hard tt feel confident about this. Even when it came ot the transitional arrangements, he was very evasive. Questioned by both Kate Hoey MP and Richard Drax MP, he would not state clearly and unambiguously that our Exclusive Economic Zone will be managed by the UK authorities alone after March 29th 2018. He said “we are not trading away our fishing rights” but he also said “we haven’t begun to discuss fishing”. Well, Mr Davis, the EU has made its position clear. It wants a continuation of the CFP not only in the transitional period (if it happens) but beyond.  There isn’t much to discuss – only one word needs to be uttered: NO.   

Please see also Fishing for Leave’s comments on the draft negotiating guidelines.
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2 comments

  1. John AshworthReply

    Mr. Tusk has done us a big favour, it is better to bring out the issue of access to our Nation’s resource and territory than leave it till the last moment.
    It puts pressure on all 650 Westminster MP’s, of where do they truely stand on brexit.
    That can only be of benefit.

    • Jason BReply

      Very true. I noted that Nigel Farage MEP has been quick off the mark on youtube with what I thought a good 43 minute call in answer session on ‘The Nigel Farage Show’ : ‘Should we give up fishing rights’ and of course Daniel Hannan MEP spoke up about 3 weeks ago. Both are very able. I truly hope they and others will bring the plight of our fishing waters to the forefront and stop them as mentioned from being a bargaining tool. I believe Greenland has already mentioned that the EU made it hard for them when they finally left in the 1980’s.

      A clean Brexit to where the fishing waters were prior 1972 and no less.

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