In an effort to sweeten its Brexit deal offer at the eleventh hour, the United Kingdom has made a new offer to the European Union in which it said that it was willing to allow for a three-year transition period for fishing fleets from Europe to allow them to prepare for the post-Brexit changes.
According to the proposal of Britain, in order to give time for European coastal communities to adapt to the changes, there would be a slow phase out of European fishing fleets from British waters between 2021 and 2024.
a new negotiating paper tabled ahead of the current round of negotiations in Brussels between representatives of both the sides contained the lengthy transition period.
In the negotiations, UK’s chief negotiator is David Frost while is EU counterpart is Michel Barnier.
While being floated in the negotiations previously, no details about the a phase-down period was available until recently.
“We have a long way to go but if the other problematic issues can be sorted, it doesn’t look like fisheries will stand in the way of an agreement”, one senior EU diplomat was quoted in the media.
Recently, the UK signed independent fishing deal with Norway, a first for the UK in 40 years. Annual negotiation on share of catch was one of the major parts of the fishing deal with Norway. That clause was offered to the EU earlier but was rejected.
He believed there was a good chance of a trade deal, said Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, during a visit to Washington on Tuesday night. “The obstacles are not insurmountable,” he said. “We should be able to get this deal done.”
The UK government should not sell them out, warned UK fisheries leaders.
“What we wouldn’t agree to is surrendering fishing rights in order to have a trade deal. There is no expectation within the UK fishing industry that the UK will back down on fisheries. If anything, the commitments that have been made to the industry are stronger now than when the negotiations started. We’ve been given clear and unequivocal commitments,” said Barrie Deas, the head of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.
The UK has stuck to its demand for replacement of the common fisheries policy and substituting it with a system of “zonal attachment” that would result in a significant rise in catches for British fishing fleets.
Currently the UK only receives a fixed share that is calculated on the basis of how much stock the country’s fishermen had caught during a reference period between 1973 and 1978 because Britain’s economic zone is part of common EU waters.
According to the new proposal by the UK, an agreement has to be reached by the two sides about the percentage of share of stocks for each of their European economic zones each year. Catch quotas would be organised in line with that percentage.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)