Politics

‘Rude’ Barnier’s £90m fisheries offer an ‘absolute insult’ that should cost EU Brexit deal

Brexit: Fisheries offer from Barnier 'insulting' says Mummery

Michel Barnier offered the UK £90million to ensure European Union vessels could continue catching fish in British waters at the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020. Former Brexit Party MEP June Mummery, who has long campaigned for the rights of British fishermen, branded the Frenchman and his offer as “rude” as she accused the EU of lowballing. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Mummery said: “That offer was an absolute insult.

“And if I had been doing the deal, I would have walked out the door and slammed the door in his face. An absolute insult.

“Once we take back control, and I mean take back full control, the fishing industry will be worth £6.6billion to the economy. That is net to plate.”

The former euro parliamentarian insisted the rejuvenation of the British fishing industry would benefit the country with substantial “knock-on business” helping to generate hundreds of jobs across the community.

She continued: “The big advantage of an industry like fishing is the knock-on business that you get.

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“One job at sea is eight jobs on land.

“You have these knock-on businesses like processing, we’re going to need a lot of boats built, and with building ships, you get all types of jobs created.”

Mr Barnier has been facing pressure from France’s President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders whose fishing industries depend on British waters to thrive.

President Macron and Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo have both warned they will not agree to a deal with the UK “at any cost”.

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Mr Macron said: “The preservation of our fishermen in British waters is an essential condition. France will not allow an agreement that does not respect our interests.”

The threat of a veto was once again reiterated on Friday as France’s Europe Minister Clement Beaune said his country will reject an agreement unless it proved to be good for the future interests of the country.

Minister Beaune said: “I want to tell our fishermen, our producers, the citizens who are listening that we will not accept a deal with bad terms.

“If a good agreement cannot be reached, we will oppose it. Each country has a veto right, so it is possible. We will do our own evaluation of this draft deal if there is one.”

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Olivier Leprêtre, the director of the Regional Fisheries Committee, rang the alarm bells for the French fishing industry during a meeting with Prime Minister Jean Castex at the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, one of France’s leading ports.

Mr Leprêtre said: “There must be a deal.

“If there is no deal, whether it’s regional fisheries or the local flotilla, it will be death for sure.”

France and neighbouring Belgium and The Netherlands have been fishing in British waters under European laws since the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973.

The British Government has maintained the controversial limitations the UK fishing communities have been subjected to since joining the bloc will come to an end from January 2021.

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