You’re nothing without us! EU faces humbling relegation to fishing support act in no deal

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Panic has set in on the continent over the ramifications of a no deal Brexit on the EU and in particular fisheries. Barrie Deas, Chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, told Express.co.uk the EU is at risk of harming its own rights if it doesn’t back down to the UK. If the EU doesn’t agree to the UK’s demand to retake Britain’s waters, he said talks would continue but in the context of annual negotiations – something Brussels has so far refused. 

In a no deal Brexit, the EU will shrink from a “big player” to a “minor player”, Mr Deas added.

Instead, it will be Norway and the UK who dominate the region with the latter also needing to be included in annual negotiations if the EU fails to agree a deal.

Mr Deas told Express.co.uk: “The EU wants annual negotiations off the table as they have very little negotiating leverage in them, they become a minor player.

“In the North Sea, for example, the EU will only have about a fifth of the Sea area.

“It’ll be to be Norway, and the UK will be the big players.

“Whereas at the moment, the EU can throw its weight around.

“If there’s no deal, then we just start talking again.

“But in the context of annual negotiations and in the context of the North Sea, there would have to be trilateral negotiations with Norway.

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“So the problem for the EU in a no deal doesn’t go away.

“They don’t have access automatic access from first of January.”

The two sides have been deadlocked on the matter of fisheries.

While the UK wants full control of its waters and exclusive economic zone, the EU has pushed for continued access as seen under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

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One proposal put forward by the EU would be to give the UK a return of 15-18 percent of fishing quotas caught within Britain’s waters.

The EU has also floated the possibility of agreeing a long-term agreement which would eventually rescind quotas and access over a period.

As an independent nation, UK officials claimed both proposals would violate Britain’s sovereignty and would defeat the purpose of Brexit.

With the idea of a no deal Brexit looming, Mr Barnier held talks with EU ambassadors this morning.

The meeting was called after French officials expressed concern the EU Commission will drop its red lines on fisheries in order to come to an agreement.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen are desperate for a deal.

Due to that, some states who are reliant on fishing stocks, have expressed concern demands over fisheries will be dropped in pursuit of a wide agreement.

An EU diplomat said today: “Differences still persist on the three main issues.

“A deal still hangs in the balance.”

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