Cod War alert: British fishermen could face battles with EU trawlers after Brexit
Jan. 10, 2020
BRITAIN could find itself embroiled in another ‘cod war’ after Brexit if it expels foreign boats from its waters, the European Union has warned.
Fishing communities the length and breath of the UK have repeatedly called for European trawlers to be kicked out after the UK leaves the bloc while fishermen on the continent have threatened to retaliate with a blockade of ports.Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU, made clear the team of negotiators who will kick off talks with Britain after January 31 will push for continued access. Mr Plenkovic told The Telegraph: “We want to avoid any fisheries skirmishes in the Atlantic.
“We have seen them before, we don’t want to see them again.”
During the 1970 a series of cod wars between Britain and Iceland saw UK boats lose access to rich fishing are around the Nordic country.
And last summer saw tensions flare in the English Channel between British fishermen and their French counterparts over scallops.
Boats collided and stones were hurled form one vessel to another in a bitter dispute over the harvesting of the shellfish.
The French accused British boats of plundering their stocks 12 nautical miles off the coast of Normandy.
Being the current holder of the EU presidency means Croatia will head up the post-Brexit talks to thrash out a trade deal before the end of the transition period on December.
Speaking alongside Mr Plenkovic at a press concerned in Zagreb, European Council president Charles Michel backed him up, saying the bloc would “promote and defend” its interests in the discussions.
Earlier in the week Mr Plenkovic told reporters Britain must be sensible with its demands.
“We should adopt a negotiating framework which is inclusive but to approach the negotiations in a realistic manner,” he said.
In November it emerged that Brussels will demand access to British waters in trade deal talks after January 31.
One EU diplomat warned the first meeting will “be the day that reality hits home” for the British.
Ursula von der Leyen has said the UK will fin itself in an “impossible” position if it thinks all aspects of a deal can be finalised before the end of the year.
Speaking at the London School of Economics this week before meeting Boris Johnson, the president of the European Commission cast doubt on his timetable for an agreement defining the long-term post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU.
“The transition time is very, very tight ... so it is basically impossible to negotiate all that I have been mentioning, so we will have to prioritise,” she said.
The Prime Minister has ruled out extending the transition period beyond December 31, although his spokesman said trade talks did not need to be completed all at once.
Mr Johnson has said he will not seek a deal based on close alignment with EU rules.
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