No agreement with UK without fisheries agreement





No agreement with UK without fisheries agreement
Chris off: The EPP Group says a post-Brexit trade accord the EU and UK are negotiating must include an agreement on fishing rights or it will reject it. The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee is backing a report by the EPP Group’s Francois-Xavier Bellamy which calls for just that. At stake are the livelihoods of EU fishing communities as well as the environment and the fishing stocks they depend on.

The fundamental message of this report, which I wrote taking the opinions of all the other groups so that they really reflect the position of the European Parliament, is that we do not want there to be any agreement with the United Kingdom if there is not a fisheries agreement which allows in the long term, in a balanced and stable way, to continue to share reciprocal access to waters and resources.

GFX : What’s at stake here?

It is in those British waters that about 40 per cent of European fishing takes place, and therefore if we could no longer access these waters and these resources, it would obviously be a considerable loss for European fishermen. That said, the British export a very large part of their product to the European market.

GFX: How is the environment at risk?

For several decades, Europeans have agreed on strict rules to conserve the resource, to avoid a race for volume which lowers the price of fish and destroys marine resources. We managed to get out of this vicious circle.
Today the temptation is great for the British - I can understand it - to get rid of these rules, but it would be irresponsible to endanger in the long term the preservation of the species that we have managed to build together.

What if there is no agreement at year’s end?

We must absolutely remember the importance of this negotiation because it must make it possible to avoid the emergence of tensions, tensions that could take place tomorrow between British fishermen and continental fishermen. We already had it in the last few months, the last few years.

I think in particular of what unfortunately marked scallop fishing in the English Channel, with boats which literally facing off at sea, and I believe that there is here in the long run there are human lives at stake. …And this is what we absolutely must avoid.
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  • Laura Barrios
    EPP TV Assistant Producer