EU Offers UK 18% of Fish Value Caught on British Waters
The European Union (EU) has offered the United Kingdom (UK) an 18% return of the value of fish caught in British waters as part of the proposed free trade agreement that the two parties are struggling to strike before the end of the transition period.
According to a report from the Irish media agency RTE News, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier would fly to London to discuss the matter personally with his counterpart David Frost.
This despite saying that the “same significant divergences persist.”
On average, European vessels catch 650 million euros worth of fish from UK waters every year. The amount would give worth 117 million euros to the UK fish industry.
The issues that remained unresolved still revolve around fisheries, governance, and the so-called level playing field.
It can be learned that negotiations were further deferred after a member of Barnier’s negotiating team tested positive for coronavirus disease-2019. In line with Belgian rules, Barnier’s team underwent isolation while talks have switched to video conference calls.
In a Twitter post, Frost said insisted that a deal was still possible, despite UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying earlier that the UK would survive without a trade deal.
“It is my job to do my utmost to see if the conditions for a deal exist. It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t,” Frost said.
“But for a deal to be possible it must fully respect UK sovereignty,” he added.
Frost underscored that the deal has practical consequences which include controlling borders and fishing waters, as well as deciding on a robust and principled subsidy control system.
“We look to reach an agreement on this basis, allowing the new beginning to our relationship with the EU which, for our part, we have always wanted. We will continue to work hard to get it – because an agreement on any other basis is not possible,” Frost said.
It can be learned that Britain officially withdrew its membership with the EU on January 31 but continues to follow the latter’s rules until the end of the year.
Should there be no agreement made, trade between the two parties will automatically follow the rules of the World Trade Organization, where tariffs will be imposed on each other’s goods and will push up costs for both firms and consumers.
Photo from Flickr