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EU Demands UK Surrenders Territorial Waters


The European Union is refusing to discuss a treaty on fishing unless the United Kingdom abandons its claim of full sovereignty over its own territorial waters.

Currently, under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), fishermen from the EU27 land more than 60 per cent of fish in Britain’s waters. The French, for example, are legally allowed to catch 84 per cent of the cod in the English Channel and two-thirds of British Irish Sea haddock. While the UK wants to take back full control of its territorial waters and agree on annual fishing licences with EU countries, Brussels is demanding long-term pledges.

“The EU has always said that fishing is a key issue for resolution but has subsequently declined to discuss it,” a source said on Tuesday.

“We had hoped to make progress and presented room papers but, unfortunately, the EU refused to engage due to their self-imposed requirements,” he added, in reference to the EU’s policy on “parallelism”, where Barnier will not talk on single issues unless the UK makes significant concessions to the bloc.

France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, complained that the UK reasserting full national sovereignty while still seeking a deal with the protectionist European Union was “unrealistic”. He said on Monday: “Negotiations are not advancing due to the intransigent and frankly unrealistic attitude of the UK.”

In June, British fishermen revealed they anticipate the government will refuse to back down, resulting in clashes with French fishermen in the Channel, akin to other skirmishes in recent years.