Great Britain

Fishing war: Brexit battle as FIVE EU states team up to force Boris U-turn

Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands will “remain united” in their position that coastal communities across the continent must be protected under any post-Brexit free trade deal. Boats from the five nations have benefitted massively from fishing in Britain’s rich waters and as trade talks enter the final phase leaders are wary of losing access.

Ireland’s marine minister Charlie McConalogue touched on the contentious issue of fishing rights as he addressed the Brexit Stakeholder Consultative Committee.

He noted his recent bilateral meetings with fisheries ministers from the other four nations at this week’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg.

He said it is vital that the five countries support each other in their tough fishing stance.

Mr McConalogue said: “As we reach a critical point in the negotiations, I highlighted that, now more than ever, it is vital that member states continue to remain united in order to protect the EU’s fishing industry and coastal communities.

brexit fishing news

Five EU nations, including Ireland and France, have teamed up on a call for fishing rights (Image: GETTY)

brexit fishing news

Michel Barnier arrives in London for talks (Image: GETTY)

“Unity, co-operation and solidarity between member states are vital at this critical juncture.”

As Lord Frost and Mr Barnier got to work on thrashing out a deal this morning, Ireland’s foreign minister said he believed Britain and Brussels could reach an agreement with the resumption of discussions.

However, Simon Coveney added the issues of fair competition and fisheries hampering an accord were "still very much there".

He added: "When we got a deal done this time last year, a lot of people were predicting that there would be a no-deal Brexit.

READ MORE: Von der Leyen to meet Rutte as tensions over fishing near crunch point

brexit fishing news

The EU's chief negotiator chose a mask with the EU flag for his London trip (Image: GETTY)

brexit fishing news

Boris Johnson has said the UK must take back control of its waters (Image: GETTY)

brexit fishing news

David Frost arrives for talks on Friday (Image: GETTY)

Despite being optimistic about a deal, he admitted that both sides remained "miles apart" on fishing.

The chief Brexit negotiators will tackle the thorny issue during their talks today after Mr Barnier said both sides would need to compromise for a deal to be reached.
Fishing rights remains the main bone of contention after some progress on competition guarantees including state aid rules were made in previous talks.

brexit fishing news

EU countries most reliant on the UK for fishing (Image: EXPRESS)

Boris Johnson has insisted on taking back control over British waters while the EU wants continued access to the fishing waters.
Asked if there would be a deal, junior finance minister Stephen Barclay said: "I hope so."

He added: "But that deal needs to reflect that fact that we're leaving the EU, we will regain control of our fisheries.”

brexit fishing news

Lord Frost will discuss fishing rights with Mr Barnier on Friday (Image: GETTY)

At a briefing with diplomats in Brussels on Wednesday, Mr Barnier said he was only worried about fish, one person who participated in the closed-door meeting said.

The diplomat said: "Fish is now the thing to tackle.

“The other elements seem doable, more or less.”

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