It is still not clear whether European fishermen will be able to enter British waters next year. Dominic Raab, the British Foreign minister, still called fishing “the greatest bone of contention” in the Brexit negotiations on Sunday. These negotiations are now in hurry: the European Union and the United Kingdom have until 1 January to reach a deal.
Since day one of the Brexit negotiations, fishing has been one of the biggest problems. The UK wants to be seen as a sovereign nation after 1 January. According to the British, it includes more control over their own waters and which fishing boats they may or may not allow there.
European fishermen depend on these waters to fill their nets. The EU therefore wants European fishermen to be allowed to continue to catch as much fish as possible in British waters. This is, therefore, at odds with the negotiations.
‘It is a matter of principle: if we leave the EU once and for all, we are an independent coastal state. We must be able to manage our own waters as such. The question now is: Can the EU accept this question of principle?”, says the British minister.
Raab’s statements follow on from a compromise proposal from Brussels. In this proposal, the EU would catch 15% to 18% less fish from British waters from 1 January. That proposal was quickly swept off the table by the British. “That doesn’t sound right, does it?”, Raab wondered.