Fishing chief discusses ‘unworkable’ EU legislation
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The UK Government could impose restrictions on imports of mineral water and seed potatoes from the EU under proposals being considered. The EU has secured a temporary agreement to send seed potatoes across the Channel until the end of June.
A Government source revealed ministers are looking at several ways to curtail the EU’s access to Britain’s market.
They told the Sunday Telegraph: “There is thought being given to where we can leverage in other areas.
“We have continuity arrangements… we can stop these which means they won’t be able to sell their produce here.”
Ministers began drawing up plans to hit back at the bloc earlier this month.
The proposals have been dubbed “Water Wars”.
Their move came after the European Commission announced that a ban on exports of live oysters, mussels, clams an scallops from Britain’s class B waters would become permanent.
The Commission said it was taking the action because the UK is now listed as a third country.
Downing Street had previously been under the impression that the restrictions would be lifted on April 21.
Ministers were led to believe that the EU would change its rules to allow imports of un-purified shellfish from non-member states.
But in January the Commission confirmed that the set of restrictions would remain in place indefinitely.
The majority of shellfish caught in British waters is classed as “un-purified” due to a lack of so-called “class A waters” in and around the UK.
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This class refers to the cleanest waters.
And the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the EU was hit by another blow when Brussels snubbed a request from the UK to sit down in a bid to thrash out an agreement.
Stella Kyriakides, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, refused to meet Environment Secretary George Eustice when he requested.
Mr Eustice wanted to discuss ways in which both sides could work together to resolve the spat.
The Prime Minister was reportedly livid at the EU’s response.
On Sunday the Government announced that it will make financial support available to more businesses in the fishing and shellfish industry after they were hit by post-Brexit export problems and low demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers will expand the eligibility criteria to include catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses.
Mr Eustice said: “Our fishermen are at the heart of many of our coastal communities and we recognise the impact of coronavirus and the end of the transition period on them.
“This expansion of our 23-million-pound support package will ensure many more businesses can benefit from government support.”
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