Brexit deal ‘demands’ future ‘compromise’ on fishing says expert
Pierre Karleskind, who is the chairman of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee’s chairman, spoke out as the trade deal agreed by Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier came under scrutiny in Brussels this week.Fishing has been key to Brexit, and the agreements agreed between the UK and the EU guarantee access for EU vessels – including French ones – until 2026.
However, Mr Karlsekind, who is well-known for his hardline stance on the issue, remains highly sceptical.
Speaking today, he said: “On the fisheries file, after five and a half years of transition, what assurance do we have of not being fooled by the British?
“We must understand the reality of the levers we have.”
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Mr Karleskind has spoken out on the issue before.
In October, on the subject of the possibility of annual negotiations to establish fishing quotas, he said avoiding such a situation was “one of our red lines” – while also putting pressure on other members of the EU27 to back France against the UK.
He said: “Who will invest in a fishing boat worth 3 million euros if they don’t know whether they have the right to fish in two years time?”
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Speaking about other member states, he added: “They quickly get back into line as soon as we start talking about it.
“You could ask ‘why should Greece care about fishing in the North Sea?’
“But if we show weakness in the face of claims in the North Sea, what signal are we sending to Turkey in the Mediterranean?”
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He also referenced an article carried by Express.co.uk on Saturday highlighting Jersey’s decision to restrict restricted French vessels from fishing in English Channel waters.
The piece also revealed Mr Karleskind was one of a group of MEPs to write to the European Commission urging them to take note of the situation.
He subsequently tweeted: “Our push to get things moving in the right direction with Jersey has paid off.
“We now need to maintain a lasting and quality relationship with our Anglo-Norman neighbours.”
The letter, also signed by fellow MEPs Stephanie Yon-Courtin, Eric Bothorel, Bertrand Sorre and Stephane Travers and Beatrice Gosselin, said: “The vagueness from Jersey that reigns today is not acceptable.
“With regard to the provisions of article FISH 10, paragraph 3, of the Brexit agreement, we ask you to initiate, as quickly as possible and without waiting for the vote of the European Parliament, with the government of Jersey and in connection with the French and British governments, real negotiations on the concrete implementation of the agreement.
“The centralisation in Brussels of relations, which were until now managed by the national authorities, due to the agreement of the Bay of Granville, leaves the fishing professionals without an interlocutor.”
Concerns have also been raised by the Normandy Regional Fisheries Committee, which claimed the decision would deprive Jersey waters of “many French fishermen”.
Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s External Relations Minister, said: “It has become clear that the transitional arrangements for relevant French vessels that were announced by Jersey in good faith do not satisfy the strict legal requirements of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).”
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