Brexit FURY: Britons outraged as Barnier demands EU access to UK waters – ‘Our fish!’

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The EU’s chief negotiator has continuously lashed out at the UK over the lack of progress being made in post-Brexit trade talks, describing Britain’s position on fishing as “simply unacceptable”. The UK is set to leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – which is governed by Brussels and sets out rules and quotas for fishing across the bloc – at the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020. The controversial CFP allows each EU member state to control an area of sea extending 12 miles out from their coastline, with the rest of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) shared.

Britons have reacted furiously to the demands from Mr Barnier, and have told him to back down over fishing rights for the EU in post-Brexit trade talks with UK counterpart David Frost.

Reacting to the story on Facebook, one person said: “Barnier still treating the UK as if we haven’t left.

“His demands no longer work. David Frost is right to stand for what is rightfully ours.”

A second reader warned: “During the Brexit process and when the EU believed we wouldn’t leave, they made us dance to their tune and treated us with total contempt.

“They had the power purely because of Remainers giving them the confidence to stand firm.

“Now they are the on the back foot and they know ultimately they will have to dance to our tune and they hate it.”

Another outraged reader wrote: “He is threatening US with No Deal if we don’t back down?

“Hasn’t he figured out if he accepts our terms the EU gets some fishing on an annually renewable licence.

“If we leave on WTO term they get NOTHING.

“Our Waters, Our Fish, NOT the EU’s.”

The furious reaction to Mr Barnier’s demands come after Barrie Deas, CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, warned the EU’s chief negotiator the bloc’s “exploitative relationship” over the past 40 years with UK waters is coming to an end.

The latest round of Brexit talks in London between the UK and EU came to an end on Thursday, with outstanding issues remaining in several areas, including fishing, governance and trade.

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A Government report in 2015 found EU vessels caught 683,000 tonnes of fish worth £484million in UK waters.

But UK boats only caught 111,000 tonnes worth £114million revenue in EU member states’ waters.

Mr Deas told “The changed legal position at the end of the transition period is that EU and UK vessels no longer have automatic access to each other’s waters.

“Access will have to be negotiated as part of annual fisheries negotiations, along with appropriate quota shares.

“The EU fleets fish around six times much in UK waters as UK vessels fish in EU waters and to obtain access to UK waters in the future will have to agree to quota shares which more closely reflect the resources in UK waters.

“Understandably, Michel Barnier does not like this but the fact is that the UK has been trapped in an asymmetric and exploitative relationship with the EU on fisheries for 40 years and that is about to end.”

Following the conclusion of the latest round of negotiations, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said the “UK has not shown the same level of engagement and readiness to find solutions” on the role European Court of Justice, UK laws and fishing.

He also warned the current proposal would totally exclude EU fishermen from UK waters.

Mr Barnier said: “The UK is effectively seeking for near-total exclusion of fishing vessels from the UK’s water.”

UK counterpart David Frost insisted Britain would not be backing down.

He called on the EU to treat the UK like an “independent state” or risk a no deal Brexit scenario.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator said: “Until the EU has internalised and accepted that we will be an independent state with the right to determine our laws, control our own fishing grounds then it will be difficult to reach an agreement.”

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