‘Get used to it’ Lord Frost warned EU to accept UK controls its fishing waters


Brexit is still causing fractures in the relationship between the UK and the EU as Northern Ireland remains a sticking point. Lord Frost warned Brussels last week against “massive and disproportionate retaliation” if the UK decides to unilaterally suspend post-Brexit trade rules. The UK is considering enacting Article 16 – a measure which could mean suspending parts of the Northern Ireland protocol. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his colleagues have argued that the Protocol isn’t working as it currently stands.

Brussels and London have attempted to resolve the dispute, but so far haven’t reached an agreement.

This has also coincided with rising tensions over fishing in recent months.

As France repeatedly clashes with the UK over access to fishing waters, Lord Frost warned the EU in May that its member states must “get used to” the UK controlling its waters.

Lord Frost told Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee that “fishing organisations and so on thought we had agreed five and a half years of no change – that’s not the case”.

He added: “We have the right to regulate our own waters in a totally different way to licence fishing vessels and so on.

“Getting used to that is at the root of some of the difficulties.

“We have licenses for lots of French fishing vessels in fact. I’m sure it will settle down.”

The post-Brexit trade agreement sees British fishermen get 25 percent more fish in its own waters by 2025 than it did pre-Brexit.

This process has begun this year and will continue over the next four years, with regular re-negotiations on quotas occurring from 2025.

In recent weeks, the Channel Island Jersey has been at the centre of French anger over fishing rights.

Some French boats were denied permits to fish in the island’s waters because of difficulty proving they had worked there prior to Brexit.

The UK National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations says that sorting out those legitimate boats from opportunists trying to take advantage of the situation is a normal, technical exercise, adding it is “best done through quiet dialogue and far from excitable politicians”.

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Yesterday, Prime Minister Johnson assured Jersey the UK will stand by it if France goes through with “unjustified” threats around fishing rights.

Mr Johnson met Jersey ministers and “underlined the strength of the UK-Jersey relationship and committed to continue working closely together on issues of mutual importance”, said a Government spokesperson.

They added: “On fishing licences, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his support for Jersey’s approach, which has been reasonable.

“He reiterated that the UK would continue to stand behind Jersey in the event that they were carried through, although he welcomed their deferral and said he hoped that they would be taken off the table permanently.

“Both sides agreed that they would continue to assess new evidence in support of the remaining licence applications and that technical discussions with the EU Commission and France would continue.”


Read More:‘Get used to it’ Lord Frost warned EU to accept UK controls its fishing waters