April 23, 2021

Brexit fishing row: UK ‘must defend its waters’ as bitter MEP turns on EU

express– The EU and UK are still no closer to securing a trade pact, with Government insiders claiming the chances of no deal being reached currently at around 80 percent. Mr Johnson has made it his personal mission to take control of talks, discussing pathways through with the likes of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, but other leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel did not accept his request to talk. Ms Merkel is currently being blamed for the lack of progress in the talks, as sources claim she is “determined to make Britain crawl across broken glass” as opposed to reaching an agreement.

Talks will be concluded, one way or another, today, with some observers still hopeful that a breakthrough can be made over the current sticking points.

Among them is fishing rights, with the UK wanting to “take back control” of its waters, while nations such as France and the Netherlands demand access to fish.

While many inside the bloc are outraged at the UK’s stance, Finnish MEP, Laura Huhtasaari told European Parliament that it was now time for the UK to look after itself and achieve Brexit.

The eurosceptic begged Mr Johnson to take back control of its waters in a stinging attack on Brussels.

She said: “I have a dream. I want all member states to do Brexit. As European People’s Party president Manfred Weber has put it, if Brexit felt like a success, it would be the beginning of the end of the EU.

“So that reveals that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it means that the EU has not even been trying to be fair.”

She added: “I have a message for Boris Johnson – defend your fishing waters. You have now an opportunity to take your sovereignty back. Use it.”

The UK will send four Royal Navy vessels across Britain’s territorial waters should negotiators from the UK and EU fail to agree a trade deal.

The move was heavily criticised by some MPs, including those within the Government, with the ships to patrol the English Channel and Irish Sea, in a bid to stop illegal fishing if no deal is made between the parties.

Talks could go past today if enough progress has been made, but Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen both agreed that a decision on this would be made on Sunday.

But both had recently suggested that no deal, which would see the UK trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, is the most likely outcome.

Prime Minister Johnson said: “What I’ve said to our negotiators is that we’ve got to keep going, and we’ll go the extra mile – and we will.

“And I will go to Brussels, I will go to Paris, I will go to Berlin, I will go to wherever to try and get this home and get a deal.

“What I told the Cabinet this evening is to get on and make those preparations. We’re not stopping talks, we’ll continue to negotiate but looking at where we are I do think it’s vital that everyone now gets ready for that Australian option [no deal].”

But the EU’s wishes over fishing were condemned by Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen MP, who told Express.co.uk that agreeing a pact over the waters was absurd.

He added: “It’s like someone renting a property off you, terminating the agreement, and then demanding they keep 80 percent of the back garden.

“Who is going to agree to that? That’s not how it works. It’s absurd.

“There is no court in the world the EU could go to that would uphold their right to keep our sovereign fishing grounds after the EU.”


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