Eurocrats have vowed to strike up a “specific arrangement with the United Kingdom” to secure the bloc’s trawlermen guaranteed access to our waters. The European Commission has warned that European vessels face an immediate ban from British on November 1 in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Brussels-based executive has drawn up a so-called “contingency regulation” to allow to handle authorisation requests for EU boats to access UK waters.
In a stark warning, a paper warns: “The Commission reiterates the importance of a coordinated approach of the EU27 member states to prepare for the possibility that EU vessels no longer have access to UK waters.”
Officials are ready to financially prop up fishing firms to help mitigate the impact of being barred from British waters – but said this would only be a “temporary” measure.
Instead, eurocrats will focus on striking a deal that allows EU boats into the UK’s fishing territories.
The Commission says: “If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without an agreement on October 31, the implications on setting fishing opportunities for 2020 will need to be considered the the appropriate moment.”
This is “including a specific arrangement with the United Kingdom in accordance with international law and obligations and based on scientific advice”, the bloc adds.
After a no-deal Brexit, the EU will lose its access to UK fishing waters under international law.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, European vessels would not be allowed to access third country waters without an agreement in place.
Brussels will want to strike a deal that offers reciprocal access to both UK and EU fishing boats hoping to gain access to both parties’ territories.
Brexiteer Tory MP Owen Paterson said Brussels’ desire for a fisheries deal would hand Britain a “strong bargaining position”.
He said: “If we are deadly serious about pursuing no deal, although our preferred option is to leave with an agreement, it gives us a strong bargaining position, not just with fish.
“That’s what we campaigned on to take back control – and by threatening to leave without a deal, it hands us a strong negotiating position.”
Brussels has ramped up its warnings amid fears as Tory leadership frontrunner, Boris Johnson, runs on a platform to leave on October 31 – with or without a deal.
EU officials warned of “significant disruption” and a “serious negative economic impact” if we leave without an agreement.
The shock paper insisted no deal “very much remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome” because of the “political situation” in the UK.
The Commission said: “In a no-deal scenario, the UK will become a third country without any transitional arrangements.
“This will obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses and would have a serious negative economic impact, which would be proportionally much greater in the UK than in the EU.”
At the launch of his leadership campaign today, Mr Johnson said: ““After three years and two missed deadlines, we must leave on October 31.
“I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome. I don’t think we will end up with any such thing. But it is only responsible to prepare for one.”
He added: “We simply will not get a result if we give the slightest hint that we want to go on kicking the can down the road with yet more delay.
“Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn. Kick the can and we kick the bucket.
“With every week and month that goes by in which we fail to deliver on our promise I am afraid we will further alienate not just our natural supporters but anyone who believes that politicians should deliver on their promises.”