While the progress is real in other areas, fishing remains the main bone of contention between the european negotiators and the british at the end of a weekend of intense discussions between Michel Barnier and his counterpart David Frost. And yet, the european Union has made an effort in the licensor, for the last several weeks, a restriction of 15% to 18% of his catches in the exclusive economic zone of the British. In return, the european boats would still be allowed ; the agreement would cover several years (10 years ?) in order to ensure a predictable economic for european fishermen and a capacity to invest.
But for the time being, Boris Johnson does not want to hear. He considers that british sovereignty must prevail absolutely, and would not be ready as an annual license with the european fishermen. "It is technically impossible. You can't renegotiate an agreement relating to a hundred species each year, " repeated in Brussels. Of course, if the Europeans restrict, even small, that they catch in british waters, the reciprocal must be true, and the british vessels will also need to make the field...
overfishing denounced in a european report
The British could advantageously be based on a recent report of the european Court of auditors, which highlights the bankruptcy of the common fisheries policy in the preservation of maritime species. The fishing quotas have not led to the regeneration of sufficient ecosystems and critical marine habitats. It must be said that some 3,000 marine protected areas represent only... 1 % of the surface waters of the EU. The legislation has more than a quarter of a century and does not take into account the latest scientific knowledge. Overfishing still exists, especially in the Mediterranean. In the Atlantic, it's a little better, consider the report which has focused mainly on four countries (Italy, France, Spain and Portugal).
anyway, the proposal of the european fisheries will be met without a doubt sour on the French side. The fishermen don't want anything to restrict their access to british waters. They questioned the legitimacy in the name of customary law that preceded it by several centuries the common fisheries policy. The government Macron, both through Annick Girardin, minister delegate to the Fisheries, through the words of Henrik jensen (secretary of State for european Affairs), is committed to support and continue the battle, even beyond the 1st of January, the deadline from which the British will leave the single market.
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The British also seem to be in any way pressed for time and not too concerned about the time required for parliamentary ratification of this wide-ranging agreement on the future relations. Observers, however, believe that Boris Johnson has a political calendar in mind, and will seek to surf on the good news déconfinant his country, and then announcing an agreement with the EU.
The car manufacturers are of stocks
The other british sectors that will be impacted are concerned. As the automobile sector, which, in the case of " no deal ", fears the establishment of the customs tariffs of 10 %, according to the regime of the WTO. Upstream of the 1st of January, the automotive manufacturers have accumulated additional inventory of cars and spare parts in the United Kingdom.
An agreed text to 98 %
At this stage, while the legal text is secure to 98 %, it's up to Boris Johnson to make a political choice : to hold onto the european continent in good faith, accept the rules of the game, and remain a country of great shopping with its neighbours in continental. Or, to break this closeness with the EU and turn to other international partners to compensate for this, both good and bad, the increase in tariffs that british consumers will suffer, at least in a first time.
However, the international situation has changed with the election of Joe Biden and the start of his so-called ally, Donald Trump. Biden intends to renew a partnership more successful with Europe, and will be uncompromising vis-à-vis the British as to the protection of the peace agreement in Ireland. The british Prime minister, if he wants to normalize its relations with the democratic administration, will therefore have to revise its law on the internal market and clean up the clause that allows London to not respect international agreements. There will be no free trade agreement with the EU if this clause were to be maintained...
The conflict resolution mechanism comes up against the fishing
The european Union expects, finally, that Boris Johnson does not to it in terms of conflict resolution. A good agreement can only be based on the word given, it requires a precise mechanism for the resolution of conflicts with suspension cross-provisions in the event of breach by one of the parties. For the time being, Johnson denies that this mechanism applies to the area of the fishery. It is a key issue that is blocking, there also, any overall agreement at this stage.
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For the rest, but on the condition that the barriers above are removed, the EU has therefore proposed that the trade of property is subject to no tariff and no quota in agreeing on the customs facilities. With regard to services, the chapter dedicated to public procurement has been finalized. The financial services are not part of the agreement, as the EU will decide unilaterally whether or not the equivalence of financial to the City. On the other hand, the protection of geographical indications is still in discussion.
The positive influence of the bride of Johnson
as regards the single energy market, the British here are seekers. This allows Michel Barnier to operate a lever that is equivalent to fishing for London. The negotiators agreed on the safety of nuclear power (Euratom). A basic agreement was reached on cooperation in the field of air transportation, aviation safety, and road transport. But access to the "single european Sky" remains subject to the acceptance of the " level playing field ".
On 11 tables of negotiations, some are not related to the economy, but areas of peerage. Progress has been made in the area of judicial and police cooperation, as well as on the mobility and the coordination of social security. The British wish to participate in some european programs. Everything will depend on the concessions they will make on issues that block. The question is not yet decided whether the future partnership will be a mixed agreement or of the exclusive competence of the EU. The ratification process would then be simplified, since, in the second hypothesis, only the Council and the european Parliament would be called upon to decide, and not the national parliaments.
The Europeans, who camped on their positions for months, are now waiting for the last "moved" to London. The role of Carrie Symonds, companion to "BoJo" in the elimination of brexiteurs the more doctrinaire in the entourage of the Prime minister gives a few glimmers of hope in Brussels.