Politics

Leaked memo claims EU victory as Boris caved on fishing to secure Brexit trade deal

Brexit: Fishermen criticise Boris Johnson’s ‘unfair’ deal

Diplomats and officials say the Prime Minister gave much more ground than the bloc on fisheries in order to secure the post-Brexit trade and security pact. According to a leaked analysis of the deal, one member state claims the EU has tough mechanisms to ensure Britain doesn’t lock out the bloc’s fishermen after a five-and-a-half-year transition period. Under the Brexit trade agreement, the EU agreed to hand back 25 percent of the fish by value its boats catch in UK waters.

This will be gradually phased in over the transition period before fresh negotiations on access after June 2026.

But the diplomatic memo, seen by Express.co.uk, claims Boris Johnson has made the biggest concession as part of the fishing agreement.

The note says: “On fish, the UK started at 80 percent, the EU 18 percent. It has become 25 percent with a transitional period of five-and-a-half years.

“After five-and-a-half years, it will be renegotiated. If that does not produce sufficient results, the treaty gives the EU the opportunity to take action.

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“First in the field of fish, but ultimately, if necessary, also via an escalation ladder on the entire agreement.”

Unveiling the agreement on Christmas Eve, European Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen insisted the bloc had “strong tools” to maintain access to British waters.

She told reporters: “We have secured five-and-a-half years of full predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivise it to remain so.”

Mr Johnson has ultimately been heavily criticised by UK fishing chiefs for betraying the industry through his Brexit trade deal with Brussels.

The Fishing For Leave campaign group compared the Prime Minister to Ted Heath, who paved the way for Britain to join the EU’s hated Common Fisheries Policy in the 1970s.

Fishing for Leave said: “This deal does not take back control.

“It is a merger of sovereignty – where we will be ruled by joint committees of technocrats from the EU and a europhile Whitehall.”

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The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said the industry had been sacrificed by Mr Johnson.

“In the end-game, the Prime Minister made the call and caved in on fish, despite the rhetoric and assurances,” the group said.

“There will, of course, be an extensive public relations exercise to portray the deal as a fabulous victory, but it will inevitably be seen by the fishing industry as a defeat.”

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Announcing the deal, the Government insisted it reflected the country’s new status as an independent coastal state and provided a significant increase in quota for UK fishermen.

The Government said: “This is £146 million pounds for the UK fleet phased in over five years.

“It ends the dependence of the UK fleet on the unfair relative stability mechanism enshrined in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, and increases the share of the total catch in UK waters taken by UK vessels to circa two-thirds.”

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