Brexit bombshell: France and Spain join forces to warn of deal veto amid fisheries row
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Brexit negotiations have been progressing tentatively as the UK and the European Union repeatedly failed to reach an agreement on a series of contentious issues, including fisheries. At the end of the ninth round of talks, London and Brussels reiterated an agreement can be struck before the end of the transition period in December 2020. But fishermen from France and Spain have now warned they will push their governments to “veto” any deal should the level of access to British waters they have now change.
Etienne Dachicourt, the director of the Etaploise Maritime Cooperative, insisted France will not hesitate to “strike back” should they be knocked out of UK waters.
Mr Dachicourt said: “English fishermen need to understand that today if you enter into a difficult conflict, when you strike a blow, the other has the tendency to hit back.
“And so the risk is that we enter into a conflict in the profession.
“It’s not good, it’s good for no one.”
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Similar threats have been moved by Jose Basilio Otero, the president of the National Federation of Fishermen of Spain.
Mr Otero admitted the lack of agreement has pushed concern among fishermen to “a maximum” as he warned they are ready to demand a veto on any deal with the United Kingdom.
He said: “We needed an agreement on October 1 to outline the new situation beginning on January 1.
“But at the moment there’s nothing so concern is at a maximum level.
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“If there’s no agreement, we will ask the government to veto the deal.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has been adamant fishermen across the north of his country must be able to have access to British waters at the end of the transition period.
Despite ongoing attempts from EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to broker a deal, French fishing minister Annick Girardin confirmed fishermen across France are now preparing for no deal.
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Ms Girardin said: “Fishermen would rather have no agreement than a bad agreement.
“We are preparing for all eventualities, and therefore also for a no-deal.”
Europe Minister Clement Beaune also warned the French Government is prepared to go down the wire to ensure access to fisheries is protected after Brexit.
Mr Beaune said: “We must not lose our calm in the final days of negotiations because that is when you sometimes make bad concessions, bad compromises.”
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