EU fishermen to be compensated for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit

Published on
March 22, 2019

In order to help mitigate the impact of a “no-deal” Brexit on European Union fisheries, a new regulation will allow member states’ fishermen and operators to receive compensation under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the European Council has confirmed.

The contingency measure is one of a series of new legislative acts adopted by the council in preparation for the United Kingdom’s departure from the E.U. without agreements in place about what the future relationship would look like. The compensation would be to offset the temporary stop of their activities in the event of a sudden closure of U.K. waters to E.U. fishing vessels. 

These new acts are aimed to limit the most severe damage caused by a “disorderly Brexit” in specific sectors where it would create a major disruption for citizens and businesses, the Council said. The measures are temporary in nature, limited in scope and will be adopted unilaterally by the E.U. 

“They are in no way intended to replicate the full benefits of E.U. membership or the terms of any transition period, as provided for in the withdrawal agreement. In some areas, they are conditional upon the U.K.'s reciprocal action,” it said.

Another regulation is aimed at ensuring that the E.U. can grant U.K. vessels access to its waters until the end of 2019, under the condition of reciprocal action by the United Kingdom. It also includes a simplified authorization procedure valid for both parties.

The United Kingdom was initially due to leave the E.U. with or without a deal on 29 March. However, an extension was granted on 22 March, with some conditions. If U.K. parliament agrees to Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal deal – which she negotiated with the E.U. – in a vote next week, the new withdrawal date will be 22 May. However, if May's deal is rejected again – like it already has been twice by an overwhelming majority – the new withdrawal date is 12 April. 

However, that 12 April date has a condition: The U.K. will need to agree to hold European elections on 23 May, something the government initially wasn't planning to do. Things get further complicated by U.K. politics, meaning there's still no clear answer, after two years, for what happens next with Brexit. 



Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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