Terms agreed for Brexit transition, interim fisheries arrangements

Published on
March 20, 2018

Brexit negotiators have agreed on many of the terms for a time-limited implementation period that they believe will provide greater assurances for businesses and citizens across the European Union and the United Kingdom during the separation process.

A transition period is set to last from 29 March 2019 to December 2020, which David Davis, U.K. secretary of state for exiting the E.U., said gives everyone the time they need to prepare for the future, by ensuring access to each other’s markets continues on current terms.

“Businesses need not delay investment decisions, or rush through contingency plans based on guesses about the future deal,” he said. “Instead they now have certainty about the terms that will apply immediately after our withdrawal. Meaning that they can continue to operate and invest with confidence, as the design of our future partnership with the European Union becomes clear.”

Davis also confirmed that specific safeguards had been agreed with regard to the annual fishing negotiations.

“These arrangements will only apply for the negotiations in 2019, since we will still be a member state for those that take place at the end of this year. Through 2020 we will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms," Davis said. “For the year where it is relevant, we have agreed the European Union will have to consult us ahead of the negotiations. And the United Kingdom’s share of the total catch cannot be changed, protecting the interests of the United Kingdom fishing community."

However, in a statement, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), said the new agreement falls far short of an acceptable deal. 

“We will leave the E.U. and leave the CFP [Common Fisheries Policy], but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later. Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the E.U. for another two years,” he said. “Put simply, we do not trust them to look after us. So we issue this warning to the E.U.: be careful what you do or the consequences later will be severe. To our politicians we say this: some have tried to secure a better deal but our governments have let us down. As a consequence, we expect a written, cast-iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the E.U. continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual coastal states negotiations."

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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