The penny has finally dropped with the French government as to potential consequences of a No Deal Brexit, with the French fishing industry set to take a huge hit if the UK leaves without an agreement.
As Westmonster’s Michael Heaver wrote about earlier today, the EU have now proposed ‘reciprocal’ fisheries access in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Of course they have – EU fleets land eight times more fish from UK waters than the other way round. The UK taking back control of an exclusive 200-mile zone would devastate the French fishing industry and mark an economic revolution for Britain’s long-suffering fishermen operating in coastal towns.
In a remarkable report for Bloomberg, it has now come to light that the French envoy has told the European Commission and Ambassadors from the 26 EU countries that up to 70% of French workers in areas dominated by the fishing industry would be hit if the UK leaves the EU with No Deal.
Two diplomats have confirmed that France repeatedly raised the issue of the damage a No Deal would have. Daniel Fasquelle, a Member of the National Assembly of France, has said: “A hard Brexit would be a catastrophe for French fishing. For my fishermen, between 50% and 70% of their fishing zone is in British waters. They leave port and within a few miles are in British waters.
“In the case of a hard Brexit, they get back full sovereignty of their waters and block our boats.”
— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) January 25, 2019
With Emmanuel Macron already facing nationwide ‘Yellow Vest’ protests, the last thing the French government needs are fishermen hit heavily by a UK totally free to take back full, unilateral control of its fishing waters this year.
Brexit Britain still has massive leverage in these negotiations. The British government must demand that the backstop is binned and that other changes are made, or the UK will be taking back control with a WTO Brexit.