Furious UK fishermen issue final warning to Boris – ‘Deal has to be on OUR terms!’
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UK fisheries have issued a last-ditch warning to Boris Johnson ahead of a crunch EU deadline this week for a Brexit deal. Boris Johnson had previously set himself a deadline of October 15 to reach a deal with the EU – otherwise the two sides “should both move on”. Leading figures in Scottish fishing have this week urged Boris Johnson to call Brussels’ bluff following France’s threat to stop the UK exporting its fish to the UK.
Brian Buchan, a Scottish fishing skipper who has fished in the North Sea for four decades, warned Mr Johnson ahead of this week’s deadline.
He told Al Jazeera: “It has got to be on our terms.
“What we’re meant to catch, what we decide and when. It shouldn’t be a free-for-all.”
Elspeth MacDonald, CEO of Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, echoed this: “We have some of the best fisheries in the world in UK waters.”
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She added: “For 40 years we have been giving those fish away. The majority of those fish are caught by other nations. We shouldn’t be doing that.”
Even the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs on Tuesday that Mr Johnson needed to offer Scottish fishermen an opportunity to develop fisheries in their own waters, in light of the growing independence movement in Scotland.
However, France is maintaining its stubborn stance on fish, as Emmanuel Macron refuses to back down from his demand for the status quo to be maintained.
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, admitted that any loss for French fishermen is seen as too politically toxic for the government.
France has warned that any losses for European fishermen in British waters should be returned by taking away UK rights to EU waters, and blocking UK fish exports to the bloc.
However, Jimmy Buchan, a fish processing company owner in Peterhead, claimed the Prime Minister should call out the French bluff.
He said: “Do the people in the EU want it? Of course they do, that’s why they buy our fish.
“People are the market. Politicians can make all the barriers they want but the people want the fish and they are prepared to pay the right price for it.”
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Boris Johnson has spoken out about his disappointment that more progress had not been made during Brexit talks.
He had a phone call late last night with president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and president of the European Council Charles Michel.
Mrs von der Leyen said the EU wanted a deal, “but not at any price”.
Downing Street said that Mr Johnson will decide on the “next steps” for post-Brexit trade talks after the EU summit this week.
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