'Brussels is ready to fight any British attempts to renegotiate fishing quotas in the seas around the UK for two years after Brexit - and it appears the May government could be backing down.
EU diplomats agree that Britain should effectively remain governed by the EU’s common fisheries policy (CFP) during the transition period, but should not have a role in deciding the catches elsewhere in Europe. Given that quotas are set in December for the following year, then a two-year transition would mean the CFP would still apply to the UK for two years and nine months up to December 2021.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove claimed last year that the UK would “take back control” of its waters after Brexit by exiting the CFP, which gives member states fishing rights between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the UK’s coastline.
That was a claim reiterated by Prime Minister Theresa May in the Commons. She said: “We will be leaving the European Union on March 29 2019, we will therefore be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy at that date.”
Gove’s confident claim, however, has not been heard since. One EU diplomat believes he may have quietly conceded that the UK will be unable to discuss fishing quotas until the end of the transition period.
The diplomat told the Guardian: “We notice Gove hasn’t repeated that recently. Perhaps he has been reined in, because it isn’t going to happen.”'
Read more: EU plans to keep Britain locked into fish quotas for years after Brexit
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