Dutch Fishing Industry Weighs Up ‘Catastrophic’ Cost of No-Deal Brexit

Dutch Fishing Industry Weighs Up ‘Catastrophic’ Cost of No-Deal Brexit.

As Britain and the European Union reached yet another stalemate on Brexit negotiations on Friday after “significant divergences” Dutch businesses have called on negotiators to reach a last-minute deal to avoid a “disaster.” EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord David Frost said in a joint statement that they were putting discussions on “pause” to allow political leaders to take stock.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will hold crunch talks on Saturday as conditions for a deal had still not been met. While both sides have agreed on most things, some issues remain unsolved and the clock is ticking on to get a deal through the door before the UK leaves EU trading rules on 31 December.

Crucially, the UK and EU have failed to solve their differences on key sticking points including fishing rights, the governance and a level playing field. While fishing plays a small part in the UK and French economies, it carries a political weight on both sides of the Channel.

Without an agreement on fisheries, both sides could walk away from the table without a deal. A move which jeopardises EU and British fishermen. According to the BBC, in England, more than half the quota is in foreign hands, with more than 60% of the overall tonnage hauled from British waters caught by foreign boats.

Dutch industry bodies, VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland have also expressed worries over a no-deal agreement. “It is important for Dutch fisheries that clear agreements are made about fishing rights giving them continued access to British waters,” a VNO-NCW spokesman said. He added: “It is also important to have clarity at a stroke, rather than an agreement that is revised on a yearly basis. A no-deal Brexit would have huge consequences for Dutch business life.”

The Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers notes Britain as one of the Netherlands’ top five trading partners. According to figures by Statistics Netherlands, exported goods and services were worth €28.3bn (£25bn, $34.3bn) in 2019.


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Tony Winterburn

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