Panic threatens the European Union to push the UK if access to fishing is banned after Britain leaves the European Union
Fishing communities the length and breadth of the UK have repeatedly called for European trawlers to be kicked out after the UK leaves the bloc while fishermen on the continent have threatened to retaliate with a blockade of ports. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating six-month presidency of the EU, made clear the team of negotiators who will kick off talks with Britain after January 31 will push for continued access. Mr Plenkovic said: “We want to avoid any fisheries skirmishes in the Atlantic.
“We have seen them before, we don’t want to see them again.”
During the 1970s a series of cod wars between Britain and Iceland saw UK boats lose access to rich fishing area around the Nordic country.
And last summer saw tensions flare in the English Channel between British fishermen and their French counterparts over scallops.
Boats collided and stones were hurled form one vessel to another in a bitter dispute over the harvesting of the shellfish.
The French accused British boats of plundering their stocks 12 nautical miles off the coast of Normandy.
Being the current holder of the EU presidency means Croatia will head up the post-Brexit talks to thrash out a trade deal before the end of the transition period on December.
Speaking alongside Mr Plenkovic at a press concerned in Zagreb, European Council president Charles Michel backed him up, saying the bloc would “promote and defend” its interests in the discussions.
Earlier in the week Mr Plenkovic told reporters Britain must be sensible with its demands.
“We should adopt a negotiating framework which is inclusive but to approach the negotiations in a realistic manner,” he said.
In November it emerged that Brussels will demand access to British waters in trade deal talks after January 31.