EU fishing outrage: Ursula von der Leyen accused of employing ‘neocolonial’ hold over UK

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European Commission President Ms von der Leyen and the EU operate a “neocolonialist” relationship with the UK over its fishing waters, Express.co.uk has been told. It comes as Britain faced yet another “incredibly frustrating” obstacle after the bloc decided to extend fishing quotas until the summer. In the post-Brexit deal, both sides agreed to jointly set limits each year for fishing their shared stocks.

An initial deadline of March 31 was set for the extension, which Brussels now says is too soon for the “complex” task.

Just one in a string of challenges faced by the UK in reclaiming its waters, the country will now struggle against “exploitative” EU policy, it has been claimed.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations made the charge, telling Express.co.uk that the EU was acting as a “colonial power” towards Britain.

He said: “The EU’s relationship with the UK is neocolonial because it’s exploitative – it’s artificially attached to a trade deal.

“It gives free access to the natural resources of another country for the benefit of the colonial power.

“A trade deal is about trade, and a fishing deal is normally reciprocal, so there’s mutual benefit.

“The EU and Norway have a reciprocal fisheries agreement in which it’s very carefully balanced, using something called cod equivalents.

“But, you look at the relationship between the EU and UK on fisheries, it’s not mutual benefit, it’s exploitative.

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“And so the term neocolonial is an accurate description of the relationship between the UK and the EU.”

On the news that the EU would extend the quota limit, a Whitehall source told Express.co.uk: “It is incredibly frustrating this extension has taken place, we were determined to reach an agreement.

“Just like the Brexit trade deal, however, we need an agreement which respects British sovereignty and we will not back down to Brussels demands.”

Both the UK and the EU have said talks to overcome the issue had been “constructive”.

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However, it stressed that there are “difficult politics to overcome”.

To ensure that the new rules of the deal were enforced, the Government spent more than £2million on policing the country’s waters since January.

Yet, not a single post-Brexit inspection of EU fishing boats has taken place, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The revelation has placed renewed pressure on ministers to take on a tougher stance with the EU’s overfishing.

This is especially true as Brussels moved to ban exports of unpurified live British shellfish from large areas of the UK’s waters into the bloc.

The Government previously insisted that it had been assured that the trade could continue.

Access to one another’s fish stocks became a highly intricate and complicated process in the Brexit divorce negotiations.

In the end, both sides agreed to a gradual drop-off in the quota numbers European fleets can catch in British waters.

This was reached in a 25 percent reduction in value terms after five and a half years.

It comes after Norway, Britain and the EU this month reached a deal on catch limits for jointly managed North Sea fish stocks.

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