Germany Laments ‘Painful Cuts’ for Fishing Sector in Brexit Deal

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German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner warned of “painful cuts” for the European Union’s fishing industry due to the trade deal the bloc has reached with the United Kingdom.

Fishing was one of the most contentious issues in the Brexit talks that concluded Thursday, and the agreement means the EU’s share of the catch in U.K. waters will fall by 25% over a period of five-and-a-half years. During that time reciprocal access rights remain unchanged.

Kloeckner, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said she would have liked the cuts to be “significantly lower” while pledging support for the sector.

“It is all the more important that the agreement provides for a transitional period, with defined quota regulations and guaranteed access to fishing grounds,” Kloeckner said in an emailed statement.

“This gives at least a certain degree of planning security,” she added. “But it is also clear that we must support the fishermen and give them a hand in this difficult situation. Looking to 2026, it will be important to find a long-term solution.”

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said Friday the fishing accord is “a difficult effort, but acceptable and doable,” while maintaining that the EU must not go beyond the agreed 25%.

“We have ways of applying pressure to ensure -- I hope, and we’ll fight for it -- that access will be maintained,” Beaune said on Europe1 radio. France will support the fishing sector with several tens of millions of euros as long as necessary, he added.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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