Documents considered by the Committee on 8 May 2019 Contents

3Brexit-preparedness: Fisheries

Committee’s assessment

Politically important

Committee’s decision

Cleared from scrutiny; drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Document details

(a) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 as regards fishing authorisations for Union fishing vessels in United Kingdom waters and fishing operations of United Kingdom fishing vessels in Union waters; (b) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 as regards certain rules relating to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union

Legal base

(a) Article 43(2) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV (b) Articles 42 and 43(2) TFEU, ordinary legislative procedure, QMV

Department

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Document Numbers

(a) (40337), 5678/19, COM(19) 49; (b) (40338), 5668/19, COM(19) 48

Summary and Committee’s conclusions

3.1To mitigate the impact on the EU fisheries sector of a “no deal” Brexit scenario, the European Commission published two proposals. The first proposal (document (a)) aimed to ensure that the EU was in a position to grant UK vessels access to EU waters until the end of 2019, on the condition that EU vessels were also granted reciprocal access to UK waters. The second proposal (document (b)) would allow fishermen and operators from EU Member States to receive compensation under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the temporary cessation of fishing activities. This would help off-set some of the impact of a sudden closure of UK waters to EU fishing vessels in a no-deal scenario.

3.2We last considered the proposal at our meeting of 13 March 2019, since when the European Council and the UK have agreed to delay the UK’s withdrawal from the EU until 31 October 2019 at the latest.

3.3We had asked the Government to clarify the European Parliament’s involvement in ratification of any post-Brexit agreement on fishing opportunities and to respond to our earlier queries about arrangements in the event that the UK withdrew from the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019.

3.4The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Rt Hon. Robert Goodwill MP) responded on 26 March. He explained that the European Parliament would—in accordance with Article 218(6) TFEU—be consulted on any legally-binding agreement covering the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities. The Minister confirmed that the UK abstained on both proposals at Council on 19 March and all other Member States voted in favour. The Regulations were therefore adopted and will apply until 31 December 2019.

3.5While the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has been delayed, the UK could still leave the EU without a deal before the end of 2019. In that instance, the provisions of these Regulations would apply for the remainder of 2019. We reiterate our position that disruption to business should be minimised in the event of a no-deal Brexit and that the best way of delivering that objective in the fisheries sector would be to apply the already-negotiated quotas for the whole of 2019.

3.6While the question of needing to ratify an agreement before the European Parliament sits again after its election is most likely now redundant, we note that the European Parliament would need to give its consent—rather than only being consulted—should any agreement go beyond matters covered in Article 43(3) TFEU (i.e. beyond the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities).

3.7We clear the proposals from scrutiny and require no further information. We shall continue to monitor the Government’s Brexit preparations in the fisheries sector through our scrutiny of relevant documents. This chapter is drawn to the attention of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

Full details of the documents

(a) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 as regards fishing authorisations for Union fishing vessels in United Kingdom waters and fishing operations of United Kingdom fishing vessels in Union waters: (40337), 5678/19, COM(19) 49; (b) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 as regards certain rules relating to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund by reason of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union: (40338), 5668/19, COM(19) 48.

Previous Committee Reports

Fifty-ninth Report HC 301–lvii (2017–19), chapter 2 (13 March 2019); Fifty-seventh Report HC 301–lvi (2017–19), chapter 5 (6 March 2019); Fifty-fifth Report HC 301–liv (2017–19), chapter 3 (13 February 2019).





Published: 14 May 2019