DUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed met up with Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs in Dublin on Tuesday.
The pair met to discuss and share concerns about the potential serious impacts for Irish and French fishing fleets if they were excluded from UK waters in a no deal Brexit situation. They agreed Ireland and France needed to work together with other EU countries Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden, which will also be impacted, and the European Commission to tackle the fallout.
"The meeting served to confirm our shared concerns and understanding of the serious issues that could arise in the event that the EU fishing fleet are denied access to UK waters. Both the Irish and the French fleets have a heavy reliance on fisheries in UK waters and lack of access would adversely impact on both fleets," Creed said. "We both agreed that our strong desire was that the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU will be ratified and that negotiations will commence on the overall future relationship during the proposed Transition period.
The value of the French landings from the UK zone amounts to 170 million a year annually while Irelands landings from the UK zone is some 85m. Both Ministers discussed issues that may arise from a disorderly Brexit and both emphasised the importance of an EU27 co-ordinated plan to mitigate possible adverse impacts.
"I agreed with Minister Le Drian that it is essential that the EU fisheries impacted Member States - Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden work together, with the EU Commission taking a leadership role, to prepare mitigation measures to be ready to support our fishing industry if we face exclusion from the UK zone," Creed continued. "I was pleased that French Minister Le Drian shared my analysis and assured me that France is committed to strong and proactive engagement to prepare for this scenario which we both hope can be avoided.
Creed also raised the issue of Irish Exporters use of the UK land-bridge and sought assurances that Irish exporters would not be disadvantaged due to the transit of goods via the UK. The issue of maximising opportunities for live cattle exports was also raised with specific reference to the provision of facilities in France for use by exporters.