Given the continued uncertainty in the UK surrounding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Commission has today adopted two legislative proposals to help mitigate the significant impact that a “no-deal” Brexit would have on EU fisheries.

This is part of the Commission’s ongoing preparedness and contingency work and will help ensure a coordinated EU-wide approach in such a scenario.

The first proposal is to allow fishermen and operators from EU Members States to receive compensation under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the temporary cessation of fishing activities. This will help off-set some of the impact of a sudden closure of UK waters to EU fishing vessels in a no-deal scenario.

The second proposal amends the Regulation on the Sustainable Management of the External Fleets. The aim of this proposal is to ensure that the EU is in a position to grant UK vessels access to EU waters until the end of 2019, on the condition that EU vessels are also granted reciprocal access to UK waters. The proposal also provides for a simplified procedure to authorise UK vessels to fish in EU waters and EU vessels to fish in UK waters – should the UK grant that access. This proposal is limited to 2019 and is based on the agreement in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 17 and 18 December 2018 on the fishing opportunities for 2019.

These contingency measures cannot mitigate the overall impact of a “no-deal” scenario, nor do they in any way replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. They are limited to these specific areas where it is absolutely necessary to protect the vital interests of the EU and where preparedness measures on their own are not sufficient. As a rule, they will be temporary in nature, limited in scope and adopted unilaterally by the EU.

These proposals are subject to the co-decision procedure. The Commission will work with the European Parliament and the Council to ensure the adoption of the proposed legislative acts so that they are in force by 29 March 2019.