EU fightback! New plot launched by UK to combat ‘petty’ Brussels shellfish ban
Brexit: UK will 'benefit from control of laws' says Frost
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The position announced by the European Commission last month prevents scallops, clams, cockles, oysters and mussels known as bivalve molluscs from being exported to the bloc unless they are ready for human consumption after being purified. But Mr Eustice pledged today to use a £100million fund to support UK fishermen to build purification sites.
Ministers say the fund will help to modernise fishing fleets, the fish processing industry, and rejuvenate a historic and proud industry in the UK.
The introduction of new checks and paperwork since the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 has also caused disruption to exports of fresh fish and seafood to the EU to the frustration and anger of producers.
The Environment Secretary said they were having conversations with EU member states including French ministers.
Branding the ban “petty” and “indefensible”, Mr Eustice added: “We’ll work with the European Commission to see if we can get this trade unblocked and moving again.
“If though, it’s a change of policy that the EU intend to maintain, the next option for us is to support our own industry.”
The Environment Secretary said the stations would allow traders to purify their shellfish which would then allow them to export the continent.
He continued: “We are having conversations with member states like France and a lot of their restaurants actually want this trade to continue as it’s built around buying shellfish from class B waters that they then depurate on site.”
Mr Eustice added: “It’s already the case that we have taken a more pragmatic approach to this than the EU.”
He concluded by saying the UK Government “didn’t get everything we wanted” in the deal struck on Christmas Eve with the EU but added the deal would significantly benefit Britain.
However, SNP’s Michael Russell, Scotland’s Constitution Secretary, claimed Mr Eustice didn’t think “thoroughly enough” about the ban.
Speaking at Holyrood’s Europe Committee, the Scottish Government minister added: “We now know, for example, that George Eustice was aware of the situation with shellfish.
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“I do not think that the UK walked into this blindly; it knew what it was doing, and it did not think about the effect it would have.
“It is not what was promised to the fishing industry.
“It is a bad agreement in terms of its judgment, and it is a bad agreement in terms of having a professional agreement, because it has lots of holes in it.”
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