The European Council announced a draft political declaration setting out the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union had been agreed Thursday morning.
The paper is an agreement in principle and comes hours after the Prime Minister returned from Brussels, where she had flown to work on the Brexit deal Wednesday afternoon, and returned from apparently empty-handed. The document is part of the broader agreement that the UK and EU are expected to ratify this weekend with the agreement of national leaders.
European Council president Donald Tusk announced the document by means of Twitter, writing: “I have just sent to EU27 a draft Political Declaration on the Future Relationship between EU and UK. The Commission President has informed me that it has been agreed at negotiators’ level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to the endorsement of the Leaders.”
The Prime Minister will address the Houses of Parliament on Thursday afternoon, according to Labour party whips who will have been informed of the schedule by the Prime Minister’s office.
Alleged pages of the 26-page agreement were leaked and circulating online within minutes of the news breaking Thursday morning, with particular concern expressed over the section on fishing. Section 12, paragraph 75 of the document — the leaks claim — states that “parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quote shares.
Britain’s fishing industry enjoyed an elevated position within the context of the Brexit campaign, with industry representatives saying their livelihoods have been near-destroyed by decades of top-down mismanagement of waters and quotas by the European Union.
One of the most remarkable set-piece battles of the Brexit campaign was a flotilla of fishing boats sailed down the River Thames in support of leaving the European Union. Nigel Farage was carried on one of the boats, and the protest was harried by a luxury river cruiser chartered by wealthy pro-EU campaigner Bob Geldof, who shouted messages through a loudspeaker at the fishermen.
Fishing communities in the United Kingdom were noted at the time of the referendum as being among the most enthusiastically supportive of the leave vote. If the Prime Minister’s agreement is confirmed to state that the UK and EU will continue to share quotas as they have done in the past in the post-Brexit era, this will inevitably be seen as a serious betrayal of the Brexit vote.
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