Belgium refers to a document from 1666 to allow fishing in British waters if negotiations with the European Union break down.
Negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom regarding future relations showed little progress. One of the main issues is fishing, as the British want to severely restrict fishermen from European Union countries from hauling their nets in British waters after the end of the year.
If negotiations collapse, the EU fishermen risk lockdown. In Belgium, which is one of the countries that will be affected by such a development, extraordinary measures are being taken.
In a meeting with colleagues from other member states, the EU ambassador referred to an agreement from 1666 when the then English king Charles II issued a document allowing 50 fishermen from the Belgian city of Bruges to fish in British waters forever. This is confirmed by the Flemish Minister of Fisheries Hilde Crevits in iRadio ntervju med 1: s world today. British fishing waters are important to fishermen from Flanders in northern Belgium, with half of their catch today coming from there.
– We looked for ancient texts still in existence and then a concession appeared in 1666. Krivitz said that we have a fleet of 67 ships, so this concession could provide relief to many of our fishermen.
She believes that the British attach great importance to “historical context” and refers to the fact that in 1851 a British lawyer came to the conclusion that the agreement was valid.
– If something in 1666 still applies in 1851, why doesn’t it apply in 2020, the Flemish Minister of Fisheries asked himself.
The coming week could be crucial for negotiations on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.