The European Union is floating the idea that they’ll ask for access to British fishing waters in return for allowing The City to sell in Europe. There being two problems with this. The first is that those passports to sell in Europe aren’t actually needed – it’s trivially simple to engineer full access now, as it is. The second is that it’s an entirely absurd idea anyway.
The EU’s trade commissioner has suggested there could be a last-minute trade-off with Brussels offering the City of London access to European markets in return for European fleets retaining their fishing rights in British waters.
The UK’s financial services sector will lose its automatic right to serve Europe-based clients at the end of the transition period and the EU will need to negotiate access to UK waters for its fishing boats.
Phil Hogan, the former Irish minister who is now trade commissioner in Brussels overseeing the next stage of the Brexit negotiations, told the Irish Independent: “There certainly will be trade-offs, particularly at the end of the negotiations. The EU will be seeking concessions on fishery access and the UK will very probably be seeking concessions on financial services.”
Set up a subsidiary in any EU country and you’re golden to sell your services in any EU country. Sure, it’s a little bit of expense but any City organisation that want’s to can and many have. So, that’s that dealt with.
But now consider the absurdity. Both fish and finance are exports from the UK. As with all exports the value goes to the consumer – they’re getting something lovely that their own domestic economy and or resources can’t or isn’t providing. This is as true of fish as it is of finance. The beneficiaries of access to British fish are the same people as the beneficiaries of access to British finance – EU consumers.
The argument being deployed is that because EU consumers are made better off by access to The City therefore they should be compensated by access to British fish.
Which is an absurd argument, entirely doolally. Which is, of course, why we’re leaving for who wants to be ruled by a system that actually believes in such cretinism?