if it aint broke dont fix it

59 signatories from the European Parliament tell Boris Johnson, “if it aint broke dont fix it”

Just as Europeans aren’t asking for the sacrifice of British businesses in order to maintain access to the EU single market, we cannot accept the sacrifice of our fishermen, writes Pierre Karleskind, Nathalie Loiseau and 57 other MEPs.

Pierre Karleskind is a French centrist lawmaker who is chairman of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee. Nathalie Loiseau is a French centrist MEP and former Europe minister in the French government who is a member of the UK Coordination Group in the European parliament. 57 more signatories are listed at the bottom of this article. 

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The British people made the democratic choice to leave the European Union. We respect this sovereign choice, even if we strongly believe in the assets and virtues of the European project. When it leaves our Union on January 1st, the UK will dissolve its consequent rights and obligations, inherent benefits and constraints.

Because half of its exports are geared towards the Single market, the UK seeks to negotiate a free trade agreement with us. Because Europeans have been fishing for centuries in waters that are now British, we negotiate with the UK an agreement on fisheries.

These negotiations are coming to an end; The UK and the EU do realise that there is very little time left to find an agreement. We, as representatives of our fellow citizens, must protect their interest and this will be our sole guideline when we come to vote on the outcome of the negotiations.

We have been crystal clear so far and will continue to be: there won’t be any free trade agreement without a balanced, sustainable and long term agreement on fisheries. There is nothing that would make us change our minds, let’s not reverse the logic of our negotiation.

A future partnership agreement makes sense only if it protects the interests of the signatories, there is no doubt that the UK will be losing some benefits by leaving the single market, but this was the choice it made. Threatening the European fisheries sector won’t make the doors of the Single market open wider. Why should European fishermen suffer the consequences of a decision, Brexit, they were not part of?

The EU negotiating stance is simple and transparent: to protect the interests of EU citizens and businesses, by no means to undermine them. The fisheries sector is no exception. One would value the same clarity coming from London: British businesses continuously reach out to us and express dismay at the risks of a no deal as well as their hope to maintain standards comparable to the European ones. British fishermen are concerned about the entry requirements of their fish products to the Single market after December 31st. Rightly so. But the British government doesn’t seem to be alarmed.

We would still have so much to gain by committing to reciprocity! Just as we aren’t asking for the sacrifice of British businesses in order to maintain access to the Single market, we cannot accept the sacrifice of our fishermen! We are asking for continuous access to British waters and fish as much as the UK is asking for access to the European market. Let’s say it to the British government: We will handle your businesses in the Single market in the same way as you handle our fishermen in your waters. It’s up to the British government to tell us: “We will handle your fishermen in the same way you handle our businesses!”

To make a long story short, there is no need to reinvent the rules of the Single market, just as there is no need to recreate the Common Fisheries Policy. Both come from decades of negotiations, to which both sides of the Channel took part. Isn’t there a saying that if something ain’t broke, one shouldn’t fix it?

In the final stretch, we, members of the European Parliament, say to our negotiator, as well as to the Heads of State and Government: we stand ready to give our consent to an agreement. We stand ready, but not at any cost!


  1. Pierre Karleskind (France, Renew Europe), Chair of the Fisheries committee
  2. Nathalie Loiseau (France, Renew Europe), member of the UK Coordination Group in the European parliament
  3. Søren Gade (Denmark, Renew Europe), Renew Europe coordinator for the Fisheries committee
  4. Gabriel Mato (Spain, EPP), EPP coordinator for the Fisheries committee
  5. Clara Aguilera (Spain, S&D), S&D coordinator for the Fisheries committee
  6. Morten Petersen (Denmark, Renew Europe), member of the UK Coordination Group in the European parliament
  7. Pascal Canfin (France, Renew Europe), Chair of the Environment committee
  8. Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium, Renew Europe)
  9. Stéphane Séjourné (France, Renew Europe)
  10. Stéphanie Yon-Courtin (France, Renew Europe)
  11. Javier Nart (Spain, Renew Europe)
  12. Catherine Chabaud (France, Renew Europe)
  13. Isabel Carvalhais (Portugal, S&D)
  14. Francisco José Millán Mon (Spain, EPP)
  15. Stéphane Bijoux (France, Renew Europe)
  16. Niclas Herbst (Germany, EPP)
  17. Nicolás González Casares (Spain, S&D)
  18. Maria Walsh (Ireland, EPP)
  19. Bert-Jan Ruissen (Netherlands, ECR)
  20. Annie Schreijer-Pierik (Netherlands, EPP)
  21. Manuel Pizarro (Portugal, S&D)
  22. Peter van Dalen (Netherlands, EPP)
  23. Morten Løkkegaard (Denmark, Renew Europe)
  24. Nicola Beer (Germany, Renew Europe)
  25. Nora Mebarek (France, S&D)
  26. Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Spain, Renew Europe)
  27. Gilles Boyer (France, Renew Europe)
  28. Cristina Maestre Martín de Almagro (Spain, S&D)
  29. Sylvie Brunet (France, Renew Europe)
  30. Olivier Chastel (Belgium, Renew Europe)
  31. Ilana Cicurel (France, Renew Europe)
  32. Pascal Durand (France, Renew Europe)
  33. Inma Rodríguez Piñero (Spain, S&D)
  34. Jérémy Decerle (France, Renew Europe)
  35. Laurence Farreng (France, Renew Europe)
  36. Sandro Gozi (France, Renew Europe)
  37. Christophe Grudler (France, Renew Europe)
  38. Asger Christensen (Denmark, Renew Europe)
  39. Bernard Guetta (France, Renew Europe)
  40. Valérie Hayer (France, Renew Europe)
  41. Jan Huitema (Netherlands, Renew Europe)
  42. Fabienne Keller (France, Renew Europe)
  43. Samira Rafaela (Luxembourg, Renew Europe)
  44. Ilhan Kyuchyuk (Bulgaria, Renew Europe)
  45. Karen Melchior (Denmark, Renew Europe)
  46. Nuno Melo (Portugal, EPP)
  47. Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Germany, Renew Europe)
  48. Urmas Paet (Estonie, Renew Europe)
  49. Fredrick Federley (Sweden, Renew Europe)
  50. Maria Soraya Rodríguez Ramos (Spain, Renew Europe)
  51. Frédérique Ries (Belgium, Renew Europe)
  52. Dominique Riquet (France, Renew Europe)
  53. Liesje Schreinemacher (Netherlands, Renew Europe)
  54. Irène Tolleret (France, Renew Europe)
  55. Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (France, Renew Europe)
  56. Hilde Vautmans (Belgium, Renew Europe)
  57. Adrián Vázquez Lázara (Spain, Renew Europe)
  58. Marie-Pierre Vedrenne (France, Renew Europe)
  59. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou (France, Renew Europe)


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