Dutch fishermen blast EU as blocs inflexible rules fail to meet different states needs

French fisheries may be exposed in UK 'tit-for-tat' says expert

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Fishermen in the Netherlands have been complaining the EU Commission is increasingly proving detrimental to their businesses as they claim Brussels fails to listen to their problems.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Durk van Tuinen of the Dutch Fishermen’s Union (Nederlandse Vissersbond) said the EU executive is quick to offer meetings and debates on the state of fisheries in the bloc but often fails to come up with concrete solutions.

Stressing about the huge variety in fishing techniques and needs across the bloc, Mr van Tuinen argued the EU lacks a set of policies that are specific to each member states and has instead opted for the same rules for everyone regardless of the different realities.

He said: “We spend a lot of time to have contacts with the European Commission, with the European Parliament and in the fisheries committee of the EU Parliament, we seem to have good contacts but that is it.

“There is no space for all the mixed types of fisheries we have in the EU.

“The Commission makes up some general rules and leaves it to member states to implement them.

“I think that’s the most difficult thing for us.

“And can we discuss it with the Commission? Of course, there’s always an option to speak with the Commission but not always they have a solution for us.”

He added: “We don’t have enough flexibility to look at our own fisheries with our own specific problems.”

The fishermen association representative said that Holland has been increasingly suffering from EU fishing rules in the past few years.

Referring to EU lending obligations and rules over marine protected areas across the bloc, Mr van Tuinen said the EU has had “a big impact on our fishermen”.

Dutch fishing businesses are also suffering from a lack of support from the EU for their loss of income as a consequence of the UK’s departure from the bloc.

The EU approved a €5.4billion emergency fund aimed at helping businesses tackle the short-term effects of Brexit back in June.

But Dutch fishermen are yet to receive a penny of the funds as, Mr van Tuinen claimed, Brussels is making it “impossible” to meet the requirements of the scheme.

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He said: “The EU Commission is stating that it is up to a member state to make to rules on how to get the money out of the funds for fishermen.

“So a member state is responsible for making the rules and also the possibilities.

“And the member state also needs to make clear that there is a Brexit relation with the spending of the money.

“I know the French have worked very quickly on this and have already paid fishermen out.

“But the Dutch government is taking more time as it’s more difficult in our situation to prove the relation between the funds and Brexit, which is essential if you want to use the money from the funds.”

He continued: “At this point, we are now in November, it’s already been 10 months after Brexit and fishermen have lost 10 months of income.

“It’s not through the fault of our government if it’s very difficult to get the funds.

“The EU has made it impossible to prove the relation between Brexit and the funds and that takes time.”

With Brexit, EU fisheries faced a 25 percent reduction of their catch value from UK waters, according to the Commission.

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