Home » Get a grip! Brussels ordered to budge in shellfish row – UK bypasses EU for direct talks
Get a grip! Brussels ordered to budge in shellfish row – UK bypasses EU for direct talks
May 18, 2021
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The position announced by the European Commission prevents scallops, clams, cockles, oysters and mussels known as bivalve molluscs from being exported to the bloc unless they are ready for human consumption after being purified. Environment Secretary George Eustice and Victoria Prentis have been attempting to have negotiations regarding the ban but without success.
Fisheries Minister Ms Prentis said the ban was “unfair and unjustified” and called for the EU to reverse the trade restrictions.
In a swipe at Brussels, the Banbury MP added: “The decision taken by the EU to ban the export of Live Bivalve Molluscs (LMB) from Class B waters is wrong.
“I do not think the European Commission has taken the right approach to this.
“The LMBs that we have always exported are delicious and safe and this was a good way to export and trade.
“I want to do everything I can to help that to continue in the future.”
Express.co.uk has leant UK officials are attempting to discuss the issue with the EU through the cooperation committees set up as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
But Ms Prentis said Brussels had been “unwilling to engage in constructive discussion on this.”
So she stressed officials had been speaking to individual member states including France who want the shellfish trade to continue.
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Ms Prentis added: “I’m not going to pretend that there is a silver bullet; there isn’t.
“I’m in no way downplaying the difficulties, but I really hope that the situation will start to improve and that with constructive and through fairly frank engagement, we can work together to ensure that this industry has a future.
“I am confident that we have wonderful products that consumers across the world will want.”
A UK Government source, said: “The EU needs to get a grip and start engaging with us as soon as possible.
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“These draconian restrictions are crippling UK shellfish businesses.”
Until the end of the transition period, producers were able to export unpurified unshell products such as muscles to the continent which would then be purified after arriving at their destination.
However, firms have only been able to send pre-purified shellfish to the continent since January 1st.
This is because the EU classed the Britains waters as “class B” instead of the cleanest waters – categorised as “class A” – putting the restrictions in place.
It comes after the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs said options are being examined for potential legal action against the Bloc.
The European Commission said the EU’s restrictions imposed on the UK were a “direct result” of Brexit, with Brussels officials adding the news should “not be a surprise.”