The EU, Britain and the Sea
FISHERIES, SHIPPING AND MARITIME
A briefing organised by the Maritime Foundation
Thursday, 9 June 2016 • The Naval Club
British maritime experts will gather to debate critical issues on fisheries, shipping and maritime security left hanging in the balance ahead of the EU referendum.
The EU, Britain and the Sea briefing on June 09 at the Naval Club, Hill Street, London, will shine a spotlight on EU maritime relations and in particular how the In/Out Referendum may affect Britain’s diverse maritime sector.
The event will hear from luminaries including UK Chamber of Shipping Director of Policy David Balston, naval historian Peter Hore, former Navy officer and strategic adviser Chris Parry CBE, York University lecturer Dr Bryce Stewart, marine consultant Teresa Portmann and Windship Technology director Lars Carlsson.
Julian Parker OBE, chairman of the Maritime Foundation responsible for organising the event, said the briefing will provide a unique platform to explore key UK maritime issues.
“The aim of this briefing session is increase participation and broaden understanding of the main issues which affect our maritime sector in the run up to the EU referendum,” said Mr Parker. “While the EU debate rages on, we are keen to gather experts who can provide detailed insight on the maritime sector specifically.
“We will consider Britain's engagement with Europe and why there can be confusion and disagreement about ends and means. We will look to clarify the differences between expectation, self-interest, national and regional government, global influences and realistic outcomes.
“At our core, the Maritime Foundation is a charity promoting Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Our main purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence. This is why we feel passionately that the maritime sector is central to the EU referendum debate.”
Speaking ahead of the event UK Chamber of Shipping Director of Policy David Balston said: “For generations the British Isles have exploited the sea to move trade. Those who work in the industry will know that shipping moves 95pc of the UK’s international trade which fundamentally underpins our national economy and facilitates our place in a global economic community.
“So trading with our neighbours, friends and partners around the world is nothing new. It was not founded by the Treaty of Rome, and nor will it disappear if the UK is no longer subject to it. But for the last 40 years, when we have talked about trade, we have talked about the European Union. The movement of goods, people and services has driven the political project.
“The UK needs to focus on what works about the European Union, and what does not. It also needs to review, from a shipping perspective, the EU deal that the PM brokered in February. Access to the single market has helped to drive growth in trade with our closest neighbours, and the loss of tariffs and increased competition in the supply chain has boosted custom, driven down costs and allowed the conditions for job creation, economic and social progress to thrive.
“It is for the ‘out campaign’ to argue that our resignation from the EU would not hinder such progress in the future. However, barriers still remain and the single market is not yet complete. The attitude of EC appears to be ‘regulate where possible’ and not ‘regulate where necessary’. Those aspects that hinder shipping need to be addressed as well those where more EU action is needed rather than less.”
Meanwhile, York Lecturer Dr Stewart said leaving the EU would likely set back recent improvements in fisheries management and risk crucial trading partnerships, without providing any overall benefits to the UK fishing industry.
“Recent reforms to the EU Common Fisheries Policy have addressed many of its previous weaknesses and the majority of UK fish stocks are now being fished sustainably,” he said. “Shared management of many UK fisheries would also still be necessary after a Brexit.”
Marine consultant Teresa Portmann said UK fishermen have felt unfairly treated by the Common Fisheries Policy from the beginning.
“Many see the opportunity to leave the EU as the pathway to better fishing opportunities from larger shares of fisheries quotas, less competition from EC vessels fishing in UK waters and less restrictions on catches from EC regulations more broadly,” she said. “We will be using the briefing to discuss if Brexit could offer this and whether a post-Brexit UK Government could deliver this, or are UK fishermen being sold an ideology that would not and could not be delivered.”
Speaking on maritime security naval historian Peter Hore said after two terrible world wars, Churchill was the first to declare that we must build a kind of United States of Europe which directly resulted in European leaders setting up the European Coal and Steel Community to make war impossible ever again.
“He did not however envisage Britain being fully integrated in a federated Europe and more often referred to the importance of the English-speaking peoples,” said Mr Hore. “Will the outcome of the In/Out Referendum turn the British Lion into a toothless pussycat inside an unreformed EU?
“We will be using the Britain and the Sea platform to debate whether Britain will become the pussycat whose interests can be ignored in a headless rush towards ever-closer political union. Or whether the British Lion become a wild cat outside the EU, free to pursue policies tailored to its interests.”
Europe or the Open Sea?
Peter Hore, Naval Historian and Associate Editor of Warships International Fleet Review
Ensuring the future freedom of the seas
Chris Parry CBE, Writer and Strategic Adviser
Conclusion. Tea served
Lecturer, Environment Department, York University
Director of Policy, UK Chamber of Shipping
Director of Windship Technology Ltd
Naval Historian and Associate Editor of Warships IFR
Chris Parry CBE
Writer and Strategic Adviser
ABOUT THE MARITIME FOUNDATION
The Maritime Foundation promotes Britain’s interests across the entire maritime sector. Its purpose is to inform and raise public and parliamentary awareness of the importance of Britain’s maritime industries, commerce and defence through education, training and research, as well as through the Foundation’s annual Maritime Media Awards.