Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised fishermen sovereignty over UK waters after Brexit. However, his pledge already appears extremely hard to deliver. Britain will be told hours after leaving the EU that work must begin on a new agreement in order to meet the July 1 commitment for a deal agreed in the political declaration.
According to European sources, one of the first requests from Brussels will be demanding the UK cedes access to its fishing waters to EU trawlermen as part of any future trade deal.
France’s Emmanuel Macron will reportedly maintain his hardline approach to Brexit by championing the bloc’s fisheries demands.
Sources close to the French President claimed he could even block any future deal unless his requests are met for access to British waters.
It also appears EU states could have an ace up their sleeve: an ancient treaty that could make a mockery of the UK's efforts to take back control of its seas.
EU can force Boris Johnson to surrender fishing waters with 1666 treaty (Image: GETTY)
UK fisheries (Image: GETTY)
According to a 2017 Telegraph report, Flemish politicians are in possession of a 350-year-old royal charter, which grants "eternal rights" to Belgian trawlermen to fish in British waters, even after Brexit.
King Charles II signed the “privilege” on October 2, 1666.
Charles signed the treaty to express his gratitude for being granted refuge in Bruges during the Interregnum, having been driven from Britain in 1651 by Oliver Cromwell.
He regained the throne in June 1660 and was determined to thank his sympathisers from the Cromwell years thereafter.
Geert Bourgeois, the ex-Prime Minister of the Belgian region of Flanders said in 2017, that the “fisheries privilege” granted 50 fishermen from Bruges access to British waters “for eternity”.
Speaking to Flemish TV, he unearthed a copy of the document, which was discovered in 1963 in Bruges’ archives.