All is fair in love and cod war. And with the EU’s coastal states under pressure to give way on Britain’s demands for greater fishing catches in its waters post-Brexit, any old argument is worth a try.
When the issue of the future access of European fishing fleets was being discussed by EU ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday the Belgian government’s representative, Willem van de Voorde, made a notable intervention.
To the confusion of some, and the delight of others, the ambassador cited a treaty signed some 350 years ago by King Charles II which had granted 50 Flemish fishermen from Bruges “eternal rights” to English fishing waters. It was an important historical footnote illustrating the long relationship between Belgian fishermen and British waters, Van de Voorde suggested.
Cool. So, 50 fishermen – if there are that many in actual Bruges, and not Zeebrugge – gain access to British waters. Limit ’em to late 17th century technology and we can stand tall as peeps who keep their word then, right?