(Adds remarks by Spain's Solana)
By Jonathan Clayton
10 aprile 1995
SOMMARIO. Documento che mostra l'asprezza dello scontro verificatosi a proposito della questione della pesca all'ippoglosso nel Nord Atlantico, fino a provocare vere e proprie tensioni internazionali. In questo caso, tra Spagna e Inghilterra.
LUXEMBOURG British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd warned on Monday that failure to negotiate an end to a bitter EU Canada row over North Atlantic fish stocks would lead to anarchy on the high seas.
"There has been progress...the differences are not huge, but sufficient for it to be unwise to say that a deal is in the bag," Hurd told a news conference.
He said he had held separate talks with the foreign ministers of Canada and Spain and Commission officials, saying the alternative to more negotiations was "bad tempered anarchy on the fishing grounds".
In remarks broadcast on Spanish radio, Spanish Foreign Minister Javier Solana said that without more goodwill from Canada solving the bitter dispute could be slow.
"Without goodwill from Canada an accord will take a long time," Solana said, adding: "The Canadians are behaving very cynically."
Hurd said there had been no criticism of Britain's position by Solana. Madrid has previously accused London of breaking EU solidarity by opposing measures against Canada for seizing a Spanish trawler last month.
But on Spanish radio Solana made clear that Britain's action still rankled.
Spain would not easily forget Britain's lack of solidarity, he said. "Our memory is long."
"The conflict could lead us to a deep crisis in Europe," he said.
Canada has not yet said it would reopen talks with the EU on the share out of quotas for fishing of Greenland Halibut on the North Banks off Newfoundland, but earlier EU ministers called for greater efforts to resolve the dispute.
The ministers urged Commission official hold more talks to try to clinch a deal as quickly as possible in a row that has battered relations between the bloc and Canada.
He said Spain expressed disappointment at a proposed outline compromise, but indicated there was still room for some movement on Madrid's part.
Commission President Jacques Santer earlier told Spain it was unlikely Madrid would succeed in obtaining for the EU half a total 1995 quota of 27,000 tonnes for fishing in the area all of which goes to Spain and Portugal.
In 1994, Spain alone fished about twice as much as the 13,500 tonnes offered to the EU this year.
Madrid says such a cut would threaten the livelihood of thousands of fishermen in northern Spain's Galicia region.
Ottawa says the measures are needed to allow threatened stocks on the once rich fields to recover.
However, EU sources said it may be possible to redistribute unused quotas from non EU countries, such as Japan and Russia, to give Spain a higher permitted catch in return for concessions Madrid has made on tougon boat controls and inspections.
A spokesman said the EU wanted to get a deal before Easter, but no new talks with Canada which has ruled out any more changes to the quotas were scheduled.
Commission officials said they later held talks with Spain and Portugal on the issue which were described as very frank.
EU sources say a clash last week between a Canadian patrol boat and a Spanish trawler off Newfoundland had again caused tempers to flare and made public concessions even less likely.