Dutch MEP Sophie in ’t Veld struggled to respond when BBC host Jon Pienaar pointed out that the EU needs British fishing waters in the trade talks. She didn’t answer his question when the BBC political reporter pointed out that the Netherlands “has a huge stake” in the deal over fisheries. The former deputy to Guy Verhofstadt, who is the head of the Brexit steering committee, had earlier warned that the trade deal talks had to be wrapped up by Autumn, instead of the end of the year.
This comes after Boris Johnson included a pledge in his Brexit bill not to extend any transition period beyond 2020 to secure a deal.
Ms Veld said the risk of a no deal Brexit “was real because there is very little time”.
She told the BBC: “Lots of things are possible. The point is any deal will have to ratified and that takes some time.
“So we don’t even have until the 31st Decemnber, it should all be done by the Autumn and allow sufficient time for parliamentary scrutiny.”
Pienaar questioned whether the UK and the EU could come to a “bare bones agreement” by the end of 2020 before more in-depth talks in the following year.
She responded: “By the 31st January, UK leaves the EU. It is in everyone’s interest to avoid a no deal but also not everything is possible.
“Everyone is looking at the trade deal but there are many others area we have to find an agreement on.
“One is cooperation on security, and it’s not talked about a lot. I can see big hurdles in that.”
Pienaar pointed out that Britain had the upper hand over the EU when its comes to fisheries.
He said: “Your country, the Netherlands, seems perfectly okay to play hard ball in these negotiations.
“But, the Netherlands has a huge stake in trade with the UK and they want to see a deal on fisheries, where there will have to be an accommodation with the UK, who are in a strong position there.”
Ms Veld, who did not answer Pienaar’s question on fisheries, said what the BBC host described as a “hard ball” was, to her, “defending the interests of the Dutch people”.
The awkward interview took place after Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister said that the EU “will not be rushed” on a trade deal with the UK after Brexit.
Simon Coveney said it is “probably going to take longer than a year” after branding Mr Johnson’s aim of a deal by the end of 2020 “unrealistic”.
Security Minister Brandon Lewis defended Mr Johnson’s deadline, saying he had a “strong record of getting things done”.
Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld struggled to respond when BBC host Jon Pienaar pointed out that the EU needs British fishing waters in the trade talks. She didn't answer his question when the BBC political reporter pointed out that the Netherlands "has a huge stake" in the deal over fisheries.