Irishman Phil Hogan said the EU would be willing to maintain generous market access for British bankers in exchange for a fisheries deal as a post-Brexit “trade-off”. Ahead of a trade visit to Washington, the EU commissioner said: “There certainly will be trade-offs, particularly at the end of the negotiations. The EU will be seeking concessions on fishery access – and the UK very probably be seeking concessions on financial services.”
The future fisheries deal is expected to provide the first real political battle between Brussels and Boris Johnson after January 31.
The Prime Minister has pledged to take back control of the UK’s fishing waters, but the likes of France, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and Denmark want a future deal to hinge on continued access for their trawlers.
Dublin has warned Irish vessels being shut out of UK waters could knock one-third of the value of its country’s fishery income.
The total losses for its industry could amount to around £428 million, according to the latest predictions.
Mr Hogan also lashed out at Mr Johnson’s willingness to replace European trade with a USA-UK trade deal as “fairytale economics”.
But his remarks put him at odds with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, who has refused to drag financial services into the political negotiations.
Dublin yesterday sought to escalate the row over Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels by warning the EU will not be rushed into a deal.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, said the timetable set by Mr Johnson, to strike a deal by the end of the year, was “very ambitious” if not “unrealistic”.
Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Mr Coveney said: “When people talk about the future relationship, in the UK in particular, they seem to only talk about a future trade agreement. Actually there’s much more to this than that – there’s fishing, there’s aviation, there’s data and so many other things.
“I know that Prime Minister Johnson has set a very ambitious timetable to get this done.
“He has even put it into British law, but just because a British parliament decides that British laws say something doesn’t mean that that law applies to the other 27 countries of the European Union.”
Mr Johnson has ruled out extending the Brexit transition period, which keeps Britain tied to the EU’s rulebook, beyond December 31 if a deal has not been agreed.
But Mr Coveney said the EU had “warned the timeframe is ambitious, if not unrealistic”.
Security minister Brandon Lewis toldAndrew Marr the negotiations would be difficult, but he disagreed with Mr Coveney’s assessment of the timetable. He said: “I think it can be done, not just because both parties are committed to doing it, and want to do it, but we are a country that has already got a known pattern of work with the EU.”
Last week European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it would be “impossible” to reach a comprehensive trade deal by the end of 2020.
She warned that without an extension to the current transition period “you cannot expect to agree every single aspect of our new partnership”.
Irishman Phil Hogan said the EU would be willing to maintain generous market access for British bankers in exchange for a fisheries deal as a post-Brexit "trade-off". Ahead of a trade visit to Washington, the EU commissioner said: "There certainly will be trade-offs, particularly at the end of the negotiations.