Over the last few days, British negotiators have concluded that EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been deliberately stalling the trade talks due to EU demands on fisheries not being met. The EU is still holding out that the UK will back down on their demands on wanting to take back control over their sovereign waters.
Mr Barnier wants EU fishermen to have unrestricted access into UK fishing grounds post Brexit, the UK negotiators have refused to sign up to the demands for unfettered access, but have offered to talk separately from the trade negotiations about the terms and conditions to see how EU fishers could to continue to fish in UK waters. Again the EU has refused to engage.
One UK source said: “The EU is not really putting enough meat on the table for us to have that discussion and we’re both still pretty much on our points of principle,”
Mr Barnier has been given orders from the EU capitals stating he must secure the status quo on access into the UK waters and on quotas. The status quo has been rejected by the British as that would mean the UK waters would be under joint control with the EU, with any disputes being dealt with by the ECJ (European Court of Justice).
The UK will be controlling UK waters under a different system. The new UK system will be based on science and where fish live. This is so there can be future shared fishing opportunities and keeping good sustainability of fish stocks.
The EU still want the UK waters to be under their failed common fisheries policy so their status quo demands can continue.
It was only a few weeks ago when EU commission president, Ursula Von der Leyen, met with Boris Johnson to discuss the progress of the negotiations as negotiations were in a deadlock.
It was reported that Boris Johnson told Ursula that for negotiations to continue at any pace the status quo demand would have to be reconsidered.
Since then the talks have been in a constant deadlock with either side not backing down from their red lines.
EU sources state that their move for holding out is tactical but remain confident that a deal could be struck by the end of the year.
Mr Barnier has made it clear to UK negotiators that any deal hangs on whether a “balanced and sustainable” pact is in place first.
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European affairs minister Clement Beaune yesterday said: “We will not accept a deal at any price – better no deal at all than a bad deal.
“Let’s not kid ourselves. If there is no deal, it will be a difficult issue. We’ll have to organise a response for sectors like fisheries, and support our fishermen financially.”
The next negotiation will take place on August 17th in Brussels. Barnier has said that talks have to be wrapped up by October 31st at the latest to get any agreement passed.