Yesterday, UK Trade negotiator, David Frost met with EU negotiator Michel Barnier in a last ditched effort to see if a deal could be put together. The two sides met in Downing Street, London, to see if the contentious parts of the negotiations could be bridged, but so far the meeting hasn’t been fruitful and the stalemate still remains.
As the two negotiators try to construct a deal, a Prime Ministers spokesman said it “will not be easy” as the EU continues to hold their redlines on fisheries “common resources” and “level playing field”.
Germany and France have dug their heels in, working in tandem as they refuse to move on with negotiations unless their demands are met. The EU wants Britain to sign up once again to “level playing field” terms. This is due to the EU wanting control over state aid subsidies and British fishing waters under the grounds of “common resources”.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “An agreement is still possible and is our goal, but it is clear it will not be easy to achieve. The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy but also that this must be agreed before any further work can be done in any other area of the negotiations, making it very difficult to make progress.”
“We would instead like to settle the simplest issues first in order to build momentum in the talks as time is short for both sides. We will continue to work hard to reach an agreement.”
Even though the EU continue to urge Britain to accept their anti sovereign demands, meaning a stall in negotiations, the EU also highly fears a no-deal scenario as this would mean a loss of control over the UK. This is why they have consistently wanted Britain to sign up to “level playing field” terms, so the ECJ become the dispute judge if the EU deems the UK stepped out of line (Becomes too competitive).
France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, is also optimistic on if a deal could be completed before the year’s end saying: “Things are not progressing very well. No-deal is a risk.”
German European affairs minister Michael Roth said: “We do understand that the UK wants certain advantages for its own fishermen, for its own fisheries industry. “But, common resources need to be managed together in a sustainable way, which means we cannot accept that the UK would exclude EU fisheries efforts from its territorial waters altogether.”
Mr Roth went on to say that Barnier will be holding ground on the redlines around fisheries in the hopes the UK backs down.
The German minister continued saying: “We need to protect the interests of our environment, our economy and our workers,”.
“And that is a very clear position taken by our chief negotiator Michel Barnier.”
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