EU fishers are now being told to prepare for a smaller catch as the UK leaves the transition period at the end of this year. This is a win for Boris as trade negotiation deadline nears.
Reports suggest President Macron is preparing a significant climbdown on fisheries after a private meeting concluded possible compromises had been agreed with French fishing industry chiefs.
When the meeting concluded Fishermen Jerome Vicquelin said: “I was rather blunt and said: ‘It’s all well and good you came, but I’m worried because…just a 10-15% cut in turnover… would be a disaster over the long term.
“They were blunt too. They said it won’t be the same as before. For me it’s clear, they just want to try to limit damages as much as possible.”
Previously President Macron warned that he couldn’t sacrifice french fishers because the UK voted to leave the EU. But due to Boris walking the French President said that if they don’t drop their own redlines on fisheries, the french fishing industry will lose all access instantly once transition period passes. Macron said: “If there is no deal, European fishermen will have no access to British waters whatsoever. That is the reality.
“If there is a deal, will the situation be the same as it is today? No, that’s for sure.”
For optics, purpose Macron is wanting Barnier to walk, so it looks like the EU have the upper hand. However, Barnier has said he wants to see how negotiations go over the next few weeks before a decision is made to prepare to exit on a no-deal.
A diplomatic source said: “Barnier will stress time is running out between now and November 16, but his communication will leave enough basis to continue the talks.
“France has signalled that this side should be ready to accept no deal, that said our overarching interest is to get an agreement.”
French Europe minister Clement Beaune said: “We thought the end of October was the final deadline. We are giving ourselves a few more days to give the negotiations a chance, but we need to know quickly.”
“Michel Barnier has several days ahead of him where he is going to negotiate, and then he will talk to us. He is going to tell the head of state and government of the EU27: ‘Here is a deal, and I think it is a good one’ – and then we have to evaluate it.
“Or: ‘I think the British have not shown sufficient movement to reach an agreement that protects our interests and then it’s no deal.'”