Boris Johnson will during his meeting today with Ursula von der Leyen request that French president Emmanuel Macron must cave into Britain’s fishing demands during a last-ditch Brexit summit.
The UK PM will be encouraged by Angela Merkel’s backing for this week’s historic fisheries pact signed by the UK and Norway, of which the German Chancellor said, “shows that one can find ways to come to an agreement.”
As Mr Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen meet today afternoon, it’s expected that they will look deep into the negotiations and discuss next steps since the week-long trade talks that held in Brussels ended without a green light for a deal.
Mr Macron’s stubborn Brexit demand has been at odds with fellow leaders across the continent with Mr Macron continuing to demand the EU take a tough line on fishing rights for European fishermen, as France is a major beneficiary of access to British waters.
The EU’s demand on the fishing issue is against the UK’s desire to retrieve the control of its own waters and get a fair deal for British fishermen, who have always cried out that their waters are being overtaken by foreign boats leaving them to suffer.
Fishing has been one of the most contentious topics of the post-Brexit trade negotiation and the UK lead negotiator David Frost said a very large gap exists between both sides, considering the part of European chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Lord Frost said the bloc needed to show realism and flexibility if any progress was to be made.
Mr Frost said ahead of a meeting between him and Mr Barnier, that, “On fisheries, the gap between us is unfortunately very large, and without further realism and flexibility from the EU, risks being impossible to bridge. These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country.”
But Mr Johnson struck a more optimistic note, saying he felt “pretty optimistic” about striking a trade deal with Brussels ahead of his weekend meeting with Ms von der Leyen.
Brexiteer Ben Habib has warned that no deal is the only way to deliver a clean break from the European Union.