The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will meet with authorities from the bloc’s most influential fishing states for a more wriggle space to crack the deadlock in talks with the UK over a trade deal.
Mr Barnier is ready to make concessions in a move to prevent talks about a future EU and UK trade deal collapsing this month. A source revealed, “He will be in contact with fisheries ministers this week.”
This comes as France is faced with mounting pressure to quit requesting it retains the same level of access to the UK fishing waters after the transition period end by December. Germany has also advised the European capitals to support a Brexit compromise because they stand to lose more than during last year’s bitter wrangling over the divorce treaty.
Mr Barnier has travelled to Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and foreign minister Heiko Maas. Mrs Merkel, is the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, as such, she’s seen as an important figure in the bid to sell a climbdown on fisheries to member states.
“A lot has happened in the past year and it must be said that maybe more is at stake today than one year ago.”
After the latest unsuccessful round of talks with Brussels, The UK’s lead negotiator David Frost said without more realism and flexibility from the EU a deal on fisheries risks being impossible.
Mr Johnson during a phone call over the weekend stressed the importance of securing a significant victory for British fishermen after more than 40 years under the bloc’s Common Fisheries Policy.
Even at this stage, Brussels has continued to demand unchanged access to Britain’s fishing grounds after December 31. But in a no-deal Brexit operation, European vessels will be shut out of the UK’s fishery areas which stretch as far as 200 nautical miles from the country’s coast.
Britain has proposed a three-year transition period, which would allow quotas for UK fishermen steadily increase each of the years to as much as double the present arrangements, while negotiations over access continue later in the future.