The EU has decided to ignore the Oct. 15 deadline which was set by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for signing a post-Brexit trade deal, saying the bloc will not accept Britain’s position on major issues like fisheries.
This comes, notwithstanding the fact that the EU’s lead negotiator Michel Barnier, suggested to the EU ambassadors at a meeting on Wednesday that any discussions at the crunch European Council summit in Brussels next week of a compromise, mainly on fishing would damage the possibility of establishing a deal.
Clément Beaune, the Europe minister for France, said: “Our fishermen will not be a bargaining chip for Brexit. They will not have to pay the price for Britain’s choices.”
Mr Barnier will need to inform the European leaders that further concessions are needed from the UK and not fall into a “trap” set by Boris Johnson to bring the event into a negotiating deadline. following a recent report.
The EU seems to be considering the summit conclusions as a simple factor “taking stock” of negotiations, while noting that not even one of the trade deals will be signed at any cost, but this approach may not leave Mr Barnier on the existing tracks he has created already with his UK counterpat.
EU diplomats fear major setbacks in signing a deal if the discussions stray into the details of talks, which could risk a hostile reaction.
A diplomatic source said,”Boris keeps saying that a deal is ‘oven-ready’ but Barnier will not want to come to leaders with any half-baked detail, especially on fish. That can be dangerous and unpredictable.”
It’s expected that Mr Bernier will tell Lord Frost that the bloc want the UK to consider a major concession on “level playing field” subsidy controls during a talk between them in Downing Street.
Boris Johnson has accepted principles on subsidy control to be part of any Free Trade Agreement, but has refused to concentrate so much on what the future enforcement regime will be, while Frost is also telling the EU to accept that Britain will adapt regulations in line with European legislation on the environment or food safety as it grows.
Mr Barnier is due to return to Brussels shortly after a morning meeting with David Frost in London. Both lead negotiators have met regularly as they strive to meet at a common ground for a possible post-Brexit trade deal agreement before EU summit next week.
While further talks are scheduled to take place next week ahead of the summit, the country’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney believes both the UK and EU can only seal a limited trade deal and agree to implement the terms of their exit settlement around arrangements for the Irish border.
“I believe we can get a deal, both in terms of a limited trade agreement that avoids tariffs and quotas and put in place the (Northern Ireland) protocol that has been agreed in the withdrawal treaty,” Simon Coveney.