EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has finally agreed to compromise on Brussels’ hardline fishery demands so a post-Brexit deal with the UK will be possible considering time fast running out.
Mr Barnier disclosed to a private meeting that allowing British fishermen greater opportunities to catch fish from their coastal waters was key to reach an agreement fast.
He, according to a source told MEPs that he had budged in recent talks with the UK lead negotiator David Frost after admitting talks are on a trajectory to a no-deal Brexit. Mr Barnier accepted that UK vessels would see a degree of development in fishing opportunities.
“We’re happy to compromise if it is reasonable and sustainable,” Mr Barnier told the meeting. While responding to a recent report that Britain’s fleet could see their catch quotas as much as double, Mr Barnier said this could “spell an end to the Common Fisheries Policy”.
Amid growing pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU Brexit chief insisted he was trying to secure a better deal for the bloc’s trawlermen.
Mr Barnier said Brussels will not just accept a 50/50 share on fishing because it would lead to the “destruction of the Dutch, French and Belgian” fleets while keeping in mind the pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron on fishery.
He explained to MEPs he had to climb down from the bloc’s demands for status quo access to Britain’s coastal waters because Downing Street no longer cares about the Common Fisheries Policy.
Mr Barnier is expected in London on Sunday to resume wrangling over the post-Brexit trade agreement with Lord Frost.