Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal spokes team has offered their European counterparts a new proposal on fisheries with the hope of breaking the existing deadlock in the negotiation over EU’s access to the UK waters.
The EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to spend the rest of the weekend studying the new proposal which was handed over to him by David Frost who leads the UK negotiating team. However, a no-deal Brexit has not been ruled out as the gaps between reaching a deal “remain as far apart as ever on the major issues,” according to a source close to the talks.
The negotiating team from both sides spent the entire week in London analysing the possibility of merging two separate legal texts in the hope of reaching a fisheries deal in the weeks to come, while Mr Barnier has continued to raise hopes of a Brexit deal even if it’s “ten days” remaining to the deadline.
Mr Barnier reportedly told MEPs that the negotiation will definitely miss Boris Johnson’s mid-November deadline ahead of what was described as a crunch summit of European leaders while accepting there were still “considerable differences” between the UK and EU to trash before any Brexit deal is possible.
The EU lead negotiator has been warned he would have until December 10 to conclude a deal because of the European Parliament’s ratification process, since EU Parliament sources are suggesting MEPs will be forced to hold a special vote between Christmas and the New Year to ratify any potential trade deal.
Clement Beaune French Europe minister is also pressurizing Mr Barnier to make sure a deal is wrapped up by the end of November, saying, “I think a deal is possible; both parties want one. If it happens after the end of November we will be in trouble.”
Next round of talks will hold in Brussels next week in the hope of reaching an agreement on the most challenging issues of the negotiations.
The UK negotiators have debunked claims making the rounds in Brussels that Dominic Cumming’s departure as Downing Street’s most senior adviser reflects the government interest to cave on EU Brexit demands.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said it was “simply false” that he is prepared to soften its position in the negotiations saying, “The Government position in relation to the future trade agreement negotiations is unchanged. We want to reach a deal but it has to fully respect the sovereignty of Britain.”