Michelle Bernier and David Frost of the United Kingdom have had important discussions in the growing negotiations on the Brexit trade agreement – but the EU will not even discuss the ‘right to fishing proposal’.
- ‘Informal’ talks are expected to focus on state aid rules and phishing rights.
- The European Union wants a guarantee that the UK will not reduce its own industry
- France accused Britain of deliberately blocking post-Brexit trade talks
Michelle Bernier and David Frost of the United Kingdom are urgently discussing the possibility of a Brexit trade deal today.
EU negotiators are coming to London for the meeting as the search for breakthroughs becomes increasingly desperate.
With a month to go before the terms of the deal are due to expire, the bloc has been complaining that Britain is becoming “unconnected and unrealistic”.
Outraged UK sources, however, noted that Mr Bernier was even refusing to discuss proposals for access to fishing waters – one of the key issues, including whether the UK should comply with Brussels rules.
Mr Frost is expected to face his opponents today on his “parallelism” policy, meaning he will not discuss any territory until Britain makes significant concessions to others.
EU chief negotiator Michelle Bernier (right) will travel to London for scheduled talks with David Frost (left) to break the stalemate.
A UK source told the Times that the EU team was not “attached” to the so-called “room papers” that could form the basis of any agreement.
“The EU has always said that the key issue in the solution is fishing but refuses to discuss it later,” they said.
‘We hoped to make progress and present the paperwork to the room, but unfortunately, the EU refused to get involved because of their self-imposed necessity.’
Formal talks between the two sides will resume next week.
A Whitehall source said that although the transition period from the European Union to the United Kingdom was not due to expire at the end of the year, there was “virtually only one month” to agree to the agreement in time for ratification.
In recent weeks both sides have become increasingly enlightened about the prospects for a deal after hopes of a summer success faded.
France yesterday accused Britain of deliberately shutting down negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal and making unreasonable expectations.
Speaking to his country’s ambassadors, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: “The talks are not moving forward because of the bizarre and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom.”
However, British sources said that the stalemate was due to the EU’s accession.
‘They don’t seem ready to move on to anything big,’ one said.
Boris Johnson said that by the end of this year, the UK would have determined access to foreign trawlers in British waters, in line with other independent coastal states.
However, the EU claims that its fishing fleet will continue to enjoy its existing access rights indefinitely.
Before moving on to other areas of discussion, Brussels is also being asked about the UK’s state aid system – the rules for granting bail to militant organizations and sectors.
The European Union wants a guarantee that the UK will not reduce its own industry.
Boris Johnson (pictured visiting a school last month) says the UK will determine access to foreign trawlers in British waters later this year, in line with other independent coastal states.
But British ministers have insisted that the UK, as an independent country, should be independent in setting its own industrial policy.
Mr Le Drian emphasized that the bloc of 227 would not be under pressure from London yesterday, adding:
‘We can stay united so that we can stay connected to our global agreement.’
But UK ministers are also confident Mr Johnson will not back down, raising the possibility of leaving the trade deal later this year if negotiators fail to make sudden progress.
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