EU Chief Negotiator, Michael Barnier has called an urgent meeting of EU fishieries ministers
It has been rumoured that EU Chief Negotiator, Michael Barnier has called an ‘urgent’ meeting with EU fisheries ministers for today.
Mr Barnier has been engaged with the UK negotiating team in intense trade talks for the past few weeks as the EU and UK seek a way for a deal. The deal has all but been agreed upon except in the areas of ‘the level-playing field’ and fisheries.
Both sides are deadlocked on these issues, but it is believed the EU Chief Negotiator will ask the ministers for some compromise on the issue of access to UK waters for the EU fleet. It is now for the EU Member States to agree to change the mandate Mr Barnier was given before the start of the talks.
Mr Barnier’s job has not been made any easier as there is rumoured to be a devisive division between to of the lager Member States.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel would like to see a compromise on fisheries in order to force through a deal on ‘the level-playing field’.
French President, Emmanuel Macron has promised his nation’s fishing industry that there will be no compromise on fisheries. He has promised the French public and fishers that the country’s fleet of fishing vessels will have access to UK waters after 31 December 2020 and this means he is not willing to budge on the original mandate. The French President is under pressure as he is facing an election in 2022 which he will surely lose if he concedes ground to the UK.
The EU’s Chief Negotiator will travel to London today to resume face-to-face talks after the negotiations was forced to move online after one of the EU team tested positive for COVID-19.
He also confirmed that he would be briefing Member States and the European Parliament, along with holding a video-conference with the fisheries ministers of the eight EU coastal states, including Ireland before he will travel to London to resume talks this evening.
Mr Barnier has said that the “same significant divergences persist” and time is running out for a deal to be done.
Any deal agreed upon by the negotiation teams must then go back to the European Union and their Member States for ratification, something which could not be completed in full before the deadline of 11.00pm on 31 December 2021. If the deal is not ratified by the Member States before that date, the EU can use emergency powers which allows them to step in and agree the deal.