British PM Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held another phone call regarding the progress of trade talks
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen held a conversation over the phone regarding the progress of trade talks between their respective blocs.
Both parties acknowledged the progress that has been made in the negotiations since Sunday especially in the area of governance and the ‘level-playing field’ but reiterated the problems finding a solution to fisheries.
The realities of Brexit is the reminder for UK fishing boats operating in the English Channel to remove their fishing gear such as pots from French waters before 01 January. Problem is, they cannot get any clarity from the UK government as to where British waters end and French begin.
In a statement issued after the call the Commission President said:
“This evening I took with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the on-going negotiations for a comprehensive Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
“We welcomed substantial progress on many issues. However, big differences remain to be bridged, in particular on fisheries. Bridging them will be very challenging.
“Negotiations will continue tomorrow.”
It is reported that the British PM underlined that the negotiations are now in a serious situation as time is very short and it now look like an agreement would not be reached unless the EU position changed substantially.
Johnson said that they were making every effort to accommodate reasonable EU requests on the ‘level-playing field’ but even though the gap had narrowed but some fundamental areas remained difficult.
On fisheries the PM stressed that the UK could not accept a situation where it was the only sovereign country in the world not to be able to control access to its own waters for an extended period and to be faced with fisheries quotas which hugely disadvantaged its own industry.
Johnson believes that the EU’s position in this area was simply not reasonable and if there was to be and agreement, they would need to shift their position significantly.
He again repeated that there was little time left and if no agreement was reached between the EU and the UK, the UK would part as friends but trading with the EU on Australian-style terms.
Talks are ongoing tonight in Brussels between the parties but without EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Chief Negotiator.