The fate of fisheries in UK waters hangs in the balance as negotiations resume
The fate of fisheries in UK waters remains in the balance as both the EU and UK negotiating teams get back to the table.
Last Friday, No.10 , declared the talks over when British PM and UK Chief Negotiator, Lord David Frost, respectfully accused the EU team of not taking the talks seriously and not having any prepared text in place.
On Sunday, Conservative Cabinet Minister, Michael Gove told the Andrew Marr Show on BBC, that the door was still “ajar” to talks recommencing.
In the days since it has been agreed to reconvene talks but at a more intense level than before.
Yesterday, EU Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier said:
“The European Council reaffirmed to our British partners and friends that the European Union wants an agreement, as we have always said.
“An agreement that is for the mutual benefit of each party, while respecting the autonomy and sovereignty of each party, and which reflects a balanced compromise.
“However, there will not be an agreement at all costs, as President Ursula von der Leyen has said on numerous occasions.
“This is the position which is at the heart of my mandate, confirmed by your Parliament and by the European Council, reaffirming our constructive attitude to continue the discussion and negotiations.
“I would like to point out that the Union’s attitude in these negotiations has not changed and will not change until the last day.”
In response to Michel Barnier’s statement No.10 said:
“We have studied carefully the statement by Michel Barnier to the European Parliament this morning. As the EU’s Chief Negotiator his words are authoritative.
“The Prime Minister and Michael Gove have both made clear in recent days that a fundamental change in approach was needed from the EU from that shown in recent weeks.
“They made clear that the EU had to be serious about talking intensively, on all issues, and bringing the negotiation to a conclusion. They were also clear that the EU had to accept once again that it was dealing with an independent and sovereign country and that any agreement would need to be consistent with that status.
“We welcome the fact that Mr Barnier acknowledged both points this morning, and additionally that movement would be needed from both sides in the talks if agreement was to be reached. As he made clear, “any future agreement will be made in respect of the decision-making autonomy of the European Union and with respect for British sovereignty.”
Both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table but it is not clear which one will give way on fisheries.
Many in the UK are afraid that fisheries will be “traded away” with the Government offering the EU the three-year transitional deal which was reported in the Guardian in exchange for some leniency from the EU on business subsidies.
Many inside the European camp believe that Germany would rather not see any movement on their red line of ‘the level-playing field’ and it has been rumoured they would rather see the EU concede on fisheries, something which their French counterparts does not want the EU to give ground on.
Both sides resume talks but it is very difficult to see who will give way on fisheries as both sides have made strong unbreakable promises to their respective industries.