EU Commission President offer slither of hope for trade deal but fisheries remains huge obstacle
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen offered a slither of hope for a trade deal with the United Kingdom saying that there is a “path to an agreement”.
Von der Leyen told reporters at a briefing this morning that she believes the issue of governance and the ‘level-playing field’ are mostly agreed upon but fishing remains largely unresolved.
The Commission President said “As things stand, I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not, but I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now. It may be very narrow, but it is there.”
On state aid, she said progress had been made, including “guarantees of domestic enforcement” common standards and possibility of taking remedies for breaches.
On the issue of the ‘level-playing field’ she said, “We have agreed a strong mechanism of non-regression. That’s a big step forward.”
Even though she felt there had been progress on the ‘level-playing field’ she felt there was difficulties with futureproofing it.
She said, “difficulties still remain in the question of how to really future proof fair competition.”
She also reported that “issues linked to governance…are largely being resolved.”
The main sticking point remains fisheries. On that topic she said “the discussion is still very difficult,” and in order for there to be an agreement the EU needs predictability and stability.
If there was an area in the negotiations, she believes could bring down the trade agreement, this would be it. She said, “In all honesty, it sometimes feels that we will not be able to resolve this question.”
Last night it was rumoured that the UK had dropped their demands to have the British fleet brought back under UK ownership, as part of a compromise to broker an agreement.
Sky News Europe Correspondent, Adam Parsons tweeted that a UK source responding to the Commission President’s briefing this morning said: “We’ve made some progress but we are still very far apart in key areas”