France promises to block Brexit deal if UK allowed to ‘lay down law’ on own fishing waters

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Paris was today refusing to drop its demand for near-parity access to Britain’s coastal waters for its country’s fishermen. Europe minister Clement Beaune insisted the two sides were “still very far from agreement” on the Brexit trade deal. Speaking to reporters in Madrid, he said: “Our fishermen are no less important than theirs and they didn’t have the right to vote in the referendum. 

“There can be no agreement unless there is one that gives sustainable and wide-ranging access to British waters.”

Mr Beaune, a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, insisted Brussels shouldn’t accept a trade agreement that hands Britain back full control over its own fishing grounds.

He said France will “try again” to reassert itself on the negotiations with Britain to secure a good deal for its fishing industry.

“We have a bit of time left but till a long way to go and if the UK believes that limited time left works in its favour as it has in the past few years, that is not the case.”

His warning came as Angela Merkel urged “impatient” European capitals to show support for chief negotiator Michel Barnier.

The German Chancellor backed the Frenchman to use his “deft hand” to deliver a Brexit compromise as time runs out to secure a trade deal with Britain.

The veteran leader also empathised European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen’s growing influence as Berlin’s dealmaker in the wrangling over a future EU-UK trade and security deal. 

Mrs Merkel hinted that her former defence minister’s intervention would help deliver a “positive conclusion” in the talks.

The Chancellor said: “Michel Barnier has been negotiating and Ursula von der Leyen has been increasingly involved in the negotiating process so we do hope that we’ll get a positive conclusion to this.

“Some member states are now becoming impatient. There’s not much time left. Governance, level playing field play a large role. Perhaps for some the most tangible are concrete questions, from the British point of view access to energy markets, from our view access to British fishing grounds.”

Mrs von der Leyen has deployed key aide, Stephanie Riso, to London with the bloc’s chief negotiator to oversee the final compromises.

MUST READ: Brexit to bring ‘huge boost to Britain’s apple industry’

Ms Riso was an influential member of Mr Barnier’s team during the Brexit divorce talks before being scooped up to become one Commission’s most senior advisers.

Brussels sources have praised her inclusion in the EU’s negotiating team for the final rounds of trade talks with Britain.

They see Ms Riso as a trusted dealmaker with the backing of Mrs Merkel and other influential leaders across the bloc.

Brexit talks could continue BEYOND 2020 even if EU trade deal struck [INSIGHT]
Leaked EU document exposes Brexit ‘punishment plan’ [REVEALED]
Brexit: Deal to be secured at ‘eleventh-hour’ as deadline on brink [ANALYSIS]

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said the outline of a Brexit trade deal agreement could emerge this week.

He said: “I do think a deal is possible but it needs to be finalised this week if possible because we really are running out of time. 

“A deal is possible because the consequences of no deal are so costly and so disruptive. There’s a big incentive to get a deal done.”

Source: Read Full Article