EU admits fisheries deal could be reached as bloc panics over being cut from UK waters

Brexit: EU and UK 'a long way apart' on fisheries says expert

Negotiators have stalled over fisheries with the EU demanding continued access to the UK’s waters throughout talks. Brussels has also remained adamant over quota returns with Michel Barnier offering the UK just an 18 percent exchange of fish stocks. The negotiator has also demanded an eight-year transition period for EU fleets and although both offers were rejected, one diplomat stated an agreement could soon be reached.

One told The Daily Telegraph: “It’s a numbers game now.”

In response to the EU’s eight-year transition window, UK officials have offered a three-year window whereby quota shares would reduce over time.

Such is the state of affairs, Mr Barnier had even declared the UK’s threat to cut off access as unacceptable.

Mr Barnier told MEPs: “If following a credible period of adjustment, the UK wants to cut access to these fishing waters, then the EU has to maintain its sovereign right to react or to compensate by adjusting conditions of products to the single market, particularly fish products.

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“I don’t think it would be fair, nor acceptable, if European fishermen were not allowed, following transitional rights, to have access to those waters when the rest of the agreement, especially applying to companies from the UK, would remain stable in their rights.

“That wouldn’t be fair, that wouldn’t be honest.”

Mr Barnier had also briefed fisheries ministers in France, Holland, Belgium, Ireland and Denmark to discuss the matter.

If access were cut for European fleets, there are fears French fishermen may blockade UK fleets at ports.

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Although the EU fishes heavily in the waters around the UK, British fishermen send large amounts of stock to France for it to be processed.

Speaking to the Associated Press, French fisherman, Mathieu Pinto said there will be a conflict if the UK stops access to waters.

He said: “There will be war. Let’s not hide it.

“There will be war.


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“A no deal Brexit will already impact us hugely.

“And then we are going to have to share our French waters with foreigners as well.”

Although the issue of fisheries remains unresolved, Mr Barnier did admit the path to a deal was still possible.

It is thought the progress made on the level playing field has pushed the two sides further to an agreement with talks continuing over the weekend.

Mr Barnier added: “We have very little time, only hours if we want this agreement to enter into force on January 1.

“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path is very narrow.”

If they do not agree a deal, the two sides will trade on WTO terms from January 1.

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