Downing Street has issued a firm warning to the European Union on fisheries, telling Brussels to show “more realism” as talks enter their final 10 days.
Negotiations over fisheries with the EU have been in deadlock since trade talks opened in January.
The UK remains fixed on replacing the common fisheries policy with a system of “zonal attachment” that would offer a significant increase in catches for British fishing fleets, while the EU has demanded “status quo” access to UK waters, which would essentially mean a continuation of the common fisheries policy – something that has been categorically rejected by Boris Johnson.
With talks said to be on a knife edge, Number 10 remained firmly committed to its position on fisheries on Monday.
The PM’s spokesman said: “The PM made a commitment in his manifesto, on which he was elected with a significant majority in 2019, to take back control of the UK fishing waters and it’s his intention to deliver upon that promise.
“Repatriation of the fisheries is very important; the PM is committed to ensuring greater opportunities for our fishermen to benefit from the significant stocks of fish we have in our waters.
“We think what we’re proposing on fish is a reasonable and straightforward position and we have said very consistently that if the gaps on fisheries are going to be bridged then we need more realism from the EU on the scale of change that results from our departure.”
Ten days out from #Brexit deadline day, Downing Street remain bullish on fisheries. PM's spokesman says UK Gov will deliver on promises to 'take back control of fishing waters', adds 'we need more realism from the EU on the scale of change that results from our departure'
— Dan O'Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) October 5, 2020
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Johnson said: “I think it’s there to be done. Alas, there are some difficult issues that need to be fixed.
“There is no question that the EU needs to understand that we’re utterly serious about needing to control our own laws and our own regulations.
“And similarly they need to understand that the repatriation of the UK’s fisheries which were lost in 1973 is very important.”