Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Sea change: European Union ready to ‘get realistic’ in Brexit fisheries negotiations

Michel Barnier.
Michel Barnier.

European Union negotiators are ready to “get realistic” in Brexit fisheries talks, according to reports from Brussels.

The EU has, from the outset of negotiations, been demanding “status quo” access to UK waters, which would essentially mean a continuation of the common fisheries policy.

Last week talks between the UK and EU teams were described as “tetchy” and broke off with little progress.

We should probably get realistic about our fishing position.”

Senior European source

However, it has been reported that both sides are now operating with a “renewed focus” ahead of the final round of talks next month.

“We should probably get realistic about our fishing position,” a senior European source told the Times.

“These are the things that have to be decided at a much higher level than David Frost or Michel Barnier. The pandemic is destroying everything in the sense that everybody’s mind is focused on something totally different to Brexit, which is the recovery in the exit strategy.”

We reported last week that, privately, both negotiating teams are hopeful of a breakthrough.

A senior source close to the UK negotiating team told us that Britain had submitted a fisheries proposal that makes clear the UK would be willing to consider granting access to EU fishermen on a zonal basis, as agreed with countries like Norway.

“Talks are getting tetchy but we’ve made modest progress”, the source said.

A source on the EU side said the proposal offered “a start to the dialogue on fisheries”.

David Frost, centre.

UK chief negotiator David Frost will publish Britain’s negotiating texts and legal drafts this week so that European governments are able to see possible “landing zones” and “trade-offs” on fishing and “level playing field” demands for regulatory alignment.

Banff and Buchan Tory MP David Duguid welcomed the reports and said: “If these reports are correct, then we may be starting to see some realism from the EU side.

“The EU negotiating position on fisheries has never been sustainable. It failed to recognise that the UK has left the EU and is leaving the CFP. A continuation of the status quo on fishing is a non-starter.

David Duguid MP.

“Any agreement must reflect our status as an independent coastal state.”

The next, and final, round of talks between the UK and EU teams is on June 1, after that meeting it will be for the UK and EU’s political leaders to sign off on the agreement “at some point in June”.

If a deal is not reached by June 30, which is the final date on which an extension to the Brexit transition period can be agreed, the UK would leave the EU in December without a deal.

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from The Courier UK politics team

More from The Courier