Michel Barnier issues warning to UK as he admits this week is ‘crucial’ for Brexit deal

Michel Barnier issues warning to UK as he admits this week is ‘crucial’ for Brexit deal

In a warning shot to his UK counterpart, the Frenchman demanded “progress across all areas” as they attempt to break the deadlock. Writing on Twitter, the eurocrat said: “A crucial week ahead of us to make tangible progress across all areas, in line with the Political Declaration. A high-level meeting later this month will take stock of the progress.”

Boris Johnson will meet with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen later this summer to decide whether a trade deal is possible.

When Mr Barnier and David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief negotiator, resume talks this week they hope to create a landing zone ahead of the high-level summit.

Downing Street has hit back at claims Mr Frost could be on the brink of offering Brussels concessions over access to UK fishing waters.

Brussels sources have claimed the British negotiator could soften his position to break the impasse.

Mr Barnier has signalled he could offer his own concessions if he thinks Mr Frost is willing to agree to a compromise.

EU negotiators could agree to a Norway-style fisheries treaty, with annual negotiations on quota shares and access, if Britain backs away from its demand for “zonal attachment”.

“This is wishful thinking by the EU. We have always been clear there is no question of splitting the difference on level-playing field or fish,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.

Mr Johnson has been adamant that the post-Brexit trade deal must allow Britain to take back control of its coastal waters.

Downing Street has complained that the EU’s proposal provides status quo access to the UK’s fishing grounds like the Common Fisheries Policy.

Ms Macdonald added: “It’s absolutely key that we leave the Common Fisheries Policy at the end of this year. And there is no reason why that shouldn’t be the case.”

Published at Tue, 02 Jun 2020 15:45:00 +0000