Simon Coveney Says Fishing Could Sink EU-UK Trade Talks

Simon Coveney Says Fishing Could Sink EU-UK Trade Talks

The United Kingdom leaves the EU's orbit on December 31, when a transition period of informal membership ends following its formal departure last January, and the sides are trying to secure a deal to govern almost $1 trillion in annual trade.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to lawmakers to say the measures would end in February to try to quell opposition, England will need resisting restrictions after its current lockdown ends if hospitals are not to become flooded, a senior minister said.

Mr Barnier arrived in London on Friday night telling reporters that he would continue to work with "patience and determination" to reach an agreement.

Face to face talks are continuing in London.

Fishing rights as well as the governance of any deal and the "level playing field" have been the main stumbling blocks preventing the two sides from reaching a deal so far.

"There can be no agreement unless there is one that gives sustainable and wide-ranging access to British waters", he said.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said the bloc could accept a cut of 15 to 18 per cent in its share of the catch in British waters.

Alan McCulla, CEO of Kilkeel-based fishing co-operative SeaSource, said negotiations were at a delicate stage.

While both sides continue to maintain a positive attitude towards talks in public, the fact remains that the differences between the two negotiating teams - not just on fishing, but also on fundamental areas like whether Britain will be able to set its own laws or remain subject to European Union courts in future - are still unsettled and may never be.

With just one month remaining for the European Union and the United Kingdom to come to an agreement, Merkel told a virtual gathering of parliamentarians from across the continent: "Britain and the EU share common values".

Johnson talked of "substantial and important differences", while Barnier referred to "significant divergences".

A British official called the demands "risible", according to the domestic Press Association, adding that the "EU side know full well that we would never accept this". That includes: "controlling our borders; deciding ourselves on a robust and principled subsidy control system; and controlling our fishing waters", he tweeted.

Asked when he believes the final deadline is for a deal to be agreed, Mr Raab would not be drawn but said: 'I am reticent to give an ultimate backstop because the goal posts sometimes shift on the European Union side.

It is the first time they have met face-to-face since Barnier went into self-isolation after a member of his team caught the novel coronavirus.

Neither side has so far shown a willingness to shift enough on the three outstanding issues to allow a breakthrough.

Members of the European Parliament have expressed frustration with the delays and may have to ratify a deal between Christmas and the New Year.

Mrs Merkel told MEPs: "I hope that we will still come to a contractual solution". They must understand that we are not going to sell out our sovereignty'.

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