After the two sides concluded talks yesterday, it was agreed they would pursue with separate negotiations on areas such as aviation and road transport. As talks head into the final week of formal negotiations, EU officials are also concerned over the issue of fisheries. With Lord Frost indicating concessions could be made on subsidy controls and the level playing field, the EU’s negotiating team fears fisheries may dominate the final round of talks due to the demands set by countries such as France.
States like France are incredibly reliant on the UK’s waters but overall, fishing opportunities for the majority of EU states are not a concern.
While the issue could dominate talks next week, Brussels does not believe Boris Johnson will walk away from talks.
Mr Barnier has also resisted stepping up no deal planning as he does not want to give anything away.
One EU source told The Times: “We shouldn’t jump the gun, with the danger of giving too much away.”
Mr Johnson has set next week’s EU summit as the deadline for a Brexit deal.
However, EU officials believe the two sides will negotiate past that deadline.
Another source said: “Negotiations will continue. It is not a deadline.”
Once a large majority of the deal is agreed, it is expected the two sides will enter the tunnel phase of negotiations – away from media scrutiny.
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7.21am update: Frost and Barnier to pursue mini-agreement if deal fails
Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier will pursue a series of mini-agreements if a wide deal cannot be reached next week.
The EU is fearful states such as France, may continue their demands over fisheries and therefore stop a deal from being agreed next week.
Lord Frost and Mr Barnier held constructive talks last week, with the EU hopeful of a breakthrough on state aid.
Mr Barnier has faced pressure to step up no deal planning but the negotiator is resisting doing so in order to not give anything away.
One source told The Times: “We shouldn’t jump the gun, with the danger of giving too much away.”