Britain and Brussels are said to be “still miles apart on fishing” as the transition deadline looms alarmingly close on December 31. Talks are not expected to resume in person this week after the UK’s negotiator David Frost faced another hurdle last week due to a coronavirus outbreak in EU’s chief negotiation Michel Barnier’s team. The UK has now offered a “review clause” on any fishing agreement after three to five years in a bid to appease the EU.
But the bloc is said to want this to happen in 10 to 15 years instead.
A source said: “They still don’t get it.
“They are still demanding basically 80 percent of the access they have now to UK waters and are sticking to that demand.”
Barrie Deas, from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, added the UK should reject this demand as it would suit only the EU.
He told The Sun: “I’m sure that a 10 year deal with links to trade would suit the EU very well.
“But it would not be compatible with the UK’s status as an independent coastal state, and I would expect it to be rejected if tabled.”
The EU is also believed to be demanding that the review covers the whole trade deal.
This could mean negotiations are forced to resume in a decade in what could be a repeat of this year’s excruciating stalemate.
READ MORE: Brexiteer fears ‘never ending talks’ urging UK to ‘take back control
He added he is still hoping it will be possible to reach an agreement with Brussels.
Mr Gove said: “I hope that we will be able to secure a good deal with the European Union.
“The European Union needs to move as well and it needs to acknowledge that we voted to take back control and that’s the most important thing.”
Mr Barnier said during virtual talks yesterday that negotiators were running out of time.
He added “fundamental divergences still remain” in what could be a sign the EU is still not willing to change its stance on fishing arrangements.
The main obstacles so far have been over future fishing rights, as well as the so-called “level playing field” rules to ensure fair competition and governance arrangements for any agreement.