EU-UK trade talks fly over fish as cutoff day passes

BRUSSELS (AP) – Deep in the crucial weekend of negotiations, a breakthrough on fishing rights remained elusive for the European Union and the UK, both left without a trade deal that marked a chaotic, costly economic break on New Year’s Day Will smooth the edge.

With hundreds of jobs throughout the economy, the small area of ​​fisheries continued to drive a wedge between the 27-nation bloc and the UK, highlighting the hostility that attracted Brexit divorces over the last four years. Britain left the block in January, but the 11-month economic transition period ends on 31 December.

“We work hard,” the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said in a statement on Sunday as light faded at EU headquarters.

The office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the European Union is “continuing to make demands that are inconsistent with our independence.” We cannot accept a deal that does not leave us in control of our laws or water. ”

Barnier did not question whether the two parties “have the right to establish their own laws and regulate their own waters.” But, he said, “When our interests are at stake, both of us should be able to act.”

There was little hope that a full deal could be found before midnight, which the European Parliament set as a deadline if it had enough time to negotiate and approve the deal before the new year. Officials on both sides said there was hardly any space left over the weekend of near-continuous negotiations.

The almost mythical sense of Britain’s rights to rule its waves was an essential part of attracting Brexiters to victory in the 2016 referendum. Johnson is trying to ensure that as much of the shared British water as possible is now returned only to UK vessels.

The EU has always ensured that those waters are shared for decades, if not centuries, and insist that a lot of fishing rights be snatched away, imposing heavy import duties to the UK mainland market Punishment, which is essential for the UK seafood industry.

The deadlock has made overall negotiations with businesses on both sides unconstitutional for a deal that has been closed which will save tens of billions in costs. Johnson, however, could not budge.

His office said, “We need to do any deal based on the right and conditions that the British people voted for.”

An official of a coastal nation of the European Union said that the EU was refusing to yield more than a quarter of the fishing as the bloc now stands to lose that Britain regains full control of its waters due to Brexit . The UK is also firm that the 3-year transition period will be long enough for EU fishermen to adapt to the new regulations, while the EU wants at least six years.

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as the negotiations were still on.

Failure to reach a post-Brexit deal would lead to further chaos on Britain’s borders with the EU in early 2021, when new tariffs would add other hurdles to trade implemented by both sides. Two main issues have been negotiated in the past – the EU’s access to UK fishing waters and the assurance of fair competition with businesses.

A trade deal would ensure that there are no tariffs and quotas on trade on goods between the two sides, but there would still be technical costs, partly associated with non-tariff barriers on customs and services.

While both sides will suffer from failure to secure a trade deal, most economists feel that the British economy will take a greater hit, at least in the near term, as it is relatively more dependent on trade with the European Union.


Jill Lawless from London contributed to this report.


Follow all AP stories about Brexit and British politics at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.