Brexit: Boris Johnson urges EU to ‘see sense’ on negotiations
The Brexit Party leader took to Twitter to fume that the EU chief negotiator’s demand “should be the deal breaker”. He added: “After years of being allowed to take advantage of our fish stocks, Barnier now threatens us.”
Mr Farage’s tweet comes after Mr Barnier called for fishing rights to be linked to trade in the deal between Britain and Brussels.
The EU chief negotiator insisted it was “unacceptable” that the UK could block access to its waters but keep the benefits of a trade agreement with the bloc.
Mr Barnier told the European Parliament: “The European Union also has to maintain its sovereign right to react or to compensate by adjusting the conditions for products, and especially fisheries products, to the Single Market.
“And that is where we come up against one of the main hurdles of the negotiations at the moment – fisheries being part and parcel of the economic partnership.”
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Fishing has proved one of the biggest obstacles to a post-Brexit trade deal, along with the so-called level playing field aimed at preventing unfair competition.
Mr Barnier added that the two sides now stand at the “moment of truth” with a “very narrow” path to reaching a breakthrough.
He said: “We have very little time remaining, just a few hours, to work through these negotiations in useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on January 1.
“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”
Speaking during a visit to Greater Manchester today, Boris Johnson called for the EU to “recognise the UK has got to be able to control its own laws – that’s what people voted for – and we have also got to be able to control our waters and fishing rights”.
The Prime Minister added: “No sensible government is going to agree to a treaty that doesn’t have those two basic things in it as well as everything else.
“Our door is open, we’ll keep talking, but I have to say things are looking difficult.
“There’s a gap that needs to be bridged, the UK has done a lot to try and help, and we hope that our EU friends will see sense and come to the table with something themselves, because that’s really where we are.”
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He acknowledged there would be difficult days ahead in the short term if the transition period ends on December 31 without a deal in place.
Mr Johnson said: “Yes, it may be difficult at first but this country will prosper mightily, as I’ve said many, many times, on any terms and under any arrangement, and I think we’ve just got to get through this period and look to all the opportunities that will open up to this country in 2021.”
After her call with the Prime Minister on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted “big differences” remained between the two sides, adding that “bridging them will be very challenging”.
Mr Barnier’s UK counterpart Lord Forst yesterday warned that progress “seems blocked” ahead of talks resuming in Brussels.
He tweeted: “The situation in our talks with the EU is very serious tonight.
“Progress seems blocked and time is running out.”
After Mr Johnson’s call with Mrs von der Leyen, Mr Farage said on Twitter: “Following yet another phone call between Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, she repeats both sides are working on a ‘Partnership Agreement’.
“We voted to leave, we didn’t vote for a new EU treaty Boris Johnson.”
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