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EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday he remained determined to reach a deal with Britain when asked whether such an agreement was possible before the end of a status-quo transition period. But French president Emmanuel Macron has been issued a stern warning to recognise the UK as independent or risk not getting a deal. Shanker Singham, Chief Executive Officer from Competere, explained Mr Macron needs a win in the trade negotiations to tell constituents in coastal areas.
Speaking at the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee, Mr Singham said: “I think on fisheries, if I’m a french fisherman I would rather win the actual negotiation which is for access to the UK’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
“And nobody has said we’re not going to have any access, we need foreign fishermen to fish in our EEZ.
“We need them to land the fish not only in our ports but also in EU ports for trade purposes and to ensure our product goes to the EU single market.
“There is definitely a landing zone and if I’m a French fishermen, I would rather do well in that negotiation than cause a breakdown of the ultimate UK-EU negotiation that I have no access because there’s no agreement.
“I think as soon as the EU recognises that the UK is going to a be an independent coastal state then we can resolve that issue which you know is resolvable because it’s ultimately about a number.
“The UK will have its number, member states will have their numbers and there will be a resolution.
“But Macron and the fishing member states that have to be able to tell their domestic constituencies that they’ve got a win out of this arrangement.”
Talks on a trade deal and future relationship have made little progress since Britain left the European Union in January, and almost unravelled when London introduced the Internal Market Bill, raising fears of no agreement.
Both sides say they need to reach an deal in October, otherwise Britain will complete its departure from the EU at the start of next year with no agreement to regulate trade, or other accords on anything from security to defence.
On arrival in London before informal talks with Britain, Barnier told Reuters when asked if he was optimistic about reaching a deal: “I am determined.”
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Britain also says it is working hard to reach an agreement, but has stuck to its position that any deal must respect the country’s sovereignty, putting it at odds with Brussels on state aid rules and fisheries.
The EU says because of Britain’s proximity to the bloc, London must agree to a so-called level playing field of fair competition guarantees.
The two sides will hold the next round of formal talks next week in Brussels before a summit on October 1-2 to assess progress and decide whether the bloc should step up no deal preparations.
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News – Macron warned: Accept UK as independent coastal state or risk NO access to fishing waters