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A French official confirmed the status of negotiations to Reuters. But, they also reiterated the need to remain firm on fisheries and level playing field issues. They explained: “No leader sought to review Michel Barnier’s mandate.”
The EU has previously said an agreement on fisheries is a pre-existing condition to a free trade agreement.
Britain insists any agreement must be based on an understanding that British waters are primarily for British boats,
The UK formally left the European Union in January.
Until the end of the year, it is a transition period.
During this time, EU laws and regulations will still apply.
This includes the Common Fisheries Policy.
This means fishing fleets of each country have full access to each others’ water.
The first 12 nautical miles from the coast is excluded.
EU ministers negotiate every year over the volume that can be caught from each species.
National quotas are divided up using historical data that goes back nearly 50 years.
The UK fishing industry has maintained it got a bad deal.
According to the BBC, parts of the British quota have been sold off to boats from elsewhere in the EU by British skippers.
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This means more than 60 percent of fish in British waters are caught by foreign boots.
On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament: “No one questions the UK sovereignty over its own waters, but we asked for predictability and we asked for guarantees for fisherman and fisher women who have been sailing in those waters for decades.”
Having spoken to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday, she insisted that the EU was prepared to compromise.
Mrs von der Leyen acknowledged the transition period will not be extended: “We on our side have always been ready to grant extension, but it needs two to tango.
“This means that we are now halfway through these negotiations with five months left to go but we’re definitely not halfway through the work to reach an agreement with little time ahead of us.
“No one can say with certainty, where these negotiations will be at the end of the year.
“But I know for sure that we will have done everything to reach an agreement.”
François-Xavier Bellamy, a Republican MEP told the European Parliament: “This is such a fundamental principle that Mr Barnier pushes with such force during negotiations. There can be no agreement with the UK if we do not also have a balanced, sustainable, long-term agreement on fisheries.
“An agreement whereby we have access to waters and resources reciprocally between the partners. This is of major social and economic importance, thousands of jobs are at stake.”
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