The European Union has rejected a UK offer on fishing rights, which would have seen the bloc’s quota in UK waters cut by roughly a third over a transition period of five years.
The demand was cut from the UK’s initial demand to cut the EU’s share by 60% over three years. Reports suggest EU negotiators have held out for a reduction of just 25% over a seven-year transition.
Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen spoke last night to discuss fisheries, and the pair have now established a trade talk hotline between Downing Street and the European Commission. An EU source said they will speak “whenever necessary.”
The EU rejection of the UK offer shows that there is still considerable ground between the two sides, with just nine days to go until the December 31 deadline to end the transition talks. A UK government official told Politico: “The EU position is still miles off what would be acceptable to us.”
Speaking at a televised Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said: “We vowed to stick off Brexit, because that negotiation is being conducted, as you know, via the European Commission and that’s quite proper, and the position is unchanged.
There are problems. It’s vital that everybody understands that the UK has got to be able to control its own laws completely and also that we’ve got to be able to control our own fisheries.”
The Prime Minister added that leaving the single market on World Trade Organisation terms “would be more than satisfactory for the UK”.
Despite the distance that remains in the positions of negotiators from both sides of the channel, Britain has told its MPs to prepare for a vote on a potential trade deal on Wednesday next week.