Brexit: Dominic Raab says the EU often ‘shift the goalposts’
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With the transition period set to end in just over one month, the issue of fisheries remains one of the key areas of divergence which has so far blocked a deal. EU fleets rely heavily on British waters and, despite the UK now being an independent nation, fishing fleets have demanded continued access to the rich waters around Britain. Mr Barnier briefed MEPs on Friday following the conclusion of the week’s talks and was later warned he must agree a deal or fleets could suffer.
Flemish Fisheries Minister, Hilde Crevits, insisted the negotiator must follow his mandate to maintain current access to UK waters for European fleets.
She said: “The fisheries sector in Flanders is a small but important sector.
"It is very important that access to British waters is maintained in the future and that the current quota system is also maintained."
Under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), EU fleets are given access to waters across the bloc’s economic zone.
Brexit Live: EU panic over fisheries sets in (Image: GETTY)
Due to the large and rich waters, British fishermen have warned the policy has allowed EU fleets to exploit the UK.
In a bid to break the deadlock, the EU negotiator did offer the UK a return of 15-18 per cent in fishing quotas.
UK officials, however, rejected the proposal as it would allow EU fleets to maintain up to 80 percent of their current fishing stocks.
Mr Barnier travelled to London over the weekend in order to resume talks as the two sides head into the final month of negotiations.
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Britain's stance on fishing rights at the negotiating table with the EU is not unreasonable, a political commentator has said, pointing to the UK’s recent deal with Norway.
Fishing remains one of the main stumbling blocks to a post-Brexit free trade deal between the UK and Brussels and remains the focus on ongoing talks in London.
Michel Barnier touched down in the capital on Friday evening ahead of a weekend of meetings with Lord Frost.
A Brexit deal is set to be struck with the EU at “the 59 minute of the 11th hour” as negotiations reach a crucial moment.
Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland told Express.co.uk in an interview today this week "was the week" for a deal to be secured.
The thorny issues of fishing rights and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition on standards and state subsidies remain the major obstacles to an agreement.
Brexit Britain can expect an investment boom if Boris Johnson is able to satisfy foreign investors.
During an interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Menon claimed Boris Johnson could offer training and education schemes to satisfy demands for a skilled workforce by companies.
He also said coronavirus will prove a difficult hurdle to overcome and will play a significant role in the country’s prosperity.
8.40pm update: Britain should ‘really negotiate’ to find Brexit deal, France says
Britain should clarify its positions and “really negotiate” to find a Brexit deal on its future relationship with the European Union, a French presidency official said on Monday, as both sides warned each other that time was running out.
“The priority is for the British to clarify their positions and really negotiate to find a deal,” the French official said.
“The EU also has interests to fight for, those of a fair competition for its businesses and those of its fishermen.”
“The Union has made a clear and balanced offer for a future partnership with Britain.
“We will not accept a substandard deal which would not respect our own interests,” the official added.
Former MEP Ben Habib (Image: Getty)
Brexiteer Ben Habib argued that Boris Johnson was selling out the UK with his Brexit deal in a furious rant.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib argued that it could be more than 25 years until the UK truly gets its sovereignty back.
He added that he was pessimistic the Prime Minister would be able to backtrack out of it to get a clean separation from the European Union.
Britain shouldn’t be allowed to “lay down the law” on who fishes in its own waters after Brexit, France has today claimed.
Paris was today refusing to drop its demand for near-parity access to Britain's coastal waters for its country's fishermen.
Europe minister Clement Beaune insisted the two sides were "still very far from agreement" on the Brexit trade deal.
Speaking to reporters in Madrid, he said: "Our fishermen are no less important than theirs and they didn't have the right to vote in the referendum."
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (Image: Reuters)
A Brexit trade deal could be secured in a matter of days Boris Johnson’s negotiating composure finally pays off, Express.co.uk understands.
Michel Barnier is in London for talks with Lord Frost this week in what is seen as a last chance to secure a deal, with impasses remaining over fisheries, state aid and the level playing field.
With just a month to go until the end of the transition period, talks remain stuck on fishing rights, which was described by Dominic Raab as an “outstanding major bone of contention”.
5pm update: Government’s post-Brexit farming proposal is ‘full throttle attack’ on English farms
The Government’s post-Brexit farming proposals are a “full throttle attack” on English family farms, according to Labour.
Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard told the Commons: “Labour supports public money for public good, of course we do, but that’s not what this is about.
“Strip away the green coating and these proposals are a full throttle attack on English family farms – English because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland farmers are going in a different direction by maintaining support for small farms for longer.
“Under these proposals, many small farms will lose up to half their current support payments within just three years, leaving many financially unviable.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice, responding to Mr Pollard’s concerns on food standards, said: “We made changes to the Bill to introduce a Trade and Agriculture Commission and to require the Secretary of State to bring a report to Parliament outlining the impacts of any trade agreements on those standards.
“We’ve also been very clear as a Government that we will protect our producers from being undermined by sub-standard products produced overseas.”
Environment Secretary George Eustice (Image: Getty)
4.30pm update: Nicola Sturgeon accuses Boris of “turning democracy on its head”.
Speaking to SNP members at their annual conference, Ms Sturgeon said, having “taken back control” from the EU, the UK Government has now set its sights on Holyrood.
“Having – in their minds – taken control back from the EU, they now want to take it back from Scotland too,” the First Minister said.
“Boris Johnson is using Brexit – which people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly against – to fundamentally undermine the Scottish Parliament – which people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly for.
“That’s turning democracy on its head.”
Ms Sturgeon said the choice for Scotland is “pressing”, asking: “Are we prepared for our Scottish Parliament to be undermined and dragged down by Westminster?
“Or will we decide to make our Scottish Parliament independent?”
3.50pm update: Ireland businesses in Northern Ireland need “urgent clarity”
Businesses and officials in Northern Ireland need “urgent clarity” as they prepare for Brexit, Stormont’s deputy first minister has warned.
Michelle O’Neill said Stormont departments were facing “significant challenges’ in readying themselves for the departure and added she did not want to see disruption to any local businesses, including those trading with Great Britain.
However, she welcomed the intensification of negotiations between Britain and the EU, expressing her hope that they would reach a conclusion this week.
Ms O’Neill said that Stormont would continue its “operational readiness plan” in preparation for Brexit and added: “The key challenge is the urgent clarity needed to implement the protocol.
“It is clear that time is running out and it appears that things are edging closer.
“It is about time that businesses had this clarity.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)
3.35pm update: Sturgeon sends message of unity to EU Member States
Nicola Sturgeon has sent a message of unity to countries in the European Union (EU) as Brexit looms.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at the end of next month, following the end of the transition period.
In her conference address to SNP members on Monday, the First Minister told the EU: “You are – and always will be – part of who we are. You are not distant to us.
“To those of you who have come from other countries to live here in ours, thank you – please stay.
“To the other countries of the EU, Scotland wants to return. And we hope to do so soon, as an independent member state.”
Angela Merkel has backed Michel Barnier to use his “deft hand” to deliver a Brexit compromise as time runs out to secure a trade deal with Britain.
Speaking at an online event today, the German Chancellor urged "impatient" European capitals to support their chief negotiator to broker an acceptable trade-off for post-Brexit fishing rights and state aid rules.
The veteran leader also empathised European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen's growing influence as Berlin's dealmaker in the wrangling over a future EU-UK trade and security deal.
Mrs Merkel hinted her former defence minister's intervention would help deliver a "positive conclusion" in the talks.
3.05pm update: Merkel says Member States are growing impatient
With time running very short to reach a deal on Britain’s future relationship with the European Union, some member states are growing impatient, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, adding that failure to reach a deal would send a bad signal.
She named governance, a competitive level playing field, Britain’s desire for access to the EU energy market and the EU’s desire for continued access to fishing grounds as key sticking points.
While the EU does not want a deal at any price, a deal would be in everyone’s interests, she said. Failure to achieve a goal would not send a good signal to the world.
“Britain and the EU share common values,” she told an online video conference of parliamentarians from across the continent.
“If we failed to reach a deal, it would not sent a good signal.”
3pm update: Steven Brown takes over from Bill McLoughlin
Britons have reacted furiously over a plot by the EU to extend the looming Brexit deadline despite the UK voting to leave the bloc more than four and a half years ago.
The growing prospect of a no deal exit has sparked panic across Europe and according to BBC Newsnight’s Diplomatic Editor Mark Urban this could force "extraordinary EU tricks like stopping the clock".
He added there could be another short implementation period in order to finalise the finer details, such as customs checks.
But the idea of Brexit talks continuing into 2021 has prompted a furious response from a number of Express.co.uk readers.
Reacting to an earlier story, one reader said: "The EU and their UK Remainer friends have been mucking about for four and a half years. Enough is enough."
Brexit live: Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)
Brexit talks on financial services could continue well beyond the transition period and into next year, a Government Minister has hinted.
Economic Secretary John Glen refused to confirm whether an agreement on access to the EU for financial services was likely to be done before the end of the year.
A decision on the matter is not directly linked to the EU free trade agreement negotiations but was understood to be likely coupled to the talks.
The Salisbury MP said he “can’t say what the outcome will be” when directly asked if there was a risk of financial equivalence turning into “an on-going
“We have co-operated fully with that process and completed all the forms the European Commission requested.
“They haven’t come back with any questions on that and that was four or five months ago now.”
1.12pm update: UK will not change negotiating position
Commenting on the current Brexit negotiations, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the UK will not change its stance.
He said: “We want to try and reach a free-trade agreement as soon as possible.
“But we have been clear that we won’t change our negotiating position and we have been clear what that position is.
” Although there has been some progress there still remain divergences on the issues of fisheries and level-playing field.”
Brexit: EU warned of no deal ‘problems’ by fishing chief
Brexit will almost certainly go to the wire as politicians “eyeball” each other in a bid to get the best deal for their side, a trade unionist told Express.co.uk.
Paul Embery, a trade unionist and “Blue Labour” member told Express.co.uk that a deal would almost certainly be reached at the last minute as politicians on either side look to see who crumbles under the pressure first.
“My daily life was being involved in negotiations in industrial relations and, while I’m not suggesting it was on the same scale as the Brexit negotiations, the crucial negotiations always go down to the wire.
“It’s always about posturing and eyeballing each other, it’s a game of poker that’s the truth of it.
“I suspect there will be a deal, I suspect the deal will be done quite late on, at the eleventh-hour, because I think it’s in the interests of both sides for a deal to be done.”
Brexit Live: Brexit endgame (Image: Express)
Brussels is facing the possibility of both Hungary and Poland leaving the bloc after seeing the UK depart.
Commenting on the future of the two states within the bloc, one diplomat admitted the idea of leaving the bloc has now become more of a possibility for states.
The diplomat told Politico: "It starts to look like the governments in Hungary and Poland have finally decided to turn their backs on the EU and the other member states.
"If they continue to block the EU budget and recovery package, less and less people would actually miss them."
10.45am update: Michel Barnier insists determination remains
Speaking today, the bloc’s chief negotiator said there were reasons for the two sides to push forward with talks.
Despite the areas of divergence remaining, he said: “There are reasons for determination.”
Dominic Raab insisted a Brexit trade deal can be agreed next week as long as Brussels shows “pragmatism and good faith”.
In an interview yesterday, the Foreign Secretary said there was “a deal to be done” within days after months of wrangling over the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
But he warned that fishing quotas remained “a major bone of contention” which may scupper the agreement.
He said: “On fishing there’s a point of principle – as we leave the EU we’re going to be an independent coastal state and we’ve got to be able to control our waters.”
Brexit Live: Negotiations timeline (Image: Express)
Ireland has blamed Britain for the Brexit trade talks going down to the wire for refusing to extend the transition period beyond the end of the year.
In an interview, foreign minister Simon Coveney hit back at the claims the European Union's refusal to drop demands over access to Britain's fishing grounds and common standards had drawn out the wrangling.
But he insisted a deal was still possible despite both sides' disagreements on the main sticking points.
Mr Coveney said: "The British Government was offered a much longer transition period and they turned it down yet they’re now blaming the EU for it. That’s just ridiculous.
“They were very clear that they didn’t want any more time despite the fact the EU was asking them to ask for it.
“The decision on the timelines is very much a British Government decision, not an EU one.
"I do think a deal is possible but it needs to be finalised this week if possible because we really are running out of time."
Brexit live: Michel Barnier returned to London (Image: PA)
8.51am update: EU delay putting pressure on British motorists
The EU Commission is currently withholding a decision to make British drivers carry a green card when travelling across the Channel.
Brussels has yet to make a decision on whether to remove the need for drivers to carry insurance documentation when they cross the Channel after January 1.
If Brussels doesn’t grant the waiver, drivers could have their vehicles impounded by the police.
A waiver could be granted to UK drivers but the EU has not changed its stance despite British officials putting in a request two years ago.
8.25am update: “Time is running out”
Speaking today, Environment Secretary, George Eustice claimed the UK needs to get a “breakthrough” in this week’s talks.
Although the two sides are now running out of time to agree a deal before the end of the transition period on January 1, he stated Lord Frost was still hopeful a deal could be completed.
He told Sky: “We really are now running out of time, this is the crucial week, we need to get a breakthrough.
"I really do think we are now into the final week or 10 days, of course if great progress were made this week and you're nearly there it's always possible to extend those negotiations.
“David Frost had made clear that we're continuing the negotiations because we still think there is a prospect that we can get an agreement and while there is we should persevere with those.”
Brexit Live: Talks will resume this week in order to agree a deal (Image: PA)
Brexit Live: EU fishing stocks (Image: Express)
7.36am update: Government to announce seven-year plan for farming
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, will announce the UK’s seven-year plan for British farming post-Brexit today.
Mr Eustice will announce a system which allows farming to be centred on sustainable practices.
It will be announced farming will lead to a boost for animal stock standards and the biggest change in farming in 50 years, The Times reports.
7.18am update: EU panic sets in over fisheries access
Ahead of this week’s talks in London, EU ministers have reminded Michel Barnier of the need to continue access to UK waters.
Due to the reliance on Britain’s waters, Flemish Fisheries Minister, Hilder Crevits claimed it is essential for Mr Barnier to uphold current access.
She added: “The fisheries sector in Flanders is a small but important sector.
"It is very important that access to British waters is maintained in the future and that the current quota system is also maintained."
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