Brexit: UK and EU ‘close to a compromise on fishing rights’


Brexit breakthrough? The UK and EU ‘are close to a compromise on fishing rights’ that could allow them to seal a trade deal within WEEKS

  • They are reported to be closing in on a compromise that would allow a deal 
  • Bloomberg said it would allow UK boats to catch more fish after December 31
  • But it would also defer decision on EU boat quotas to prevent No Deal departure

European Union and British Brexit negotiators are set to continue talks in Brussels this week. Michel Barnier pictured

Britain and the EU are said to be close to an agreement on post-Brexit fishing rights that would allow a trade deal to be struck at the 11th hour.

The two sides are reported to be closing in on a compromise that would allow the UK to keep its promise to take back control of its territorial waters while allowing EU boats some access.

While fishing forms a small part of the UK economy, its symbolic importance has seen it emerge as one of the key sticking points between the two sides.

Now they are said to be examining a plan using ‘zonal attachment’, where quotas are set based on calculations of the fish stocks in either side’s waters, Bloomberg reported.

This would allow British boats to catch significantly more fish than they currently do, and it would also defer decisions on exact quotas for EU boats – mainly French – until after a deal is done. 

European Union and British Brexit negotiators are set to continue talks in Brussels this week, in a sign both sides are still pushing to avoid a damaging breakdown in trade when a transition period ends on December 31.

While fishing forms a small part of the UK economy, its symbolic importance has seen it emerge as one of the key sticking points between the two sides.

While fishing forms a small part of the UK economy, its symbolic importance has seen it emerge as one of the key sticking points between the two sides.

France's Europe minister yesterday warned the UK to look at the 'big picture' yesterday over the chances of a deal on fish. Paris has been the key driving force behind attempts to allow EU boats to continue fishing in British waters after December

France’s Europe minister yesterday warned the UK to look at the ‘big picture’ yesterday over the chances of a deal on fish. Paris has been the key driving force behind attempts to allow EU boats to continue fishing in British waters after December

France’s Europe minister yesterday warned the UK to look at the ‘big picture’ yesterday over the chances of a deal on fish.  Paris has been the key driving force behind attempts to allow EU boats to continue fishing in British waters after December.

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme Clement Beaune said: ‘We do know that if there is no deal there will be no access legally to the British waters for our fishermen. We do know this. That’s also why we would like a deal. 

‘But you also have to look at the big picture. If there is no deal there is no access to the EU market for the UK which I think if not in the UK’s interests. So let’s be balanced, let’s be clear, not play tactics or games, we have common interests in striking a deal. 

‘It’s in the EU and UK interest and more in the UK interests I’m afraid to strike a deal.’

Sterling fell to an almost four-week low against the dollar this morning after Boris Johnson announced the new national lockdown for England, but analysts said hopes for a Brexit deal prevented a bigger drop for the currency. 

Sterling was 0.5 per cent lower at $1.2887 by 9.30am, after earlier touching its lowest level since Oct. 07 at $1.2854. Versus the euro, the pound was down 0.6 per cent at 90.40p .

But analysts said the impact on sterling of the announcement of a second national lockdown in England would be worse if investors weren’t already positioning for a Brexit deal.

“I would say there is perhaps less anxiety about the lockdown… because it’s been offset to some point by the expectation that in a couple of weeks time there may be a Brexit deal,” said Jane Foley, head of FX strategy at Rabobank. 

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