Brexit Fury: Barnier BLOCKS fisheries talks until Britain relaxes ‘unrealistic’ demands

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Britain is keen to move on and progress talks. However, Mr Barnier will not open up talks until the UK budges on other issues, it has emerged. The chief negotiator is insisting on “parallelism” – where multiple aspects on a range of issues must be agreed before moving forward.

Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU are at deadlock despite a desire by both sides to secure a deal before the transition period runs out on December 31.

Mr Barnier, is meeting David Frost, the UK’s lead negotiator, in London on Tuesday.

The pair will be meeting outside of the scheduled negotiating timetable to discuss the stagnated talks.

Both sides have expressed they want to secure a deal but red lines have hindered progress.

Mr Frost said there has been “little progress” during trade negotiations with Michel Barnier amid differences on fisheries policy and state aid rules.

The official eighth round of talks will resume in London on Monday September 7.

The UK had wanted a deal done at the end of July.

Mr Barnier says an agreement has to be in place by the end of October for it to be ratified around Europe by the end of the year.

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However, one of the many issues yet to be agreed on is fisheries.

If there is no deal by October, European fishermen will be completely excluded from British waters under international law, causing a devastating impact on their fishing communities.

It came as France’s foreign affairs minister blasted the UK’s Brexit negotiating team.

Jean-Yves le Drian launched a scathing attack on the UK’s negotiating team, saying they have an “uncompromising and unrealistic attitude.”

Mr Drian is one of the first major voices from an EU government to speak out after Mr Barnier started phoning around EU capitals to demand they step in and support him.

During the same address to French ambassadors, the country’s state secretary for Europe, Clement Beaune, said “we’re not moving on our position, we can’t be weak.”

Both sides have accused the other of posing unachievable demands.

Of all the EU leaders Emmanuel Macron has taken the hardest stance with insiders saying the French President believes without a fisheries agreement there can be no trade deal.


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In a speech to French ambassadors based in Europe, Mr Le Drian said: “The negotiations are not advancing because of an intransigent and, let’s be clear, unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom.”

The French minister added the EU was as united as ever in reaching an ambitious Brexit deal but the ball was in Britain’s court.

Meanwhile his German counterpart Heiko Maas said Germany wanted “the closest possible cooperation with Great Britain on foreign and security policy”.

But he warned without “linking this policy with Brussels” other EU countries would be more important in the future.

Mr Frost is expected to express his frustration at Brussels’ refusal to discuss proposals on how to manage fish stocks.

“The EU has always said that fishing is a key issue for resolution but has subsequently declined to discuss it,” a source told The Times.

“We had hoped to make progress and presented room papers.

“But, unfortunately, the EU refused to engage due to their self-imposed requirements.”

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