EU to cave on fishing demands! Barnier warns France must compromise in private meeting

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The Brussels negotiator fired the warning shot to France ahead of travelling to London for discussions with UK counterpart Lord Frost. In a private meeting of EU27 ambassadors, Mr Barnier signalled member states had to show more realism on cuts to fishing quotas. “Maintaining the status quo in UK waters will not be feasible,” the Frenchman told the room, according to a source.

“So the most concerned member states will need to explore room to move towards the UK in terms of quota allocation; provided the UK meets the EU on governance and state aid.”

Mr Barnier ignored warnings from Downing Street to have the Brexit deal ready ahead of next week’s summit of European leaders.

He said the EU’s heads of state and governments would take part in a “stock check” of the negotiations.

“It’s not there yet. I will return to London to work on the outstanding issues,” he told the ambassadors.

Yesterday Boris Johnson warned the EU the UK will walk away from trade talks unless there is a breakthrough “very soon”.

The Prime Minister told Charles Michel Britain is committed to reach an agreement and it is in both sides’ interests to find a way to end the deadlock.

During a phone call, he told Mr Michel, the European Council’s president, “although some progress had been made… significant areas of difference remain.”

Mr Michel said the EU also wants a deal “but not at any cost”.

He added: “Time for the UK to put its cards on the table.”

Lord Frost, the Prime Minister’s lead negotiator with the EU, told members of the House of Lords fishing rights remains the “most difficult issue remaining” in trade talks with the bloc.

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He said he will advise the Prime Minister by October 15 on whether a deal looks doable.

“As we approach October 15, and it is very close already, I will have to advise the Prime Minister on whether the conditions in his statement have been met or not and we will have to consider the situation at that point,” he said.

The peer even hinted at a possible concession on state subsides that could end months of deadlock.

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He said the UK could go beyond the mechanisms that feature in the country’s newly-minted trade deal with Japan.

“They must be proportionate, aimed at bringing about a degree of change in behaviour, they must be the right instruments for the purpose. And you should not in general subsidise if there are negative effects on trade and investment,” he said.

“Those are all commitments we are willing to make, and are important parts of a good subsidy system looking at the traditions we have in this country.”

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