The firm stance of French President Emmanuel Macron on fisheries remains the main stumbling block in the deadlock in Brexit negotiations. A Bloomberg reporter asked Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath whether Mr Macron “has to give up a substantial slice of fish to get this deal done.” The Irish minister replied that the Irish economy depended on an ongoing trade deal, and urged “the movement on fishing to get a deal on the line”.
Mr McGrath said: “Well, I welcome the fact that talks have now resumed.
“From an Irish perspective, concluding a trade deal is in our economic interest and it is also in the economic interest of the UK. ”
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The Irish minister continued: “We want to avoid the scenario of a trade deal on January 1.
“This would have an extremely disruptive impact on the UK economy, on the Irish economy and to varying degrees on the economies of individual EU countries. ”
“There will have to be movement to get a deal on the line. ”
It comes amid groundbreaking claims that Emmanuel Macron is setting the stage for an embarrassing drop in demands from French fisheries.
Macron recently issued a hard line on fishing, saying France would not accept any Brexit pact that “sacrifices our fishermen”.
He rejected London’s demand for annual negotiations on fishing quotas in UK waters and said Boris Johnson had to compromise on fishing if the UK wanted a deal.
However, under pressure from the leaders of Brussels and other EU member states, Mr Macron is about to turn around.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said this week he “was not worried about anything other than the fish”.