And to an extent unlikely to impress Brexiteers, Nicolas Bay has also suggested that an extension of the transition period may be needed to secure a deal on the line. Barely a month before the end of the transition period, the issue of post-Brexit fishing rights remains a key sticking point, with Boris Johnson insisting that any deal should allow Britain to regain control of its waters.
“However, as a French parliamentarian and more particularly as an elected representative from the Normandy region, I must remind our British partners that our economic interests, particularly in the area of fishing, are vital, and that we cannot allow us to compromise on certain subjects.
“You wanted to break with the EU to best defend your interests: that’s respectable. But don’t forget that we also have interests. ”
Mr Bay added: “It is up to Boris Johnson’s government to see whether a deal is indeed possible, in which case, for the good of both sides, perhaps an extension of the transition period could be considered.
“But that would require a commitment from both sides to make concessions, details of which will be worked out later.
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He said: “It seems difficult to me. Brussels began with a position which de facto compromised the negotiations: to punish the United Kingdom.
“The delay accumulated because of this political choice is the cause of the current impasse.
“I think the opening of negotiations for a comprehensive agreement should have been made conditional on a compromise on fisheries, which is, as expected, the main problem today.
“Obviously, the sovereign choice of the British people should also have been respected rather than despised.
“It was not the will of the EU: the current situation is its responsibility. ”
Mr Barnier is seeking to break the deadlock by proposing that 15 to 18 per cent of the value of the fishing quota that European fleets catch in UK waters be reinstated in UK, Irish channel RTE reported today .
RTE correspondent Tony Connelly said: “EU vessels catch an average of € 650 million in quota each year in UK waters, which means Barnier’s bid would be worth up to 117 million euros.
“These would be in demersal and pelagic stocks. ”
However, the offer was quickly rejected, with a UK source close to the talks telling Express.co.uk: ‘This is laughable, there is nothing more to say about it. “