The French president asked EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to maintain his firm stance on continued access to UK waters for EU fisheries under current conditions. But after months of trade negotiations, Brussels and the UK remain at odds on the issue just weeks from the end of the European transition period.
Now Lord Hague has warned France and other EU countries that it would be wrong to assume Boris Johnson has the political capacity to bend to their will on fisheries.
He wrote in an opinion piece today: “President Macron and others could easily misunderstand Boris Johnson’s leeway on this issue.
“History will not judge them with kindness if there is no agreement on the insistence that the rights to fish in another country’s seas can hardly be changed. ”
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Lord Hague understands better than anyone the difficulties the Prime Minister faces in convincing his MPs that he has achieved a good trade deal with the EU.
Between 1997 and 2001, Lord Hague was the leader of the Tories and was tasked with keeping the party united amid infighting and factions.
After years of Tory backbench rebellions over House of Commons votes on Brexit, Mr Johnson faces the challenge of making a deal that will be backed in a vote by his MPs.
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“Seen in this light, the EU’s offers to increase Britain’s share of the catch by small percentages do not amount to much. ”
It is understood that last week Mr Barnier made an offer to David Frost, his British counterpart, to increase Britain’s fishing prices from 15 to 18 percent. I order to force an agreement.
No10 immediately rejected the proposed compromise, calling it “laughable”.
There are only a few days left to strike a deal in time for it to be ratified before the end of the transition period on December 31.
But with no sign of progress in sight, Lord Hague called on the Prime Minister and EU leaders to step in to strike a deal, warning that it would be “a failure of political policy” not to find a solution.
He said: “It is surely time for the Prime Minister and his European counterparts to speak out and resolve the remaining differences in a way their people have a right to expect”.