No deal Brexit just 24 HOURS away – Trade talks on the brink as Boris’s deadline looms
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Chief negotiator Lord Frost will update the Prime Minister tomorrow (WED) on whether there is a realistic chance of an agreement being reached.
It comes as allies of French president Emmanuel Macron threatened to derail a deal unless the nation’s fishing fleets are given the same access to British waters as they have now.
Rows over fish quotas have been one of the major stumbling blocks in the negotiations.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear in his talks with European leaders that time is in short supply.”
Downing Street said the government is racing to reach agreement by October 15, the next summit of EU leaders and the date Brussels negotiator Michel Barnier has previously insisted is the final deadline.
Lord Frost is in Brussels for talks with his EU counterpart to find a way to end the deadlock.
Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the PM wants a deal but is prepared to walk away on world trade rules.
He said: “We will work as hard as we can to see if we can get an agreement by October 15.
“The EU themselves indicated to the UK negotiating team in July that mid-October was the last possible moment for a deal.”
“We are committed to working hard this week to seek to bridge the gaps that remain, in particular on fisheries and the level-playing field.”
British demands for full control over fishing access has infuriated France.
Mr Macron’s allies threatened to block a deal unless EU fishermen are guaranteed “continuous access to British waters and fish”.
French MEPs Nathalie Loiseau and Pierre Karleskind are pushing European Parliament colleagues to vote down any trade agreement unless it contains the pledge.
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In a leaked memo, seen by the Daily Express, they set out plans to issue a public threat to heap pressure on Mr Johnson.
Before any post-Brexit deal can enter into force it must be ratified by the EU Parliament.
Ms Loiseau, a former European affairs minister, and Mr Karleskind, chairman of the EU Parliament’s fisheries committee, are both members of Mr Macron’s En Marche party.
They wrote: “These negotiations are coming to an end; the UK and EU realise that there is very little time left to find an agreement. We, as representatives of our fellow citizens, must protect their interest and this will be our sole guideline when we vote on the outcome of the negotiations.
“We have been crystal clear so far and will continue to be: there won’t be a free trade agreement without a balanced, sustainable and long-term agreement on fisheries.
“There is nothing that would change our minds, let’s not reverse the logic of our negotiations.
“A future partnership agreement makes sense only if it protects the interests of the signatories, there is no doubt that the UK will be losing some benefits by leaving the single market, but this was the choice it made.
“Threatening the European fisheries sector won’t make the doors of the single market open wider. Why should European fishermen suffer the consequences of a decision, Brexit, they were not part of?
“The EU negotiating stance is simple and transparent: to protect the interests of EU citizens and businesses, by no means to undermine them. The fisheries sector is no exception.”
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