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Thursday, Aug 05, 2021

Britain has ‘much more to lose’ in fishing talks, warns former French minister

Britain has ‘much more to lose’ in fishing talks, warns former French minister

A former French minister has warned the UK that it has “much more to lose” in the event of a no deal Brexit than the EU does, amid continued negotiations over issues including fishing rights.

Nathalie Loiseau, an MEP who was formerly France’s European Affairs Minister, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that talks “are not going well” and there has not been “sufficient progress on key issues”.

The French politician cited disagreements on EU fishing boats’ access to British waters as the chief stumbling block to a post-Brexit trade deal between the two sides.

Ms Louiseau said it remained unclear whether the British government had the political will to “dig into details” to ensure an agreement was reached before the end of the UK’s transition period on 31 December.

“Nobody wants a no deal but we all know as well that the UK has much more to lose because the UK is asking for full access to the single market,” she added.

Her comments come after negotiators failed to reach an “outline” trade deal by Boris Johnson’s self-imposed deadline of 15 October.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab expressed his disappointment on Friday at the position of EU leaders, who said in a joint statement this week that it was up to the UK "to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible”.

Mr Raab told the BBC that the areas of disagreement are “really narrow” and that a deal could be achieved with “flexibility on both sides”.

"It feels a little bit lacking from the European Union,” he added.

Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiation with the bloc, tweeted on Thursday that he was also “disappointed” by the language used by the European Council on Thursday.

He said he was surprised by the suggestion that to achieve an agreement “all future moves” must come from the UK.

The prime minister is expected to give an announcement later on Friday concerning the UK’s reaction and approach to trade talks with the EU.


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