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Fishing emerges as a hurdle as Brexit talks enter key part

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Two weeks of talks start as France resists UK bid to exchange fishing quotas that London says unfairly favour EU fleets.

The stage is ready for a showdown on Brexit at a European Union summit subsequent week.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s reluctance to make concessions on fish is stirring concern amongst officers he may sink efforts to succeed in a wider commerce accord as negotiators start on Monday a two-week interval of intense talks.

That follows Saturday’s name between Boris Johnson and European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen. The 2 sides are nervous that main compromises on the important thing disagreements of fishing rights and state help are nonetheless to be made, officers mentioned.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will talk about Brexit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday too, an indication the bloc is weighing the place it could actually and might’t make concessions.

“We’re going into the final levels of those talks with a constructive perspective,” German Overseas Minister Heiko Maas instructed reporters in Berlin after his personal assembly with Barnier. “We nonetheless desire a resolution however after all there are areas which for us are crucial.”

Officers say Macron holds the important thing if the EU’s place is to melt.

The fishing business might signify solely a tiny proportion of the French and U.Okay. economies, nevertheless it has assumed out-sized political significance within the discussions.

The EU has mentioned there could be no wider commerce deal with out an accord on what entry EU boats should British waters.

Britain sees the difficulty as a matter of sovereignty and desires to exchange a quota system it says unfairly favors EU fishermen with a collection of annual negotiations that will be extra favorable to the U.Okay.. Macron, conscious of his nation’s home fishing fleet, has strongly resisted.

Johnson instructed von der Leyen he needs to know if a deal is feasible by Oct. 15 — the identical day that Macron and his 26 fellow EU leaders are attributable to maintain a summit in Brussels throughout the street from the place the Brexit negotiations will probably be going down.

Most EU nations and the European Fee, which is negotiating with the U.Okay. on the bloc’s behalf, are recognized to favor a softer place than Macron and concern that his hard-line stance may scupper possibilities of a wider deal.

At a gathering of leaders final week, senior officers talked down prospects of an settlement for that reason, regardless of a comparatively upbeat evaluation from Johnson and von der Leyen a day later.

Speaking Nonetheless

Negotiations will resume in London this week and proceed in Brussels.

If there’s nonetheless no deal by Oct. 15, Macron is more likely to come below strain from his fellow leaders on the summit to again down, officers mentioned.

However neither facet needs the discussions to play out like this. The U.Okay. as a result of it needs a conclusion earlier than then. The EU as a result of it needs to talk on Brexit with one voice.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Johnson mentioned a cope with the EU is “there to be carried out,” however warned of “troublesome points” which might be but to be resolved. Whereas he doesn’t wish to go away and not using a deal “we will greater than dwell with it” and “prosper mightily,” he mentioned.

Negotiators additionally have to make progress on the difficulty of subsidies to enterprise, with the EU demanding the U.Okay. supplies a clearer set of rules that will limit state help, with a legally enforceable dispute decision mechanism.

If the 2 sides can’t attain an settlement by the year-end, Britain will go away the EU’s single market and customs union and not using a commerce deal in place.

That would depart thousands and thousands of customers and enterprise grappling with disruption and extra prices as tariffs and quotas are reimposed for the primary time in a technology.

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