UK tells EU that England WILL control the waters after futile Brexit demand
UK negotiators have again refused to budge after EU diplomat Michel Barnier called for a delay in the UK's departure from Brussels rules.
Bitter differences remained over the EU’s demand for unchanged access for European fishing fleets to UK waters and the bloc’s refusal to agree to a free trade deal similar to its existing arrangements with Canada.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Barnier said that “progress this week was disappointing" in four areas, including the EU’s demand for a “level playing field” of regulations, unchanged fishing quotas and a continuing power for the European Court of Justice to intervene in trade disputes.
A UK Government spokesman said: “This was a full and constructive negotiating round, conducted remotely by video conference, and with a full range of discussions across all the issues, on the basis of the extensive legal texts provided by both sides in recent weeks.
“However, limited progress was made in bridging the gaps between us and the EU.
“Our assessment is that there was some promising convergence in the core areas of a Free Trade Agreement, for example on goods and services trade, and related issues such as energy, transport, and civil nuclear cooperation.
“We regret however that the detail of the EU’s offer on goods trade falls well short of recent precedent in FTAs it has agreed with other sovereign countries.
“This considerably reduces the practical value of the zero tariff zero quota aspiration we both share.
“There are also significant differences of principle in other areas. For example we will not make progress on the so called ‘level playing field’ and the governance provisions until the EU drops its insistence on imposing conditions on the UK which are not found in the EU’s other trade agreements and which do not take account of the fact that we have left the EU as an independent state.
“On fisheries, the EU's mandate appears to require us to accept a continuance of the current quotas agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy.
“We will only be able to make progress here on the basis of the reality that the UK will have the right to control access to its waters at the end of this year.
“We now need to move forward in a constructive fashion.
“The UK remains committed to a deal with a free-trade agreement at its core.
“We look forward to negotiating constructively in the next round beginning on 11 May and to finding a balanced overall solution which reflects the political realities on both sides.”