No agreement has been reached between the EU and UK on how to share access to fishing waters and markets, the European Commission has said. Other sticking points include a level playing field for trade and settling disputes.
“We have not yet found a solution on fisheries,” a commission spokesman told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday. “We are not there yet.”
The UK’s Brexit transition period ends on December 31, and trade deal discussions center on what access EU boats will have to UK fishing waters, while London wants “control” of its seas. The EU is pushing for a compromise on fisheries in return for granting the UK access to the EU’s energy market.
The other two most persistent disagreements are the issues of a level competitive playing field for business and a dispute resolution mechanism.
The talks have reportedly intensified this week in Brussels as the two sides push to seal a new post-Brexit trade deal by November 15.
The level playing field issue is far from concluded, however, despite some progress, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday. “If there is not a basic set of rules around fair competition… and if there is not a governance structure that can deal with disputes, then in my view there will not be a trade deal,” he said. However, Coveney is still confident the impasse can be overcome and a ‘no-deal’ outcome averted.
As the two sides try to salvage free trade, a row over the UK’s Internal Market Bill continues. The EU has launched legal action against the country over new legislation which the bloc says undercuts the earlier divorce agreement.
Brussels had given the UK one month to reply. A spokesman for PM Boris Johnson confirmed on Tuesday, however, that London has not sent a reply to a formal notice from the European Commission.
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