EU warns no post-Brexit trade deal without reciprocal access for fishermen

PUBLISHED: 11:19 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 February 2020

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier talks to journalists during a news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier talks to journalists during a news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

The EU’s Brexit negotiator has emphasised it will link any access to its market for British products directly to the access that EU boats will be given to UK waters.

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Michel Barnier underscored the difficulties of the trade negotiations with Britain ahead for the rest of the year when he highlighted the small but emblematic fisheries industry, which was a key issue in the protracted Brexit process in the United Kingdom too.

He told France Inter radio that "there will be no trade deal with the British if there is no reciprocal access deal for our fishermen".

Barnier said "we will negotiate access to the British territorial waters for European fishermen at the same time that we negotiate access to European markets for British fisheries products.

"I hope I make myself clear."

MORE: Brexiteer urges EU not to 'punish British fish for their Brexit stance'

The EU is willing to grant the UK the fullest possible access to its lucrative market of some 450 million consumers but only if Britain abides by EU standards on such things state aid, social legislation or environmental protections.

Boris Johnson has already indicated he does not want to make a binding commitment to remain in line with EU law, saying it was an essential principle in the move to walk away from the Union.

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