The EU has been accused of having an “absurd” position on fishing rights, claiming to maintain the status quo in a post-Brexit scenario, claims a political scientist.
Eurasia Group’s Mujtaba Rahman tweeted: “The UK got a lot wrong in these negotiations, but the EU’s position on fish is absurd. Basically it says: “Everything changes because of Brexit, but it stays the same for fish”. This was in response to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who tweeted: “The moment of truth.
“To get a deal we need significant steps from our British friends in the coming days.
“This is not just an Irish problem.
“This is a European one.”
A Twitter follower of Mr Rahman tweeted: “The EU line on fish appears to be an irrational position for appealing to political lobbies rather than for economy or practicality.
“If the UK does that we call it normal politics.
“When the EU does it, both those who leave and those who stay seem to be surprised.”
Another of Mr Rahman’s Twitter followers disagreed.
They tweeted, “I disagree this time.
“The EU has accepted that Britain will become an independent coastal state.
“The French, Dutch, Belgians and Danes do not accept the idea that a supposedly friendly UK post Brexit should radically reduce access to ancient fisheries and destroy their fishing industry.
“Should also include Ireland.
“Further access to British waters is vital for Irish fishermen.”
There is an abundance of fish in UK waters and the UK wants to restrict access to EU vessels and renegotiate fishing rights every year.
The EU refused to step down on this point and wants to maintain equal access to UK waters.
Right now, tensions over fishing rights could undo a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK.
On Wednesday, EU chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, said: “If we want an agreement, we have to reach an agreement on fisheries.
“We need a compromise that we can bring to Britain under an overall agreement.”
Both the EU and the UK have proposed numerous deadlines to expedite a Brexit trade deal.
In early September, Boris Johnson proposed a deadline of October 15 for a free trade agreement with the EU.
However, this deadline was brought forward when the Prime Minister and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, set a new date for October 3rd.
The EU also proposed a deadline of September 30th for the UK to remove its single market billing provisions that contradict the Northern Ireland Protocol.
All of these deadlines, except October 15, have expired and little progress has been made in key areas that hamper a trade deal, including fishing rights.