Europe minister Clement Beaune insisted the bloc should have a “very united and firm position” as the negotiations over a free-trade agreement enter their final phase. Paris is adamant it must retain the same levels of access to British waters for its fishermen as part of any Brexit deal. Rows over fish quotas have been one of the major stumbling blocks to a trade deal.
Arriving at a meeting of EU ministers, Mr Beaune said: “The 27 EU countries need to have a very united and firm position on the priorities of the Brexit negotiation: fishing of course, fair trade to have access to the European market because otherwise we would have an unfair competition not to be accepted by our citizens and companies, and finally, the rule of law.”
His intervention comes after Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has proposed watering down the bloc’s hardline position on fishing opportunities.
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