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Brexit news: EU about to cave? Barnier admits UK needs to ‘control own waters’ | Politics | News

Mr Barnier said today the EU remained committed to achieving “a fair, reciprocal and balanced agreement” but said both sides needed to be able to act when their interests were at stake. His comments came after a UK Government source warned that the negotiations would fail unless there was a “substantial shift” in the EU’s position in the remaining days of the talks. The British side has accused the EU of making “unreasonable demands” by not backing down over fishing rights and fair competition rules amid the end of the transition period ending on December 31.

Mr Barnier appeared to be showing a sign of weakness as he said the talks with the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost were at a “crucial moment”, but added the UK  .

He tweeted: “The EU remains committed to a fair, reciprocal and balanced agreement. We respect the sovereignty of the UK. And we expect the same.

“Both the EU and the UK must have the right to set their own laws and control their own waters. And we should both be able to act when our interests are at stake.”

His comments sparked a flurry of debate on social media about whether this showed the EU could back down. 

One person tweeted: “The UK fish in its waters and the eu fish in their waters, there is nothing that respects sovereignty more.”

Another added: “The EU have never negotiated in good faith!”

A third social media user said the UK should have its own independent rules.

They posted: “If they are British waters we have the right to do what we like.”

READ MORE: EU poised to trigger no deal TONIGHT: Brexit talks to collapse

“We cannot accept a deal that doesn’t leave us in control of our own laws or waters.

“We’re continuing to try every possible path to an agreement but without a substantial shift from the Commission we will be leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms on December 31.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he believed a deal was still possible but said it would require movement on the EU side.

“We want these talks to reach a positive conclusion. I think everybody wants a deal. Unfortunately, the EU have put in some unreasonable demands,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.

“I’m sure that a deal can be done but obviously it needs movement on the EU side.”

The European Parliament has said the talks need to be concluded by Sunday evening if it is to ratify any deal before the transition ends.

However, EU leaders could provisionally sign off on any agreement, which would leave ratification to 2021. 

The UK is also expecting the talks to continue a few days longer in the week leading up to Christmas.

If there is no deal by December 31, the UK will leave the single market and customs union and begin trading with the EU on WTO terms.

This could lead to the imposition of tariffs potentially leading to higher prices in the shops.



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