Brexit: French fisherman warns of no deal 'complications'
Post-Brexit trade deals with the EU are heading for collapse, as both Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admit a no deal Brexit is now the most likely outcome after months of negotiations. Leaving the bloc on WTO terms will be celebrated by some Brexiteers but many experts have warned a no deal could cause huge job losses and send the UK economy into a further downward spiral.
A number of EU leaders have been heavily involved in the talks, most notably French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, chief negotiator Michel Barnier and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
But which European do you think is to blame for the failure to negotiate a trade deal?
President Macron has been a fierce opponent to any concessions on fishing rights, an area which has proved to be a major stumbling block in the talks.
The Frenchman wants to ensure the EU keeps its existing access to UK fishing waters but Britain is determined to limit access to its sovereign waters.
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Currently around two-thirds of the fish caught in British territorial waters are taken by European boats.
Throughout the talks President Macron has refused any change to the current arrangements, saying he won’t abandon the country’s fishermen.
His hardline stance has made it difficult for the EU to agree a compromise with the UK over fishing rights.
Mr Barnier has been the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator since October 2016.
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The politician, also from France, has also not made things easy for the UK during the lengthy negotiations.
The chief negotiator has been determined not to offer the UK major concessions and once famously told Downing Street “you cannot have your cake and eat it too”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also been involved in the talks.
In recent weeks she has backed a tougher line in the negotiations.
Ms Merkel said German businesses could not be expected to compete under the conditions insisted on by the UK.
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This remark refers to the so-called “level playing field” demand on regulations which would keep the UK tied to existing EU standards.
But Britain wants freedom to diverge from European regulation, something the bloc is heavily opposed.
Speaking in the Bundestag on Wednesday, Ms Merkel told her MPs: “We must have a level playing field not just for today, but we must have one for tomorrow or the day after, and to do this we must have agreements on how one can react if the other changes their legal situation.
“Otherwise there will be unfair competitive conditions that we cannot ask of our companies.”
Ms von der Leyen took over as European Commission President last December.
Ever since she has led the EU’s stance in the negotiations and held several one-to-one meetings with Boris Johnson.
Most recently the two leaders met for dinner in Brussels on Wednesday evening, where they both gave their negotiators until Sunday to try to break the Brexit impasse.
Both leaders have since warned a no deal Brexit is on the horizon.
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