Brexit: Michael Gove says MP is 'bang on' about fishing rights
Leaders of the 27 EU member states dined in the Belgian capital this evening after concluding day one of the final European Council summit of the year. Officials were treated to a three-course menu, which included a main of pan-seared filet of Sea bass.
It comes just 24 hours after Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen were given a starter of scallops and a main course of steamed turbot during their crunch talks on Wednesday.
Fishing remains one the key stumbling blocks towards a post-Brexit trade deal between the two sides – with the EU seeking to gain access to the UK’s waters beyond December 31.
The sight of fish on the menu once again has triggered a wave of responses from users on social media, who could not resist taunting the bloc.
Reacting to the menu on Twitter, one user wrote: “Better eat the fish while it’s still available I suppose. Ticktock.”
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Another user said: “Hope they enjoy the last of the sea bass.”
A third commented: “May I suggest British fish & French fries.”
Meanwhile, a fourth simply said: “So they love their fish. That’s why there is a big ho-ha.”
Following the meeting last night, Ms von der Leyen outlined four areas where short-term agreements could be reached in the event of no deal – including fishing.
The EU is understood to have offered the UK a series of trade-offs to enable aerial and road trade to continue and allow EU fishermen access to UK waters in the event of no deal.
The EU Commission President also opened the door for the UK to remain in the single market – something the UK has vowed to leave to become an independent trading nation.
She said: “I had a very long conversation yesterday night with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“It was a good conversation but it is difficult. We are willing to grant access to the single market to our British friends – it is the largest single market in the world.
“But the conditions have to be fair. They have to be fair for our workers and for our companies, and this fine balance of fairness has not been achieved so far.
“Our negotiators are still working and we will take a decision on Sunday.”
The Prime Minister has vowed to exhaust all possible options in order to reach an agreement with Brussels.
Mr Johnson did, however, warn it would be up to the EU to compromise and explained the “deal on the table is really not at the moment right” amid fears the UK could be bound by EU rules.
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As a result, the Prime Minister has told his Cabinet to increase no deal planning in order to leave the bloc on Australian-style terms on December 31.
He said: “So what I told the Cabinet this evening is to get on and make those preparations.
“We’re not stopping talks, we’ll continue to negotiate but looking at where we are I do think it’s vital that everyone now gets ready for that Australian option.”
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