German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned fellow European Union members they need to be more realistic in accepting the UK’s negotiating position on fishing and trade talks ahead of tomorrow’s critical summit of leaders, reports The Times.
Germany, which currently holds the EU presidency, said Brussels had to accept that any deal must be in the interests of both the UK and the EU.
Merkel’s comments came as British sources blamed EU divisions and sabre-rattling by France for missing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deadline to find agreement in time for tomorrow’s EU leaders summit.
‘Don’t divide us’
Meanwhile Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth and European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič have accused the UK of trying to divide the EU by ‘bilateralising’ some of the talks with individual member states, Politico reports.
Roth said that little progress had been made ahead of Thursday 15 October, and insisted that the 27 EU nations remained united in their aims to get a deal.
“We have stressed that a ‘no-deal’ scenario for both sides will be very painful,” he said. “However, for our British friends it will be more painful than for the European Union.”
France resolute on fishing
On fisheries, tensions could be rising between Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, with Paris stating it will not allow its fishermen to be sacrificed to a deal, according to the Telegraph.
Fishing was a key element of last weekend’s conversation between Boris Johnson and Macron, with both stressing its importance to their nations. Clément Beaune, a close ally of Mr Macron, said: “We will have no weakness on this issue of fisheries, that is clear.”
He said that Paris would not allow French fishermen to be sacrificed in order to get the free trade agreement over the line - as the French government urged businesses to prepare for all scenarios, including no deal.
The EU chief negotiator has said Michel Barnier still thinks there’s time for a deal but is unimpressed by the deadlines set by Boris Johnson, commenting that the October 15 deadline, which has now been postponed, was the “third unilateral deadline that Johnson has imposed without agreement,” reports the Guardian.