Britain is open to a sensible approach on fisheries, its environment secretary said on Monday, as London and the European Union begin a new round of Brexit talks.
“There are still differences, there are still some obstacles to overcome,” British Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky, adding, however, that there is now “some good will on both sides to progress things.”
London and Brussels are beginning a fresh round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal in London, and state aid rules and fisheries are still among the main stumbling blocks.
However, Eustice said: “On fisheries we’ve always been open to doing a sensible approach, looking potentially at agreements that might span a couple, three years for instance.”
The environment minister explained that the two sides are discussing “what are the sharing arrangements, how much mutual access do we allow in one another’s waters.” Such a discussion “will happen annually,” Eustice said, noting that a partnership agreement could set out the ground rules.
Britain’s House of Lords will, also on Monday, debate PM Boris Johnson’s Internal Market Bill. The legislation would allow the UK to undercut parts of the 2020 Brexit divorce deal, and the EU has already voiced its opposition to the plan. Eustice added that the government would reinstate certain clauses if they were removed from the bill by the House of Lords.
On Sunday, Johnson claimed he’s always been a “great enthusiast” for a trade deal with the EU. “I think it’s there to be done, the broad outlines are pretty clear. We just need to get on and do it if we can,” he told reporters.
Johnson spoke with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday. They agreed to continue talks, but acknowledged “significant differences” remain.
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