The EU has rejected the latest UK offer on fishing but is ready to pursue a post-Brexit trade deal to the end of the year “or beyond”, negotiator Michel Barnier told diplomats on Tuesday.
According to sources who were in a meeting with EU ambassadors, Barnier said he could not guarantee that there would be a deal but that “our door will remain open until the end of the year and beyond, as well”.
“Progress has been made. Most issues are preliminarily closed or close to being agreed. However, differences on fisheries remain difficult to bridge,” said one EU diplomat. “Unfortunately, the EU is not moving enough yet to clinch a deal on fisheries.”
The diplomat, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said EU negotiators were “in a last push” to seal an agreement but added: “The EU will not close its door to the UK and remains ready to negotiate beyond the 1st of January.”
Another diplomat said after Barnier’s comments behind closed doors: “The negotiations are ongoing, the main problem remains fisheries. Neither side seems to want to stop the negotiation.”