Tuesday 22 December 2020 5:32 pm

Brexit: Barnier says progress made but fisheries still holding up deal

Michel Barnier has told EU Ambassadors that progress has been made towards a Brexit deal, according to multiple reports.

However, fisheries remains the key stumbling block and as a result there is now doubt that a deal will be ready in time for the December 31 deadline.

Barnier is reported to have said that his offer on fisheries – that the EU would hand over 25 per cent of the value of fish caught in water by EU boats – is non-negotiable.

The UK is said to have demanded 35 per cent.

Read more: City analysts await Brexit deal that makes too much sense not to do

He also is said to have told diplomats that the deal excludes access to a buffer zone between 6 and 12 miles from the UK coast.

There are 6,000 fishing boats in the United Kingdom. The European Fisheries Alliance, which represents fisherman in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and vitally France, represents around 18,000 fishermen.

The European Union’s population, excluding the UK, is 446m.

Earlier Barnier said it was time for a “final push” on negotiations and rubbished any possibility of an extension to the transition period.

The UK “will leave” the customs union on December 31.

Read more: One ‘final push’ for a deal, says Barnier