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Talks stalled yet again this week with the UK and EU failing to break the deadlock on the areas of divergence – fisheries, state aid and the dispute mechanism. With time ticking for the two sides to sign a free trade agreement, Mr Farage has claimed the Prime Minister does not have the “courage” to say no to a bad deal. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Farage insisted the Prime Minister must step in to aid talks in order to stop the UK being tied into EU regulations and rules post-Brexit.
The Brexit Party leader said: “If ever there was a moment, the Prime Minister to step in and make sure we got a good deal it literally is within these next few days, because afterwards, it’ll be too late.”
He added: “I think that the mood music suggests to me that the American election has changed the dynamic of this in quite a big way.
“I don’t think Boris has got the courage to say no to a bad deal because he fears he’ll look friendless, stuck in the mid-Atlantic, ostracized by the EU, and by a potentially incoming American administration.
“I think for all of those reasons, we are likely to sign up to a series of measures that mean we’re not really as free as we want to be.”
This week, Michel Barnier issued an ultimatum for the UK to change its stance on the areas of divergence.
Unless the UK’s stance was changed, he argued talks would fail to proceed.
The Brussels negotiator did offer the UK a fisheries compromise which would surrender 15-18 percent of fish caught in British waters.
The proposal was rejected by the UK as it would still allow EU fleets 80 percent of their current catch in British waters.
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A source told the Express.co.uk: “It’s derisory, there’s nothing more to say about it.”
Like the UK-Norway fishing deal, British officials want an agreement with the EU whereby annual negotiations take place to decipher quotas shares and access.
As reiterated by the Prime Minister today, the UK’s position remains that Britain is a sovereign state and must control access.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Our negotiating principle remains that we will become an independent coastal state and we will retain control of our fisheries.
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“The talks will resume over the weekend on a face to face basis.
“We remain committed to seeking a free-trade agreement but that must fully respect UK sovereignty.
“At this late stage, a deal is still possible and we are working to achieve one.
“We’ll continue to negotiate over the weekend to that end.”
Mr Barnier is now travelling back to London for talks this weekend in order to break the deadlock.
EU sources are becoming increasingly concerned a trade agreement will not be agreed in time for it to then be ratified by the European Parliament.
Due to its nature, the agreement will need to be ratified by national governments across the bloc.
As a result of this lengthy process, the EU’s co-ordination group is drawing up plans to speed up the ratification process before the end of the transition period on January 1.
One proposal could be asking national governments to pass the trade agreement before ratifying the deal later on, like the Canada-EU trade deal.
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