The EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier has stuck by his demands as Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes for last minute concessions to push a deal over the line. Brussels has demanded that the UK keep its fishing waters open to European vessels, with the UK hoping for more control over its waters. French President Emmanuel Macron has issued stark warnings to Mr Johnson, claiming that the EU will not compromise. Last month, an EU source told the Times that Paris could emerge as the stumbling block that holds up a deal.
They said: “Boris keeps saying that a deal is ‘oven ready’ but Barnier will not want to come to leaders with any half-baked detail, especially on fish.
“That can be dangerous and unpredictable as we learnt in Austria. Macron is on a short fuse.”
European Affairs Minister in France, Clement Beaune, sparked more concern when he said France will push for access to UK waters.
He said: “Our fishermen will not be a bargaining chip for Brexit, they will not have to pay the price for Britain’s choices.”
Mr Beaune echoed this in an interview with France 24 in October.
He said: “We want to stick to a very simple principle that we have been repeating.
“Not only Paris, but the EU in general and Michel Barnier the negotiator.
“It’s a sovereign decision from the UK to leave the EU, I don’t think it’s a good decision in my personal opinion, but that’s a democratic choice that we do respect.
“But when you leave you have consequences, you cannot ask for basically full access to the single market and not have what we call a level playing field.”
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The withdrawal agreement has also been pinpointed by some Brexiteers as the reason why progress has suffered during Brexit trade talks.
Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, told Express.co.uk in the summer that Theresa May had left the UK in a difficult situation.
He said: “The fact is the EU has been spoiled during the negotiations for the withdrawal agreement by Theresa May.
“Now they have David Frost to deal with, who is consistent.
“I’ve always argued that we wouldn’t get any sense out of the EU on the negotiations and the transition period until all hope of an extension was extinguished, which I think it just about is now.
“Now they have accepted we are leaving the transition period in December, the real negotiations can start.”