The EU demanded yesterday the UK offer 10 years of unfettered access to British fishing waters in an attempt to secure a deal. The Government responded with frustration as the deadlock shows no sign of breaking. The UK replied to the demand yesterday, with a senior Government source telling the Telegraph: “Their new offer was frankly laughable. They know we can’t possibly accept it. It’s ridiculous. If they think we will just cave in, they have made a massive miscalculation.” The French Government led by Emmanuel Macron have also sought to defend their interests during the Brexit process, with one figure in Paris warning concessions won’t be made and a deal could be vetoed by France.
Mr Macron has vowed to fight for French fishermen, who have previously expressed concerns for their future if a no deal Brexit ends their access to UK waters.
Boulogne-sur-Mer, a city where a key French fishing port is located, will be hit especially hard.
It is home to many of these fishermen, and one warned they will have “no Plan-B” should Mr Johnson and Brussels fail to reach a deal.
They told the Financial Times in January: “[Brexit] is death. I have no Plan B. I have €1million of debt. What am I supposed to do? Put a bullet in my head?”
This warning is starkly similar to that of Olivier Lepretre, from the Regional Fisheries Committee, who told Castex this week that “there must be a deal, if there is no deal, whether it’s regional fisheries or the local fleet, it would mean a certain death.”
He added: “If we are in French waters, we will find ourselves with Belgians, Dutch, Spaniards, so there will be an overexploitation of resources. We must not overexploit the resource.”
Talks are continuing into next week as both sides look to avoid a no deal.
However, Brussels has warned that “significant divergences” remain.
READ MORE: Brexit fury: Michel Barnier cornered as ‘no deal beckons’
However, Co-President of the European Greens and Belgian MEP, Philippe Lamberts, criticised the politicians that advocated Brexit in an interview with Express.co.uk this week.
He said: “To voters I would say I understand their anger, it’s not like they made it up, so many areas were left behind so yes I understand that.
“But was Brexit the right answer to that question? I would say no.
“I do resent those who likened the EU to the Soviet Union, we are not forcing the UK to stay.
“We want to remain good neighbours, but the politicians who advocated for Brexit, many of them lied about the facts.
“I wish them all the best to face the consequences of what they wanted, because the future for the UK won’t be as rosy as they say it will.
“I can’t be friends with the likes of Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith or certainly Dominic Cummings.”