Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have provided bleak summaries of Brexit trade talks. Both warned that a no deal scenario is around the corner without a drastic breakthrough in talks which have remained in a stalemate for months. Ms von der Leyen told EU leaders that Britain exiting the transition period without a trade and security deal is now the most likely outcome.
Prime Minister Johnson said: “What I’ve said to our negotiators is that we’ve got to keep going, and we’ll go the extra mile – and we will.
“And I will go to Brussels, I will go to Paris, I will go to Berlin, I will go to wherever to try and get this home and get a deal.
“What I told the Cabinet this evening is to get on and make those preparations. We’re not stopping talks, we’ll continue to negotiate but looking at where we are I do think it’s vital that everyone now gets ready for that Australian option [no deal].”
Among the issues standing in the way of an agreement is fisheries.
The EU wants a continuation of its current access to UK waters, but the Government wants British fishermen to have priority.
As a no deal Brexit becomes a real possibility, Dutch fishermen will be concerned having expressed fear over this exact scenario earlier this year.
ITV spoke to fishermen at the Dutch port of Den Helder.
Guido Betsema, a fisherman at the port, said: “In a year we spend 80 percent of our time in English waters.
“I’m afraid that the UK will say, ‘Stop, no European fishing vessels in our waters'”.
Cor Vonk, a skipper, asked the UK to “please think about our families” as he warned of the impact of Brexit on fishermen in Europe, arguing fishermen in the Netherlands were afraid of what the outcome could be.
He added: “It’s not a game, we have been talking about people.”
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They said: “We understand there will be some negotiations, but let’s not do it so that the UK fishing industry suffers once again and we are sold down the river like a pilchard.”
Conservative MP and Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen told Express.co.uk last month that the EU’s fisheries demands are “absurd”.
He added: “It’s like someone renting a property off you, terminating the agreement, and then demanding they keep 80 percent of the back garden.
“Who is going to agree to that? That’s not how it works. It’s absurd.
“There is no court in the world the EU could go to that would uphold their right to keep our sovereign fishing grounds after the EU.”