The British Foreign Secretary has said “there is a deal to be done” as the EU and the UK enter the last week of “substantive talks.”
Dominic Raab said fishing rights remain an “outstanding bone of contention” and insisted the EU must accept the “point of principal” that the UK must control its own waters.
Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday Mr Raab said the must recognise a "point of proincipal" when it comes to fishing rights.
“As we leave the transition, we are an independent coastal state," he said. "We have got to be able to control our waters.
“We can talk about transitions and things like that and we recognise the impact it has on other countries in Europe but that principal comes with sovereignty, comes with leaving not just the EU but the transition period.
“Can the EU accept that point of principal which comes with us leaving the political club?”
Mr Raab dismissed the EUs current offer on fishing rights – in which the bloc’s fishermen would return 15-18% of fish stocks caught by in British waters.
“Does that sound right?” he asked. “18% of control over fish in our own waters. That can't be right.”
He said the talks were ongoing over the weekend after the EU negotiation team ended its coronavirus quarantine on Friday.
“I think it is important the EU understand the point of principal. If they show the pragmatism, the goodwill and the faith that, in fairness, I think, has surrounded the last leg of the talks – and we certainly, we have shown our flexibility – I think there is a deal to be done.”
Speaking ahead of the weekend, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was ready to be creative but warned it was “not ready to put into question the integrity of the Single Market, the main safeguard for European prosperity and wealth.”
“One thing is clear,” she said. “Whatever the outcome, there has to be and there will be a clear difference between being a full member of the EU and just being a valued partner.”
Mr Raab refused to give a deadline for an end to the talks, claiming, “the goalposts sometimes shift on the EU side.”
He said he believes we are now “into the last week or so of substantive negotiations.”
Trade between the UK and EU will likely revert to Word Trade Organisation rules on January 1st if there is no deal before then.