Brussels/Dublin, December 23
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to hold another call on a trade deal on Wednesday or Thursday, sources with the bloc said.
The two spoke on Monday as they try to bridge gaps on allocating fish catches in UK waters from 2021 as well as ensuring corporate fair play, to seal a new pact to govern trade ties beyond Dec. 31, when Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union.
‘Gap wide but deal still likely’
The gap between British and European Union negotiators on the remaining Brexit sticking point of fishing rights is still wide, but enough progress has been made that a deal is still likely, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Wednesday.
“The gap is still wide on fish. You will have read that the European Union put 25% on the table in terms of conceding that amount of catch in the UK waters and a six-year transition period and I think Britain have a far more stringent (position),” Martin told national broadcaster RTE.
“If you had a breakthrough tonight or tomorrow, officials in Europe could be working Christmas Day on the text. On balance, I think given the progress that has been made that there should be a deal. A no deal would be an appalling shock to the economic system on top of COVID-19.”