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EU Brexit Chief Barnier Calls UK's Demand on Fishing Rights 'Impractical'

© AP Photo / Gareth FullerA fishing boat at work in the English Channel, off the southern coast of England, Saturday Feb. 1, 2020
A fishing boat at work in the English Channel, off the southern coast of England, Saturday Feb. 1, 2020 - Sputnik International
Following the first round of the UK-EU trade talks, the bloc's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier stated on Thursday that there's a "serious divergence" between the two parties.
"To be completely frank with you ... there are many divergences, and they are very serious divergences, which is probably quite natural", Barnier told reporters.

The fishery issue is one of the stumbling blocks, according to Barnier. The UK wants a separate deal on fisheries to be renewed every year, something Barnier called "impractical".

"The United Kingdom does not want the fisheries agreement to be part of our economic agreement, it wishes to negotiate reciprocal access to British waters and European waters on an annual basis, which, and I can say this as a former fisheries minister amongst other things for my country, it's not practicable", he said.

According to the senior official, London wants a number of separate agreements, while the EU is seeking a single agreement.

Britain and the European Union launched post-Brexit negotiations on Monday, 2 March, to flesh out the future relationship between the two sides on multiple issues, but most importantly, trade and security.

The flag of the European Union is pictured on the ground covered with a mud on Brexit day in London, Britain January 31, 2020.  - Sputnik International
Life Post-Brexit: UK and EU Embark on Crunch Trade Talks in Brussels
The UK left the European Union on 31 January and entered a transition period that gives London and Brussels until the end of the year to conclude a spate of crucial agreements, including a free trade deal.

The fishery deal still remains the main acute point of the talks. The European Union wants to retain access to British waters to fish there. However, British prime minister Boris Johnson has insisted that “taking back control” over the UK’s waters is a key Brexit objective and said Britain will become an "independent coastal state".

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