Boris Johnson should ignore Macron and NOT sacrifice fishing in EU negotiations – poll

Express.co.uk readers voted in our poll on whether the Prime Minister should allow EU access to UK waters in a post-Brexit trade agreement. It comes as negotiations will begin on Monday, with fishing set to be a major stumbling block.

A huge 83 percent of respondents said Mr Johnson should not allow EU access to British fishing waters.

Some 16 percent replied yes and one percent did not know.

It comes after France’s Europe minister Amelie de Montchalin insisted Brussels would not bow to “artificial deadlines” in trade talks.

Her comments came in response to the UK Government warning that it could walk away from trade talks with Brussels in June unless there is the “broad outline” of an agreement.

Speaking on Friday, Ms de Montchalin said the EU would “not accept time pressure” and is “not ready to sign any kind of a deal” at the end of the transition period.

She said: “We cannot let our level of ambition be affected by what I would call artificial deadlines.

“If the UK decides to shorten the negotiating period, it will be the UK’s responsibility.

“It will not be our choice on the European side, and that choice will have consequences in terms of the breadth and depth of the relationship we can build.

“For us substance is much, much more important than deadlines.”

Ms de Montchalin added that trust is important in the talks.

She said: “A swift negotiation could be impacted by a degrade in implementation of the former agreement which we just reached three months ago – the Withdrawal Agreement.

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“Ensuring that our citizens are protected and are never bargaining chips in the future.

“Ensuring that the Northern Ireland protocol is fully implemented is for us an absolute priority.”

It comes as the UK and the EU have set out rival visions of the future relationship.

Britain is in a transition period with Brussels until the end of 2020, during which time it follows the bloc’s rules but has no say, as the two sides attempt to strike an agreement.

But the UK and the EU are on a collision course over a number of issues including fishing.

Brussels wants to “uphold” its existing reciprocal access conditions, quota shares and the “traditional activity of the Union fleet” to fish in UK waters from the end of the year.

However, Mr Johnson has said British fishing grounds should be “first and foremost” for UK boats after leaving the unpopular Common Fisheries Policy.

Britain is eyeing up an arrangement similar to Norway, where negotiations on granting access to fishing grounds take place on an annual basis.

The first round of negotiations begin in Brussels on Monday, with discussions on fisheries, the level playing field, trade in goods and services, energy, law enforcement and judicial cooperation on the agenda for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The UK officially left the EU on January 31 and is in a transition period with the bloc until December 31.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not push back the deadline despite claims the timeframe is too tight to reach a comprehensive deal.

Express.co.uk polled 18,671 people from February 19 to March 1.

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