EU ministers met in Brussels today and approved their opening position in the talks of the future relationship with the UK. Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming revealed to BBC Politics Live that, despite trying to tone down their language, the EU bloc will still be gunning for access to UK fishing waters. This has been a contentious issue for many British fishermen since the UK signed up to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy in the 1970s.
Mr Fleming told viewers: “You don’t have to be an expert to realise where the potential flashpoints are going to be, and they’re quite big ones.
“One of these flashpoints is fisheries, as we’ve talked about before.
“This mandate has been tweaked by diplomats to constantly use the word ‘uphold’ in all the bits where it talks about fisheries.
“In other words, uphold current EU access to British fishing waters.”
He continued: “The infamous level playing field where the EU says there have to be constraints on economic competition and you deliver that by having the UK committing to upholding common shared standards in seven policy areas.
“These areas are competition, state-owned companies, social and employment law, environmental law which now includes food safety as well, climate change, international tax principles and state aid.
“What they’ve done as they’ve been tweaking this mandate over the last few weeks is try to make the language around that look a bit more relaxed and make it not look like the idea of dynamic alignment, of the UK having to follow EU rules in perpetuity.
“They have tried, I’m not sure they’ve succeeded in making it not look like dynamic alignment.”
The Brexitcast host said: “I think to British eyes, a lot of this will look like the opposite of what they’re trying to achieve.
“I think the other big area of contention is going to be in governance.
“How do you manage the relationship and is there a role for the European Court of Justice to settle disputes where there’s something to do with EU law?”
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Mr Fleming added: “The UK says it doesn’t want the words ‘European Court of Justice’ to appear anywhere in the deal. The EU says it does.”
The EU have said that they hope both they and the UK can uphold “common high standards”.
The UK will present its opening negotiating stance to Parliament on Thursday.
The Prime Minister has promised to agree on a new UK-EU trade relationship by the end of 2020.
Critics are sceptical that a deal can be reached by the December 31 deadline.
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