Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

BBC’s Katya Adler explains why Boris’ Brexit breakthrough with Brussels will enrage Macron

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The BBC’s Katya Adler has revealed that EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is set to overrule French President Emmanuel Macron on fisheries. In a huge Brexit breakthrough, Ms von der Leyen will offer to back down on fishing in secretive talks with the UK. This comes ahead of a “extremely significant” meeting between Boris Johnson and the EU Commission chief on Saturday.

A Downing Street spokesman said the Prime Minister would “take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps” with the Commission President.

Katya Adler told BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme: “There are so many rumours flying around ahead of this meeting.

“This is the last formal round of negotiations this week. We have been hearing positive noises out of the UK that progress is being made on key sticking points.

“For months and months, it’s been the same issues – the rights of EU fishermen to fish in UK waters, and regulation on state aid.” 

JUST IN: BBC’s Katya Adler exposes EU’s ‘tactics’ as Brexit talks heat up

The BBC’s Europe correspondent continued: “Progress on those fronts has not been confirmed by the EU side.

“But the fact that the Prime Minister is speaking directly to Ursula von der Leyen is extremely significant because they are unlikely to meet if we are at the same stalemate.

“It has always been thought for this last push for a deal, you are going to need political involvement because these are the last compromises, the most difficult ones.

“The two will talk tomorrow and decide whether enough progress has been made so that the two sides can enter a tunnel, where the negotiations hunker down and there is a media blackout.”

She later tweeted that during this negotiation ‘tunnel,’ other political leaders – including Emmanuel Macron – are not updated on the talks.

Adler tweeted: “There is real progress going on in negotiations but need (either optics or content) the political involvement of PM + Commission President.

“Also if progress is in process of being made (ie politically difficult compromises),the two sides won’t want to come under press scrutiny.”


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She added: “Media likely to scrutinise/attack compromises – making it harder for politicians to agree them.

“This goes for the PM – who could (depending what’s agreed) be accused of compromising on Brexit by some media and MPs in own party – but also for EU leaders like Emmanuel Macron.

“Macron is under pressure to compromise his maximalist position on fishing rights for EU fishermen in UK waters but it’s politically very sensitive for him.

“He already has 2022 presidential elections on his mind. Key rivals could accuse him of sacrificing French interests.”

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