The European Union is willing to drop its current “maximalist” approach on fisheries in negotiations with Britain next week, sources said, in what would be the first major concession from the bloc in talks on their ties after Brexit.
The EU has so far demanded to keep the status quo, in which fishing mostly takes place in UK waters but most of the catch goes to the bloc’s fishermen.
Britain has said it would become an independent coastal state after Brexit materialises in practice from next year, and wants to be in control of its waters and fish.
“Our opening line of keeping the current terms is impossible to uphold,” said an EU diplomat following Brexit. “That is clearly unattainable so we’d be looking to some narrowing of the positions.”
An EU official told Reuters separately that the bloc’s executive Commission – which is negotiating with Britain in the name of all 27 EU member states – could ease its demands so far if London were to move as well.
“There have been hints of a possible reconciliation of approaches,” the official said ahead of another round of EU-UK talks next week.
“We would be looking to shift on demands to keep everything as is now, a somewhat maximalist opening position, if the UK also moved from its position of coastal attachment. That’s where the room for compromise lies.”