BRITAIN is set to make a "very generous" Brexit compromise in order to seal a deal, Micheal Gove said today, ahead of Boris' dash to Brussels.
The PM will tonight have a crunch dinner with EU boss Ursula Von Der Leyen as he tries to salvage the chances of getting a deal done in time for New Year.
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Fish is one of the biggest sticking points in the talks, and has long been an argument for Britain to leave the EU and get back control of our own waters.
France and other EU coastal states have been pushing hard for a deal which doesn't leave their fishermen out in the cold, but Boris has been urged to hold firm.
The Cabinet minister said today he was hopeful that the pair can "thrash out a potential way through" which will allow talks to restart again after their crunch dinner tonight in Brussels.
Speaking to Radio 4 he added:"I think there can be scope for compromise but the compromise exists on the way in which European boats can continue to access UK waters."
But he insisted that the EU must accept that the UK will be an " independent coastal state" and the UK will be "in control of our waters."
He said the UK are prepared to be "very generous" about the way the changes are phased in – implying that there could be a period of years where EU boats are allowed to fish in our waters.
He also said the UK is prepared to keep UK rules as they are in a "non regression clause" which means standards here won't be slashed – but Britain will stand firm at not allowing itself to be tied to EU rules.
But yesterday the PM warned he was already at the "limit" of what he could accept as a Brexit deal – and still could “draw stumps' if there is no progress tonight.
“Our friends have just got to understand the UK has left the EU in order to be able to exercise democratic control over the way we do things,” he said last night.
It came as:
- Merkel said there was still a chance of a deal – but admitted that No Deal could happen
- Talks could go on until Christmas or even down to the wire at New Year if negotiations can be restarted tonight
- Bitter splits opened up among the EU leaders over control of talks
- Yesterday a deal over Northern Ireland was secured – raising hopes of a Brexit agreement
Mr Johnson vowed to push talks "to the wire" yesterday, as he prepares to meet EU commission chief Ursula von der Leyen this evening.
But he admitted getting a deal done after Christmas would be "tricky".
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that a deal could still happen.
She said today: "There is still the chance of an agreement.
"One thing is clear – the integrity of the internal market must be preserved.
"If there are conditions from the British side which we cannot accept, we are prepared to go down a road which is without an exit agreement."
What are the sticking points in Brexit talks?
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: Brussels wants a shared set rules and standards to ensure businesses in the UK do not have an unfair advantage over their competitors. The UK has said it won't lower its standards, but wants to be able to set its own rules.
GOVERNANCE: Who decides what happens if the terms of the deal are breached? The EU wants an European body to decide the terms, but the UK aren't keen on this and want an independent arbitrator to have the final say.
FISHING: The EU wants continued access to Britain's fishing waters after we leave. It's claimed Britain would be happy with a three year deal to phase out access, but the EU are pushing for ten. One of the key referendum claims was that Britain would be able to take back control of our borders – including fish – when we leave the EU.
Yesterday, Mr Johnson vowed to push talks “to the wire” – hinting they could still be going at Christmas but admitted it would be “tricky.”
And a public spat broke out between EU chiefs about how long the negotiations could go.
Any deal must be signed and backed by both Westminster and the EU Parliament before 31 December, sparking fears of weeks of festive back and forth.
On Tuesday Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier drew up a list of outstanding areas of disagreement over fishing, red tape and state backed subsidies for businesses.
But one cabinet minister told The Sun the stark list would help Brussels force the PM to make “a number of unpleasant choices” in order to keep the flagging talks alive and avoid No Deal chaos.
Meanwhile, internal splits have emerged within the bloc over how to approach the Brexit endgame.
Mrs von der Leyen, who is close to German leader Angela Merkel, has been taking an increasingly hands-on role in the talks.
But some Member States fear she's going too soft on Britain and are trying to bolster Mr Barnier's position as their main man.
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