Cyprus Mail
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UK sees Brexit goodwill, open to a sensible fishing compromise

Britain said on Monday it was open to a sensible compromise on fishing and that there was goodwill on both sides to progress towards a Brexit trade deal as the European Union’s top negotiator began another round of talks in London.

The United Kingdom left the EU in January but the two sides are trying to clinch a deal that would govern nearly 1 trillion dollars in annual trade before informal membership – known as the transition period – ends on Dec. 31.

“There are still differences, there are still some obstacles to overcome,” British Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky. “But I think there is now some goodwill on both sides to progress things.”

After congratulating Joe Biden on his U.S. election win, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that an EU trade deal was “there to be done” and that the broad outlines were clear.

“I’ve always been a great enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners,” Johnson told reporters. “I think it’s there to be done, the broad outlines are pretty clear. We just need to get on and do it if we can.”

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was very happy to be back in London on Sunday and work would continue on securing a trade deal with Britain.

“Very happy to be back in London and work continues,” he told Reuters.

The talks have snagged over state aid rules and fisheries, a sector laden with symbolism for Brexit supporters in Britain.

“On fisheries we’ve always been open to doing a sensible approach, looking potentially at agreements that might span a couple, three years for instance,” Eustice said.

“The issue will become what are the sharing arrangements, how much mutual access do we allow in one another’s waters and that’s obviously a discussion that will happen annually, but there may also be a partnership agreement that sets out the ground rules as to how we will work on that,” Eustice said.

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