The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator is set to hold bilateral talks with ministers from the bloc’s key fishing states to identify ways to break the deadlock with the UK over the sector and accelerate efforts towards a trade deal with London.
Michel Barnier’s calls in the coming days, which will aim to find room for manoeuvre in one of the most vexed unresolved areas, follow European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s decision on Saturday to intensify broader negotiations.
The positive tone from the two leaders sparked hopes on both sides that an accord would be possible, despite the damage to trust triggered by the UK’s decision to introduce legislation overriding parts of last year’s withdrawal agreement.
Mr Barnier and his UK counterpart, David Frost, are expected to resume talks on Wednesday in London, Ms von der Leyen and Mr Johnson will hold more frequent direct calls, and the commission president’s own cabinet will be in regular contact with Number 10 counterparts.
On Sunday, Mr Johnson said he did not want a no-deal Brexit but “we can more than live with it”. “All we’re asking our friends and partners to offer is terms that they’ve already offered to Canada, which is you know a long way away from here,” he…