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Fisheries cause delay in conclusion of Brexit agreement

© European Parliament

Fisheries remain the final point of contention as a Brexit agreement looms, according to Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.

Fisheries were a major point of disagreement between the EU and the UK, along with a so-called level playing field and the governance of the deal. It is a question of determining how the approximately €650 million of products fished each year by the EU in British waters will be shared in the coming years.

Meanwhile, a press conference scheduled for 9:00 AM Belgian time this morning announcing the Brexit deal was postponed, and an EU source told the BBC that it “could even be later this evening” before it happens.

Coveney also confirmed rumours that the legal text is more than 2,000 pages long.

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In any case, the deal will not be ratified by the European Parliament before the end of the transition period on December 31, but could come into force provisionally before a European ratification a posteriori.

If the EU and the UK do reach an agreement, which has seemed likely since news broke on Wednesday night that a deal could be hours away, they will avoid having to apply World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which would mean the introduction of high tariffs and extensive customs controls.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times