With the December 31 deadline fast approaching, Ireland’s foreign minister has warned that there is a risk of “trouble” in the absence of a “major breakthrough” in Brexit negotiations over the next 10 days.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said his country is preparing for the focus to “shift to preparing for a no trade deal and all the disruption that that brings” because, while the UK government “understand” what changes need to be made, he questions “whether the political appetite is there.”
As negotiations step up a gear in the hope of a deal, Coveney warned of the potential for “trouble,” as it will take a “major breakthrough” in the next 10 days for an agreement to be signed off in time.
Coveney expressed his concerns as the EU and UK remain at loggerheads over the issue of fisheries. The Irish foreign minister said that “the negotiations are not in a good place” because the two sides’ positions are incompatible, and “neither side has really budged.”
UK Environment Secretary George Eustice acknowledged the challenges, recognizing that “time is very, very short” during an interview with British media on Sunday. However, he attempted to reassure people that it “can be resolved” and a deal “can be done” in the required timeframe. Eustice did not provide any information on concessions that the UK would be willing to make in order to ensure that progress is made.
The EU and UK have both indicated that a deal would have to be reached by the middle of November for it to be formally ratified before the end of the transition period. While the gathering is focused on the bloc’s response to Covid-19, EU leaders will be meeting for a virtual summit on Thursday, when a Brexit deal could be discussed if progress is made.
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