As post-Brexit trade continue to unfold at a glacial pace the Irish foreign minister has ruled out a speedy breakthrough.
Speaking at an online event organized by the European Movement Ireland, Simon Coveney, who is also the Irish defense minister, said that a trade deal this week is “unlikely” and that talks are likely to drag on into “next week”.
On an ominous note, Coveney warned of “real problems” if an agreement is not struck by next week.
Coveney’s warning comes as the European Union’s (EU) chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, continues to engage in intense negotiations with British officials in London.
Barnier said on November 09 that there are three areas which still divide the negotiating parties: governance issues; the maintenance of shared standards; and last but not least fishing rights in British waters.
With less than two months to go before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, the Irish foreign minister was less than sanguine about the prospect of a deal.
According to Coveney, a formal trade deal is “very difficult” to achieve but still “doable”.
"No deal is in nobody's interests", Coveney proclaimed.
The warning by the Irish foreign minister comes in the wake of significant political and diplomatic uncertainty engulfing the protracted negotiations.
Only yesterday (November 10), the House of Lords partially rejected the controversial Internal Market Bill by an overwhelming 433 votes to 165.
Furthermore, at the diplomatic level, the victory of Joe Biden in the US presidential election has unsettled the British government as Biden is known to be an opponent of Brexit.
And to make matters worse for the government, former Prime Minister and Tory party grandee, John Major, has warned of a “brutal” experience once the Brexit transition period concludes at the end of the year.
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