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Talking Europe

Brexit deadline 'will not be met', Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney tells FRANCE 24

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

As formal Brexit negotiations wrap up, Ireland's foreign minister is predicting that a deal will not be struck before the deadline laid out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Simon Coveney tells FRANCE 24 he believes it's "far too ambitious" to expect a conclusion to the negotiations over the United Kingdom's future relationship with the European Union before the next EU summit on October 15. 

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Meanwhile, the recent admission from British government ministers that they would be prepared to break international law "has undermined trust", according to Coveney. The British government is pressing on with a new law that UK ministers acknowledge could see it break legal commitments that Boris Johnson made in the original Withdrawal Agreement.

One major sticking point in the dealmaking is how much access EU fleets will have to British fishing waters after January 1, 2021. The Irish foreign minister told FRANCE 24 that there is still a significant gap to be bridged on the issue.

In response to calls from the Sinn Fein party for a referendum on uniting the Republic of Ireland with Northern Ireland – which is part of the United Kingdom – the minister said the issue was a "distraction" while the Brexit issue remained unresolved.

Finally, with Brexit-supporting US President Donald Trump seeking re-election to the White House, Coveney rebuffed claims that the Republic of Ireland would be left vulnerable after the UK has started its new relationship with the EU.

Prepared by Isabelle Romero, Mathilde Bénézet and Perrine Desplats.

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