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EU and UK agree this is the key week to secure Brexit deal – Irish foreign minister

EU and UK agree this is the key week to secure Brexit deal – Irish foreign minister
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said Britain and the EU agree this is the key week to secure a post-Brexit trade deal if one is to be formally ratified before the December 31 deadline.

Ireland’s foreign minister told RTE Radio time is running out. 

We have been saying for the last number of weeks that this is the key week and we’re saying the same again this week. I think, perhaps, the difference is that the UK side are saying it as well this week.

Coveney’s comments came as he urged negotiators, ahead of a busy week of talks, to not engage in a blame game as the challenges around Brexit are revealed, instead asking them to focus their efforts on finding a way to move forward. 

Talks have been stalled as the EU and UK remain in a stalemate over the issue of fishing, with Johnson’s government refusing to back down from its aim to regain sovereignty and impose a zonal attachment over its waters. The EU wishes to maintain a similar proposal to the existing agreement, where fishing quotas are divided fairly between the two sides. 

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice echoed the Irish foreign minister’s remarks on Monday, stating that there needs to be a breakthrough during this critical week. He did, however, float the possibility of seeking an extension to negotiations if progress is made but a deal isn’t reached before the deadline. 

Also on rt.com UK foreign secretary optimistic about Brexit deal, says talks with EU in ‘reasonable position’

The EU has so far made clear that it will not extend the transition period, and the UK previously ruled out the idea. If a deal isn’t agreed by both sides and ratified by December 31, the UK will leave the Single Market and Customs Union. 

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