Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.29 29 Jun 2020


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The British government has "effectively tried to rewrite the rulebook" on Brexit negotiations, according to the Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

He is predicting the talks will probably "come to a head" in October, and will likely involve a "standoff" between the UK and EU.

However, he suggested he is still optimistic despite the lack of progress in talks to date.

It comes as EU and UK negotiations prepare to meet today for their first face-to-face talks in months, as the latest round of negotiations on a trade deal get underway.

Talks in recent months have had to take place remotely due to coronavirus restrictions.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Coveney said the four rounds of trade talks have seen no real progress made between the two sides.

UK has 'effectively tried to rewrite the rulebook' on Brexit negotiations - Coveney

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He said: "[It's] effectively because they're looking for completely different things. It's very hard to make progress when that is the background.

"Unfortunately, the British government has moved away from the political declaration that they signed only six months ago.

"The UK has effectively tried to rewrite the rulebook on that negotiation, which has been a huge problem."

He said he's hoping the situation changes in the coming weeks, with the British government having said they want to intensify negotiations.

Minister Coveney said the implementation of the withdrawal agreement is a 'little bit more positive' than trade talks, but there's still a lot of work to be done by the Government here before the end of the year.

He said he believes trade negotiations will "come to a head" in October rather than during the summer.

He suggested: "As ever during the Brexit negotiations, it will probably involve a huge amount of pressure and probably a standoff.

"It will require good politics to find a way through that will be acceptable to all sides."

Main image: File photo of Simon Coveney. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

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