Ireland says Brexit trade talks timeline “virtually impossible’

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DUBLIN: The coronavirus pandemic has made an already difficult timeline for a British-European Union trade deal “virtually impossible”, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said, cautioning that he did wish to raise expectations of London seeking more time. Tortuous Brexit talks, now focused on setting new trading terms from 2021 when London’s status-quo transition period after Brexit ends, quickly hit an impasse when they resumed last month, according to EU diplomats and officials.

Coveney, who played a key role in Britain’s EU withdrawal talks due to the border Ireland shares with British-run Northern Ireland, said progress so far this year has been much slower than the EU had hoped before the resumption of talks next week.

“Given the complexity of what we’re trying to deal with here and the added complications, and there are many, as a result COVID-19, it surely makes sense for us to seek a bit more time,” Coveney told an online conference yesterday.  —Agencies

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