The EU 'will not be rushed into doing trade deal by end of the year'

The EU ‘will not be rushed’ into doing a trade deal by the end of the year to meet Boris Johnson’s deadline says Irish deputy PM Simon Coveney, warning that the UK’s December 31 cut off is ‘ambitious’

  • He warned the UK that the deal encompassed much more than trade 
  • EU wants ‘comprehensive’ agreement that might take longer than 11 months 
  • Boris Johnson will write into British law that trade talks end on December 31 

The EU will not be rushed into striking a deal on the future relationship with the UK just because Parliament has passed a law to prevent an extension of negotiations, Ireland’s deputy premier warned today.

Simon Coveney said the timetable set by Boris Johnson of the end of 2020 to achieve a free trade deal was ‘very ambitious’.

He warned the UK that the deal encompassed much more than trade and might take longer than the 11 months that will remain after Brexit takes place on January 31.

‘When people talk about the future relationship, in the UK in particular, they seem to only talk about a future trade agreement, actually there’s much more to this than that – there’s fishing, there’s aviation, there’s data and so many other things,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

‘I know that Prime Minister Johnson has set a very ambitious timetable to get this done.

‘He has even put it into British law, but just because a British parliament decides that British laws say something doesn’t mean that that law applies to the other 27 countries of the European Union.’

‘And so the European Union will approach this on the basis of getting the best deal possible – a fair and balanced deal to ensure the EU and the UK can interact as friends in the future.

‘But the EU will not be rushed on this just because Britain passes law.’

Asked about the possibility of a series of side deals on specific areas if time ran out to strike a comprehensive agreement, Mr Coveney raised concern.

‘We would certainly much rather negotiate a comprehensive deal that deals with all of these things collectively and together,’ he said.

‘If we have learnt anything from the first round of Brexit, which has taken a lot longer than it should have, is that we have got to provide certainty for people, we can’t continue to have crisis after crisis and the uncertainty and brinkmanship of Brexit negotiations.’

A key issue in the negotiations will be how the financial services industry in the City of London will be able to serve clients within the EU.

Amid concern the EU might limit the City’s access to its European markets, outgoing Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has warned that it would not be appropriate for the sector to be regulated by Brussels.

Mr Coveney said it would be impossible to maintain the system as it presently operates.

‘Maybe the penny is finally dropping that when you leave a union that you have been a part of for 45 years that things don’t remain the same and that is inconvenient and it has consequences for the UK,’ he said.

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