EU-UK trade deal unlikely this week says Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney

An EU-UK trade deal is unlikely to be reached this week said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. “I think it is likely to move into next week. At that point, the timelines start to get very tight - there are only 50 days left this year.”

He continued: “I think this week and next week are ... crucial really. If we don’t have a deal at some point next week, I think we have real problems."

The current negotiations are now expected to run until the end of this week.

Ambassadors of the 27 EU member states in Brussels will not be updated on the talks at a regular meeting on Wednesday and the issue is now tentatively pencilled in for their meeting on November 18th, a senior EU diplomat said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British team continues “to work very hard to seek to bridge the gaps which remain between out two positions”.

In a sign that both sides are still pushing for an agreement, EU sources said they now expect negotiators to come up with an agreed text in the middle of next week, unless talks collapse or there is a breakthrough earlier.

“I think it is quite possible that this could fall apart and we don’t get a deal,” Coveney said. “That wouldn’t shock me at all. But if you are asking me to call it, I think we are more likely to get a deal than not.”

Any agreement must still be approved by the 27 national EU leaders, next due to come together online on November 19th.

The European Parliament, which must ratify a deal, has said time is running out. Its latest agenda envisages ratification on December 16th subject to MEPs receiving a full text by the 16th of this month.

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