Taoiseach hopeful of Brexit deal as talks continue

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Taoiseach Hopeful Of Brexit Deal As Talks Continue Taoiseach Hopeful Of Brexit Deal As Talks Continue
Taoiseach Micheál Martin remains hopeful that a Brexit trade deal can be reached.
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James Cox

The Taoiseach says it's vital post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU are continuing as both sides try to reach an agreement.

Boris Johnson and the European Commission president say negotiations will continue, with both leaders agreeing to “go the extra mile”.

The transition period ends at the end of the month.

Micheál Martin said Ireland is preparing for a no-deal scenario but that this is not something he wants.

Challenges

“I do not understate the difficulties and the challenges that face both sets of negotiators, but in my view where there's a will, there's a way. I think it's very important that they do everything they possibly can to get a deal over the line.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the president of the EU's executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen had given negotiators a Sunday deadline to find a way to resolve an impasse on arrangements that would guarantee Britain zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU's single market.

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On Sunday they mandated negotiators to continue, although Mr Johnson sounded a downbeat note on prospects for a breakthrough.

“Despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile,” Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen said in a joint statement.

Britain quit the EU in January but remains an informal member until December 31st — the end of a transition period during which it has remained in the EU single market and customs union.

Creative

Mr Johnson said the two sides would try to be as creative as possible but Britain could not compromise on key “red lines” so the most likely option was no deal, with trade reverting to the non-concessionary terms set by the World Trade Organization.

A final Brexit without a trade deal would damage the economies of Europe, send shockwaves through financial markets, snarl borders and sow chaos through the delicate supply chains across Europe and beyond.

“Every opportunity to reach a deal is highly welcome,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin.

The two sides have struggled to agree on fishing rights in British waters and EU demands that Britain face consequences if in the future it diverges from the bloc's rules for fair competition — what it calls a level playing field.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said that despite recent comments from the British side, he understood that there was largely agreement on maintaining existing standards.

“I think both sides do want a deal and they want a deal now,” Mr Coveney told RTÉ. “My view is that a deal can be done, but it really needs to be done within the next few days.”

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