A Brexit deal could be in sight… but ONLY if UK compromises in trade talks, Irish leaders say
- Taoiseach Micheal Martin is optimistic while Boris Johnson is urging caution
- Sources say talks could be extended into weekend in a bid to break the deadlock
- Insiders in the UK negotiating team say an agreement could come on Monday
Irish leaders last night said a Brexit agreement could finally be in sight.
Despite Boris Johnson urging caution, Micheal Martin, the taoiseach, said both sides could see ‘the landing zones’.
But he suggested it would be possible only if the UK agreed to compromise.
He told the Bloomberg new economy forum: ‘Will the decision be made in London to go for it and say lets get a deal done? Some of us think that’s an issue that has yet to be determined.’
Despite Boris Johnson urging caution, Micheal Martin, the taoiseach, (pictured) said both sides could see ‘the landing zones’
Lord Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, is in Brussels this week trying to make progress with EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
Talks could be extended into the weekend in a bid to break the deadlock, sources said last night.
An EU diplomat said: ‘They might give another two or three days over the weekend but then that’s it. After that, time will get the better of us.’
Sources in the UK negotiating team say an agreement could come on Monday.
During a virtual Cabinet meeting yesterday, Mr Johnson told ministers that significant issues still needed to be resolved – most notably on fishing rights and rules on state aid.
His official spokesman said: ‘It is far from certain that an agreement will prove possible and time is now very short.’
The European Parliament has drawn up contingency plans that could see MEPs hold an extraordinary sitting as late as December 28 to ratify any agreement.
Mr Barnier is due to brief European diplomats on progress on the talks on Friday.
A watchdog panel yesterday warned that the imminent end of the transition period risks fuelling paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland.
The Independent Reporting Commission, established jointly by the UK and Irish governments in 2016, said Brexit had ‘the potential to further and greatly complicate’ issues.
It warned in an annual report that ‘there are still thousands of signed-up (‘sworn’) members’.