Today a General Affairs meeting was held in Luxembourg where EU member states all met to discuss Brexit and preparing their plan of action together before they enter into discussions between the EU and UK.
Simon Coveney, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit of Ireland said that the meeting showed that unity was strong amongst EU member states as they go into the meeting with the British in the next couple of days.
Simon said: “When the European Council meets at the end of this week there will be a detailed stocktake on where we are in these negotiations.”
Simon said he doesn’t think that any major breakthroughs will happen during these stocktake discussions: “I don’t see that there will be any major breakthrough this week, the issues that remain outstanding in terms of the negotiation I think are clear.”
“On the future relationship, there needs to be a final agreement on Fair competition, effectively through a Level Playing Field and a governance model that can ensure that disputes in the future get resolved quickly and independently in a way that both sides can agree. Then there are many issues in relation to fishing which are still outstanding.”
Simon hints that the 15th October deal completion deadline will be missed saying: “First of all, there are a number of weeks left in this negotiation, not a number of days.”
Simon then says he values EU fishers and they will not be sold out to seal a deal with the UK. Simon said: The message was very clear from member states today. We value Fisherman; we value their contribution across the European Union. Certainly, EU fishers are not going to be sold out in an effort to get an agreement on a future relationship with the UK on trade. I think that’s very clear from today.”
The EU seems to be laying the groundwork for a further breach of deadline dates meaning the 15th of October date wasn’t an ultimatum date as promised. Simon thinks “I think a deal is very much still. Possible but there’s an awful lot of work to do.”