Brexit Deal Landing Zones Becoming Clear, Irish PM Says

The contours of a Brexit deal between the U.K. and European Union are clear to both sides, Ireland’s prime minister said, as the two sides struggle to reach a trade agreement.

Negotiating teams understand “the landing zones” around an accord, Micheal Martin said at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, warning it’s not yet fully clear if his U.K. counterpart, Boris Johnson, truly wants an accord.

Brexit Deal Landing Zones Becoming Clear, Irish PM Says

“Having met Boris Johnson, having talked to him, my sense is deep down his gut instinct is that he would see the sense of a deal,” Martin said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Stephanie Flanders.

Given its close links to the U.K, Ireland is the nation with most to lose from a no-deal Brexit, a prospect Martin described as “horrendous.” The U.K. and EU could strike a deal on their future trading and security relationship early next week, people familiar with the discussions said.

As talks continue in Brussels, officials are planning for the possibility of a breakthrough to be announced as soon as Monday, although no precise day has been settled on, people familiar with the discussions said.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Monday he hoped a deal would be finalized within two weeks. At the same time, he cautioned that gaps remain and he expects an amount of “grandstanding” before an accord is signed off.

While Martin is still hopeful for a comprehensive trade deal, “it will be challenging,” he said. Getting a resolution on the so-called level playing field around fair competition is “proving problematic” and agreement on fisheries is “proving very difficult,” he added.

Failing to reach a deal would be “politically damaging all around,” Martin said.

“Will the decision be made in London to go for it and say, let’s get a deal done?,” Martin said. “Some of us think that’s an issue that yet has to be determined.”

The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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