IRELAND’S FOREIGN minister Simon Coveney has warned Boris Johnson that any Brexit deal is likely to take longer than 12 months to negotiate in full.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Irish deputy prime minister called Mr’s Johnson’s deadline of the end of 2020 as “ambitious, if not unrealistic”.
Mr Coveney pointed to the wide range of post-Brexit considerations around trade, aviation, data and fishing as major stumbling blocks to a quick turnaround in any talks.
He also warned that political leaders in Brussels would not be forced into agreeing any quick fix deal just because Mr Johnson’s government had outlawed the idea of extending negotiations any further.
"I know that Prime Minister Johnson has set a very ambitious timetable to get this done,” he said.
"He has even put it into British law, but just because a British parliament decides that British laws say something, doesn't mean that that law applies to the other 27 countries of the European Union.
"The European Union will approach this on the basis of getting the best deal possible - a fair and balanced deal to ensure the EU and the UK can interact as friends in the future.
"But the EU will not be rushed on this just because Britain passes law."
“Our focus is to achieve the closest possible relationship between Britain and the EU”
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney shares his hopes for future UK-Irish arrangements#Marr #Brexit https://t.co/1Md4FIcb6Y pic.twitter.com/B7KWIyPzCh
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 12, 2020
The Irish foreign minister added that the UK’s decision to leave the “collective shelter” of the EU meant there was “no way” it could maintain its current ties with the block.
"Maybe the penny is finally dropping that when you leave a union that you have been a part of for 45 years that things don't remain the same and that is inconvenient and it has consequences for the UK," he said.
"The UK has decided to move in a different direction, no longer as part of the European Union and the collective shelter of that and opportunity that comes with that.
"That is why, from an Irish perspective, we want in all of these areas, whether it is financial services, whether it is agri-food, whether it's fishing, whether it's security, whether it's preventing the new trade relationship resulting in barriers to trade through quotas or tariffs, we want the closest possible relations we can have.
"[There's] no way of the UK in this negotiation maintaining the relationship we have today while outside of the European Union, and that's the reality of Brexit I'm afraid."