Ireland Brexit panic: Taoiseach says ‘time running out’ – EU desperate for last-ditch deal

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The Irish Prime Minister has issued a warning to Brexit negotiators that “time is running out”. Micheál Martin spoke to Euronews’ Shona Murray about the state of the Brexit negotiations. Trade deal talks between the UK and EU are continuing via video conference this week.

Mr Martin said: “Our immediate focus, obviously, is in trying to make sure that the EU and the UK can arrive at a deal that would be satisfactory in terms of the future relationship.

“Europe has within its capacity to develop proper ratification procedures.

“It is tight, I acknowledge that, and, you know, time is running out.

“But I do believe that, with some degree of creativity, we can facilitate the ratification of a deal, perhaps on a staged basis.”

He added: “But I think it’s one that we can satisfactorily be resolved once we actually get a deal in place.”

The Taoiseach also touched on the controversy stirred up by the UK Government’s Internal Market Bill.

The legislation had sparked fury within the EU as it sought to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.

The British Government itself admitted the Bill broke international law, though only in a “very specific and limited way”.

Mr Martin told Euronews: “I think the measured response from the European Union has been important here in terms of settling things down, and keeping the focus on the actual substance of the negotiations themselves around the future trading relationship.

“Because if a future trading relationship can be arrived at, that should then neutralise the offending clauses in the UK internal market bill and would not necessitate their reintroduction.

“So, I believe it’s been handled in a measured way and in a proper way, given the enormity of what’s at stake in terms of Brexit for so many people.”

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If a Brexit agreement isn’t made within the week it may not give enough time for ratification by member states before transition period deadline.

However, Ursula von der Leyen has suggested that a deal could be rushed through via ‘provisional application’.

This would allow it to be put it in place before ratification in order to avoid a no deal exit.

Both sides have indicated that further in-person meetings are needed to resolve any outstanding issues.

The talks were shifted online last week when an EU official tested positive for coronavirus.

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