January 29, 2020 / 2:05 PM / 24 days ago

EU accepts Brexit extension is very unlikely, Ireland says

FILE PHOTO: Small toy figures are seen in front of a Brexit logo in this illustration picture, March 30, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

DUBLIN (Reuters) - European Union members now accept that the British government is very unlikely to seek an extension to Brexit talks and that there is “no chance” of concluding a full free trade deal by the end of the year, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

“I think it is accepted now at an EU level and certainly I agree with it that the UK are very unlikely to seek an extension to the transition period,” Simon Coveney told a news conference for his Fine Gael party ahead of a Feb. 8 election.

“The approach to the negotiations from the European Union will be tailored to that timeline and that will force choices. The European Union has already concluded that there is no way a full future relationship agreement can be concluded by the end of the year, there is no chance of that.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alison Williams

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