BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Brexit trade deal: British are 'creating chaos deliberately' says Irish foreign minister

Comments
euronews_icons_loading
European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, speaks with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, left, during meeting of EU General Affairs ministers, Oct 2019
European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, speaks with Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, left, during meeting of EU General Affairs ministers, Oct 2019   -   Copyright  Virginia Mayo/AP
Text size Aa Aa

The UK government "has created chaos deliberately" by threatening to renege on their Brexit commitments, Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has told Euronews.

His comments come after the British government admitted that a proposed internal market bill would break international law by overriding parts of the 2019 withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

"This was supposed to be the week when we were making progress, it’s the second last scheduled round of formal negotiations and really we were expecting to create positive momentum this week albeit on difficult issues," Coveney told Euronews.

He added that it was regrettable that the British government was making a "difficult negotiation even more difficult".

The UK's proposed legislation lists a number of domestic and international laws that it can effectively disregard relating to the movement of goods from Northern Ireland.

"We have to get a deal done with the British government. If we don’t it’ll be a failure of politics that’s going to damage the British economy, the Irish economy and the EU economy so we have to keep our eye on the big prize," Coveney said, adding that he thinks the UK would be more at risk than the EU.

Boris Johnson has argued that the UK's internal market bill is about "protecting jobs, protecting growth, ensuring the fluidity and safety of our UK internal market and prosperity throughout the United Kingdom."

Coveney said the UK was playing politics at a sensitive time and on a sensitive topic. He said the UK government was being "irresponsible".

"We got no heads up that they were going to do this which would normally be the case. If the UK had a real issue here that they were trying to solve then people like me would have got a phone call from my counterparts in London, saying: ‘We’ve got a real issue here Simon we’re going to raise it this week help us solve it and we’ll try to move this thing forward.

"That isn’t what happened. Instead, the British government briefed their own parliament and briefed the media on a pretty dramatic change of course in terms of their approach to these negotiations; threatening to breach international law and to breach an agreement that they signed up to less than a year ago.

"And so I think we have to see this through a political lens as well as a legal one. There’s a deliberate attempt in my view to try to create real tension this week to try to shake things up, presumably in an effort to try to squeeze some concessions out of the EU side as these negotiations need to be put back together in the weeks ahead.

"There is a deliberate attempt in my view to create real tension this week to try and shake things up, presumably in an effort to try to squeeze some concessions out of the EU side," Coveney said.

His words also come as the EU released a firm statement on the Brexit bill, stating that they would not be shy in taking the UK to court. Many EU officials have said that this has damaged the relationship between the bloc and the UK, and impacted the EU's trust.

"We need to figure out now how are we going to protect EU interests and from my perspective Irish interests as well and get these negotiations back on track," Coveney told Euronews.

A UK official told Euronews the government was "caught off guard" by the leak of the internal market bill and it didn’t have time to inform the EU or Irish government about the planned changes.