Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said “considerable gaps” remain between the European Union and the U.K. in their efforts to find a trade deal, as he prepared to meet European Council President Charles Michel.
Martin will meet Michel in Dublin on Thursday, before next week’s meeting of the European Council. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants the outlines of a deal to be clear by Oct. 15, or else he may quit talks.
“As EU leaders have stated repeatedly, we want an agreement, but it cannot be at any price,” Martin said before the meeting. “The EU has also made it clear that the U.K. needs to demonstrate its commitment to full and faithful implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
The U.K. plan to override parts of the divorce deal, including provisions to avoid the return of a hard border to Ireland, sparked a wave of support for Ireland from the bloc. Still, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Wednesday that a trade deal would deal with many of the concerns stemming from the U.K.’s plan, adding optimism was growing that an accord is in sight.