May 7, 2020 / 3:24 PM / a month ago

Britain unlikely to request Brexit extension: Irish foreign minister

FILE PHOTO: Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaks to media in a count centre, during Ireland's national election, in Cork, Ireland, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - It appears unlikely that Britain will request an extension of its year-end deadline to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Thursday.

“I want to be honest with everybody ... At the moment, the way I see it, we are unlikely to see a request for an extension. So we will have to plan on that basis,” Coveney said.

The British government has insisted that it will not seek an extension to the transition period, which is due to end in December 2020, whether or not a trade deal has been struck, and despite the economic upheaval caused to both Britain and the EU by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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