September 15, 2017 / 2:30 PM / in 10 months

Irish PM not optimistic Brexit talks will move onto next stage in October

CLONMEL, Ireland (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Friday said he was not optimistic that Britain and the European Union will have made enough progress by an October leaders’ summit to launch negotiations on the post-Brexit relationship.

FILE PHOTO: Irish Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

The EU has said that talks on the future relationship can only start after the other 27 EU governments are satisfied that “sufficient progress” has been made on the terms of Britain’s departure.

“At this moment in time, I’m not optimistic that it will be possible to come to the view in October that we’re able to move onto the next phase of talks,” Varadkar told a news conference. “As of now enough progress hasn’t been made but that can change.”

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who was also at the briefing said the EU was unlikely to agree to move to the second phase of the negotiations “unless there is a significant further move from the British government”.

The summit is taking place on Oct. 19-20.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Alison Williams

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