Irish premier Micheal Martin has described the Brexit talks as being on a “knife-edge” and says he is not “overly optimistic” about a breakthrough.
As an EU official said that any deal was “definitely” not going to be reached by Sunday night, the Taoiseach reckoned that his gut feeling was that it was 50-50 on whether a Brexit deal would be achieved at all.
Negotiations resumed in Brussels on Sunday after Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen gave the green light for talks to resume.
The discussions on reaching a trade deal are entering their final days, with both sides hoping to overcome significant differences on fair competition and fishing rights.
Mr Martin said it is very important that “common sense prevails” and that a post-Brexit trade deal is reached.
“I think the situation is serious and the three issues that prove very difficult to reconcile all the way through the talks are still there to be dealt with,” Mr Martin added.
“Namely, the level field, which is proving particularly difficult, fisheries and of course the dispute resolution mechanism to deal with the level playing field issue.
“My sense is that we are at a very difficult juncture and it’s important that the Zoom talks use every piece of creativity they can, that the participants try and get a resolution.
“Because a no-deal would be very damaging to all concerned, to the United Kingdom, to the Irish economy and indeed to the economies of member states as well.
“It’s very, very important that common sense prevails here and that a deal is done.
“Things are on a knife-edge and it is serious.
“I don’t think one can be overly optimistic about a resolution emerging and my sense, having spoken to some of the key principals here, that this is a very challenging issue to resolve, particularly around the level playing field.”