Talks between the UK and the European Union on a post-Brexit trade
deal are likely to run into next week, missing a mid-November deadline,
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.
When asked when a deal was likely, he said: “I think it’s unlikely this week. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong”.
He made the comments in an online event organised by the European Movement Ireland.
“I think it is likely to move into next week,” he said.
Ambassadors of the 27 EU member states in Brussels will not be
updated on the talks at a regular meeting today and the issue is now
pencilled in for their meeting on 18 November, a senior diplomat of the
However, in a sign that the estranged allies are still pushing for an
agreement, EU sources said they now expected negotiators to come up
with an agreed text in the middle of next week, unless talks collapse or
there is a breakthrough earlier.
“The real cut-off point is late next week,” said one EU diplomat who follows Brexit in EU hub Brussels.
Both EU diplomats said the agenda could be updated at the last minute should the negotiations yield a breakthrough or collapse.
A British source also said the negotiating teams’ talks in London were expected to last through the end of this week.
‘Another year needed’ to amend NI medicines distribution after Brexit
Another year should give enough time to amend Northern Ireland’s
medicines supply chain after Brexit, an industry expert has said.
Dr Richard Greville, from the Association of the British
Pharmaceutical Industry, told MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee that flexibility for 12 months should allow everyone to make
the changes required.
He said 80% of medicines in Northern Ireland were delivered on a
daily or twice-daily basis from Great Britain depending on demand.
An EU directive covers the unique identification of every pack of medicine and is designed to prevent falsification.
Unique identifiers will be needed for products to replace the system used in Europe.
Dr Greville added: “We hoped that as part of the comprehensive trade
deal, that there could be some arrangement made but I am sorry to say
with a small number of weeks left before the end of the year we cannot
hold out promise for that.”
He said he hoped the current distribution system would be allowed to proceed, at least in the short term.
Under the Falsified Medicines Directive, a pack of medicine in
Northern Ireland is certified as authentic through its unique
At present, without that marker, pharmacists should quarantine that pack and not give it to patients, Dr Greville added.
He said the barrier was a regulatory one.
“The Commission requires the medicines exported from Europe, if they hold this unique identifier, that this is decommissioned.
“They feel that the system that they have introduced, this
verification system, is an EU only system and should not be used outside
of the EU.”
Additional reporting PA