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Britain sticking to EU deal timeline, Irish finance minister says after talks

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Britain appears to be sticking to its plan to seek a free trade deal with the EU by the end of 2020 even though formal talks have been postponed due to the coronavirus, Ireland’s finance minister said after talks with his British counterpart.

“My sense at the moment is that the British government will not be changing the timeline they have in relation to Brexit,” Donohoe told a news conference on Friday, citing a conversation with British finance minister Rishi Sunak a day earlier.

“We have said on a number of occasions that we thought it was already going to be very demanding to get all of this done by the end of the year. It is going to be a matter for the United Kingdom … but a pretty demanding agenda has definitely gotten even more demanding because of how COVID-19 (coronavirus) has occupied the efforts of everybody.”

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries; Editing by Mark Heinrich)