BRUSSELS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Britain is making it more
difficult to reach a basic trade deal with the European Union by
pushing through domestic legislation that undermines its
international withdrawal treaty with the EU, Irish foreign
Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after EU ministers were briefed by the
EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on progress in
talks, Coveney said many EU foreign ministers were starting to
think that Britain did not want a deal with the EU.
"There is a growing sense that perhaps the United Kingdom
does not want a deal and that it is more about managing the
blame game as the negotiations fail," Coveney said.
"I believe the prime minister and the UK government do want
a deal. Even though they are behaving in a strange way to get
that done in terms of the legislation coming through," he said.
The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing a
bill, expected to pass through the lower chamber of parliament
next week, that would break agreements Britain made in the
"People have been very taken aback by the deliberate
strategy coming from the British government. This is very
damaging to Britain's reputation outside the bubble of Brexit
discussions," Coveney said.
"Undoubtedly, the tactics of the British government have
made an already very complex negotiation even more difficult. Of
course if the legislation continues, there will be a legal
response from the EU, I expect," he said.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss and Jan Strupczewski)