The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, said on Wednesday it would be “very difficult” for the United Kingdom and the European Union to reach a Brexit agreement before the October 31 deadline.
He told Irish broadcaster RTE “big gaps” remained between the two sides.
Amid claims on Tuesday that talks were close to collapse, he also suggested the language around the discussions had turned toxic “in some quarters.”
Mr. Varadkar and British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson are expected to meet for further Brexit talks later this week.
The UK has said the EU needs to “move quickly” to stop it leaving without an agreement at the end of the month.
Varadkar, who spoke with Mr. Johnson by phone for about 45 minutes on Tuesday, said he would strive until the “last moment” to reach a deal with the UK, but “not at any cost” to his country, Northern Ireland and the rest of Europe.
He also downplayed the chances of any agreement being struck before the crucial summit of EU leaders on October 17, during which the next steps for Brexit are likely to be decided.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly,” Mr. Varadkar said.
“Essentially, what the UK has done is repudiated the deal that we negotiated in good faith with prime minister [Theresa] May’s government over two years and have sort of put half of that now back on the table, and are saying that’s a concession. And of course, it isn’t really.” (BBC)