Finally some sense! Ireland breaks ranks to admit EU WON’T be able to bully UK into deal

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Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney, the country’s Brexit envoy, has claimed the Democrat’s win could have a “dampening effect” on trade and security talks between the UK and European Union. He is fearful politicians could be lulled into a false sense of security because of the President-elect’s Irish roots and positive words about Brussels. The warning will come as a blow to senior EU figures who were banking on Mr Biden to help pave the way for a series of concessions by Downing Street in the wrangling over a post-Brexit trade deal.

Some in Brussels had hoped his election would have an “immediate impact” on the trade talks.

But Mr Coveney will tell Irish cabinet ministers today Mr Biden’s victory in the race for the White House will not help end the logjam in the row over fishing rights and controls over state subsidies.

The foreign minister is set to ask his colleagues in Dublin to ramp up their no-deal Brexit preparations after a series of gloomy briefings by Michel Barnier.

He will outline the next fortnight will be crucial in the hunt for a UK-EU future relationship pact.

Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, had claimed the talks were on a “trajectory” to failure despite almost two weeks of intensified talks with Britain.

The Frenchman is currently in London for further discussions with UK counterpart Lord Frost ahead of the mid-November deadline for a deal.

Sources on both sides are pessimistic about the chances of a breakthrough before the end of the week.

While progress has been made on a joint legal text, there are concerns surrounding the deadlocks on the level-playing field and access to Britain’s fishing grounds.

Mr Barnier has expressed the need for a breakthrough by the end of the week if there is to be a post-Brexit agreement.

A European love affair for Mr Biden’s election has provided a backdrop to recent trade talks between the bloc and UK.

President Donald Trump, an advocate of Brexit, was described as a “foe” by Josep Borrell, the bloc’s top foreign diplomat.

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And senior German MEP Manfred Weber claimed Mr Biden’s victory would be “better for us Europeans”.

Mr Weber said: “Boris Johnson cannot say to the citizens in Great Britain that he will get an immediate, great trade deal with the Americans.

“On the other hand, Biden was always a clear supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, strengthening the Irish position in the talks.

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“So, it is creating positive leverage for us as Europeans in the talks with our British friends.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has sought to manage expectations of a fresh boost to EU-US relations in the wake of the election.

She said: “I believe divisions can always be breached, wounds can be healed, but some shifts in priorities and perceptions run much deeper than one politician or one administration, and they will not disappear because of one election. This has an impact on the next chapter.”

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