September 27, 2019 / 1:25 PM / 19 days ago

Time is running out for new British proposals - Ireland's Coveney

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends a conference in Paris, France, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union and Britain have yet to narrow their differences to reach a new agreement on London’s withdrawal from the bloc, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Friday, warning that time was running out.

Simon Coveney, who met EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Friday, said the EU was still eager to negotiate but that it had to be on the basis of a “serious proposal” from Britain. Britain is due to leave the bloc on Oct. 31

“That hasn’t happened yet and until there is a serious proposal in writing ... then the gaps that are wide at the moment will remain. And time is running out,” he told reporters.

“The onus is on the British prime minister and his team,” he said, adding that Ireland was open to extending the Brexit departure date. “An extension is preferable to no deal,” he said.

In response to Coveney’s remarks, a British government spokesman told reporters in Brussels: “Serious discussions are taking place and we must continue to move forward with momentum.”

Reporting by Jorrit Donner-Wittkopf and Gabriela Bacynska; writing by Robin Emmott; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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