Britain and the European Union are to push on past yet another self-imposed deadline with negotiations for a post-Brexit deal on their future relationship, with just over two weeks left to clinch an agreement.
“We think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement on Sunday.
After a crunch phone call - which had been set as a deadline to make a decision on the future of talks - the two leaders said they had instructed their chief negotiators “to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.” They did not immediately name another deadline. Any agreement would also need ratification, meaning the approval process would also run down to the wire.
Britain formally left the EU at the end of January, but remains a member of the bloc’s internal market and customs union until a transition period runs out at the end of the year.
If no deal governing future relations is clinched by the end of the month, the harshest of tariffs will be instated and cumbersome customs checks will slow down business on both sides.
– London (dpa), 13 Dec, 2020