LONDON, (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday held video talks with European Union (EU) chiefs, with both sides calling for a new momentum in the search for an agreement before the end of this year when the Brexit transition period ends.
In a joint statement published after the online summit between Johnson and President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, the two sides said they noted Britain’s decision not to request any extension to the transition period.
The transition period will therefore end on Dec. 31, 2020, in line with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, said the statement.
Britain on Friday formally ruled out the possibility of an extended post-Brexit transition period.
However, the two sides agreed that new momentum was required.
“They supported the plans agreed by Chief Negotiators to intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020,” said the statement.
“This should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement,” said the statement.
Ahead of Monday’s talks, Von der Leyen said the EU was ready to intensify talks, and was available 24/7.
“The Parties underlined their intention to work hard to deliver a relationship, which would work in the interests of the citizens of the Union and of the United Kingdom. They also confirmed their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement,” said the joint statement.
The video summit followed four rounds of negotiations between Britain and the EU during past few months, which saw little progress made on major stumbling blocks such as fisheries, governance arrangements and the so-called level playing field.
Britain ended its EU membership on Jan. 31 but is still following EU rules during the transition period until Dec. 31 to enable a permanent future trade deal to be reached. During this period, Britain would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels. Enditem