BRUSSELS CAVES: EU finally accepts UK will leave in 2020 – now just SIX weeks to save deal

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The Prime Minister met European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament President David Sassoli by video conference to assess the progress made on a post-Brexit trade agreement. A statement from the European Commission confirmed both sides had noted the UK decision not to request an extension to the transition period beyond the end of this year, with Britain leaving on December 31. The statement said: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson met the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, on 15 June by videoconference to take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing actions to move forward in negotiations on the future relationship.

“The Parties noted the UK’s decision not to request any extension to the transition period. The transition period will therefore end on 31 December 2020, in line with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

“The Parties welcomed the constructive discussions on the future relationship that had taken place under the leadership of Chief Negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier, allowing both sides to clarify and further understand positions. They noted that four rounds had been completed and texts exchanged despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

But the European Commission admitted “new momentum was required” as time runs out to agree the post-Brexit trade agreement.

The statement added: “The Parties agreed nevertheless 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. This should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement.

“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.”

Following the meeting,  European Council President Charles Michel tweeted: “EU-UK meeting with @vonderleyen @EP_President & @BorisJohnson.

“A broad & ambitious agreement, in line with #EUCO guidelines, is in our mutual interest.

“Ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke. Level playing field is essential.”

This is a breaking story. More to follow…

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