Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

11.56 13 Dec 2020


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The EU and the UK have agreed that Brexit trade talks will continue beyond today after negotiators made progress.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said negotiators would "go the extra mile".

It follows a phone conversation between President von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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In a joint statement, she said that had a "useful" phone call this morning where they "discussed the major unresolved topics".

President von der Leyen added: "Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days.

"And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.

"We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached."

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the joint declaration was "a good signal".

He added it was "time to hold our nerve and allow the negotiators to inch progress forward", warning a deal is "clearly very difficult, but possible".

Earlier this morning, the Taoiseach said a no-deal Brexit would be "very bad for all of us" and "an appalling failure of statecraft" from both the EU and the UK.

Speaking to the BBC, Micheál Martin said a no-deal scenario "would be very bad news for all of us".

He added: "I think it would be an appalling failure of statecraft if we were not in a position to get a deal over the line."

There are now less than three weeks until the end of the transition period - the arrangements that came into force after Brexit happened on January 31st this year which have seen the UK continue to follow most EU rules.

Additional reporting by IRN

Main image: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before their meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Credit: European Union/Handout via Xinhua

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