'Bit of oomph' required to reach Brexit deal by end of year says Boris Johnson

15 June 2020, 15:03 | Updated: 15 June 2020, 16:00

File photo: The Prime Minister and Brussels chiefs agreed on work aimed at concluding a deal by the end of the year
File photo: The Prime Minister and Brussels chiefs agreed on work aimed at concluding a deal by the end of the year. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Boris Johnson has said a "bit of oomph" is needed in Brexit negotiations so the UK can reach a deal by the end of the year.

The Prime Minister said he believes the UK has a "very good" chance of securing a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year, "provided we really focus now and get on and do it".

Mr Johnson held a video call with 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 Monday to continue discussions.

They agreed on work aimed at concluding a deal by the end of the year, including the possibility of "finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement".

Talks will intensify in July in a bid to ratify the UK’s exit deal by December 31 – the end of the transition period.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: "It's very clear what the UK needs."

"We can't have the involvement of the European Court of Justice in this country; we can't have a system whereby we continue to have to obey EU law even when we're out of the EU and we've got to get a great deal for our fish.

"It's very clear what we need to achieve, I don't think we're actually that far apart, but what we need now is to see a bit of oomph in the negotiations."

Meetings held last week failed to produce movement on trade talks after the EU accepted the UK would not ask for an extension to the transition period.

In a statement, a Number 10 spokesperson 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.

European Council President Charles Michel, on screen right, speaks via videoconference to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
European Council President Charles Michel, on screen right, speaks via videoconference to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Picture: PA

“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.

“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.”

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