The talks to agree a post Brexit trade deal have been extended again following a phone call today between the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.
The leaders issued a jointly agreed statement to instruct their negotiation teams to continue trade talks past today´s ‘deadline’ of Sunday 13th December.
The statement echoed the press announcements that both leaders made today saying that “we had a useful and constructive phone call this morning” and that “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.’
The two leaders confirmed that ‘we have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.’
The UK left the European Union in 2019 but remains in a transition period which is due to end on 31st December 2020.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, was in Brussels earlier this week attending the EU Summit which featured an update on the Brexit negotiations including that only the EU´s negotiating team would be involved thereby by-passing national governments.
Spain has the largest population of overseas British citizens resident in an EU country with an estimated 300,000 people living permanently in the country.
The UK is one of Spain´s largest export markets as well as its biggest tourist market with nearly 18 million visitors from the UK to Spain in 2019.
A failure to agree a UK – EU post Brexit trade deal could have a major effect on the Spanish economy.
Speaking on Sky News today, the Spanish Foreign Minister, Arancha González, said it “takes two to tango” but that it is in the interests of both the European Union and the UK to reach a deal by the 31st December deadline.