The President of the European Commission said the EU want their relationship with Britain to be “as close as possible” and said they were aiming for a “zero tariff, zero quota, zero dumping” arrangement”. She revealed that the European Council has again tasked the European Commission to be the European Union’s negotiator with Britain. Ursula von der Leyen also declared the European Union will be prepared from February 1 to “go to work” regarding the Brexit process.
She said: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his victory.
“Now we expect the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement to be ended by January.
“We are ready to move to the next phase of our relationship.
“We want our future relationship to be as close as possible.
“The European Council today has tasked us the European Commission to remain the Unions negotiator for the next phase of the talks.
“The time frame is going to be very challenging, we are going to have to work as soon as possible.
“We will be ready to get the most out of the short period available but for me it is important to say that in this moment yes will become a third country.
“At the very end we will have an unprecedented partnership.”
She contniued: “This is the beginning of excellent future relations between good neighbours.
“It is also of utmost importance that we care for the 3.5 million European citizens in the UK.
“Therefore we are getting ready now to formulate the mandate that is necessary to start the negotiations and to be prepared from February 1 to go to work.”
Today Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has also congratulated Johnson on his “clear election victory”.
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Mrs Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert this morning tweeted: “Congratulations, Boris Johnson, on your resounding victory.
“I look forward to our further cooperation for the friendship and close partnership of our countries.”
The backing from Mrs Merkel echoed an almost complete backing for Mr Johnson across the EU.
Both EU President Charles Michel and Luxembourg leader Xavier Bettel congratulated the Prime Minister on his re-election.
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