European leaders welcome Brexit clarity following Conservative victory

WION Web Team New Delhi Dec 13, 2019, 08.21 AM(IST)

File Photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Exit polls showed Johnson's Conservative Party would enjoy a majority of 86 seats in the 650-seat British parliament. 

While welcoming Boris Johnson's expected victory in UK elections, European leaders on Thursday said it would be challenging to agree a post-Brexit trade deal by the end of 2020.

Exit polls showed Johnson's Conservative Party would enjoy a majority of 86 seats in the 650-seat British parliament, news agency Reuters reported.

"It is a very clear result - it will not change by tomorrow morning," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was quoted as saying to reporters in Brussels after the first day of an EU summit.

"It means that we will move forward with our separation now. We now have 11 months to hash out a deal (on the future trade agreement). It's a very short time," he added.

EU leaders will discuss on Friday a mandate for the European Commission to negotiate the future relationship with Britain after Brexit now expected at the end of January, with a transition period until the end of 2020.

"The most important thing with Brexit is not the way we divorce, it's what we build afterwards," France's European affairs minister Amelie de Montchalin told reporters.

Britain and the EU have to negotiate a trade deal by the end of 2020 because that is when a transition period for Britain's withdrawal ends. 

Without a new deal, trade relations between London and its biggest trading partner - the EU - could be based on basic to World Trade Organization terms.

"We are ready to negotiate whatever is necessary, and it will be important tomorrow to get the mandate for the steps from the council (of EU leaders)," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

(With inputs from Reuters)