Britain and EU revive Brexit talks by video amid coronavirus crisis

UK government determined to press on with full divorce from bloc despite Covid-19 pandemic

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on January 29, 2020, British members of the European Parliament from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats pose for a group photograph wearing scarves depicting the European Union and the Union Jack flags at The Europa Building in Brussels. British and European Union officials on April 15, 2020, have agreed to schedule three new rounds of post-Brexit trade talks, starting next week, after the coronavirus epidemic disrupted their negotiating timetable.  A joint statement following a call between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and UK counterpart David Frost made no mention of postponing the end of Britain's transition out of the bloc beyond December 31. 
 / AFP / JOHN THYS
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Brexit negotiations have resumed after British and EU officials held a video conference on Wednesday with the aim of completing talks by the end of the year.

Later, the UK’s David Frost and EU’s Michel Barnier issued a statement in which they said both sides would need more negotiations to make further progress.

Despite of the coronavirus pandemic, the British government is committed to continuing with the full divorce from the EU when the transition finishes at the end of this year.

Many observers considered this timetable highly optimistic even before the Covid-19 outbreak, but the UK is determined to press on.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was confident a conclusion could be reached by both sides within a "timeline that we’ve set out".

Both sides "took stock of the technical work" that had been done since the last negotiating round, and looked ahead to later talks.

All future rounds would take place by video, they said.

The talks to come, which will last one week for each round, have been planned for April 20, May 11 and June 1.

Mr Frost and Mr Barnier agreed that the proper and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement was a key priority for Britain and the EU.

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