Germany’s foreign minister met with the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Monday to discuss the future relations of the 27-member group with Britain after a transition period ends on December 31, 2020.
After several delays, the British Parliament finally ratified the withdrawal agreement and Britain left the EU on January 31, 2019.
Standing alongside Michel Barnier, Heiko Maas told reporters at a news conference in Berlin that the coronavirus pandemic has made the process to reach a post-Brexit trade deal even more urgent.
“The stakes may be even higher now than they were a year ago. The corona[virus] pandemic has made the talks even more difficult, but it has also made an agreement even more urgent,” he said.
Maas, however, said that the intention is to have a good, long-term partnership with Britain.
"Our door remains open for a close and ambitious partnership with Great Britain. That is and will remain our goal," he said.
Both officials thanked one another for the opportunity to discuss the post-Brexit road forward.
The head of the EU and Britain's prime minister each told their chief negotiators Saturday to work “intensively” for reaching a post-Brexit trade deal before time runs out in a matter of weeks.