The U.K. and the European Union have agreed to extend ongoing discussions on post-Brexit free trade negotiations, saying that it was “responsible at this point in time to go the extra mile.”
The talks have been going on for months and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had set Sunday as the final deadline for negotiations.
“We had a useful phone call this morning. We discussed the major unresolved topics,” Johnson and von der Leyen said in a joint statement on Sunday afternoon.
“Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days. And 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. We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached.”
Matters had seemingly reached an impasse on Saturday, with Johnson saying that talks were likely to fail.
The U.K. voted to leave the EU in 2016 and finally left on Jan. 31. The country is in a period of economic transition that is due to end Dec. 31. The Sunday deadline for talks was self-imposed.
“The Conservatives promised the British people that they had an oven-ready deal and that they would get Brexit done,” a spokesperson for the opposition Labour party said. “The government needs to deliver on that promise, get us the deal and allow us to move on as a country.”
If the U.K. leaves the EU without a deal, it will be a costly affair for both sides, with hundreds of billions lost. Read Variety’s report on how Brexit will affect the U.K. film and TV industry here.