BRUSSELS, February 1. /TASS/. The European Union’s diplomatic mission to the United Kingdom begins its work in the country on Saturday, February 1, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in a statement.
"The diplomatic representation of the European Union from now on will be ensured by an EU Delegation, under my authority as High Representative of the Union for Foreign affairs and Security Policy," the EU top diplomat said.
Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida from Portugal was appointed as the head of the delegation.
"In addition to the traditional responsibilities of an EU Delegation in a third country, such as EU diplomatic representation, EU coordination and reporting and promotion of the EU in the host country, the EU Delegation to the United Kingdom will have a key role in ensuring the implementation of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement," Borrell said.
He once again expressed regret over London’s decision to part ways with the European Union.
"While we regret the decision of the United Kingdom to leave our Union, we fully respect this choice and are ready to move forward," he said.
Borrell assured that economic, social and political ties between the EU and the UK would not be severed.
"We are and will remain closely linked. Our wish is to build a new ambitious partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense," he said.
The United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union overnight to February 1. After January 31, the UK and the EU enter a transition period meant to maintain the status quo, particularly on trade and tariffs, while the two sides are negotiating a deal on future trading relations. The transition period is scheduled to end on December 31, 2020. London is also obliged to continue paying membership fees to the EU budget until the end of 2020.
During the transition period, the sides are set to agree upon all terms of future co-existence and contacts, including an agreement on free trade.