07:44 GMT26 February 2020
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    After more than three years of hurdles and uncertainty, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union on 31 January, paving the way for new economic relations with both the bloc and other countries. As trade talks loom on the horizon, Prime Minister Johnson said that the UK will not undermine EU standards while forging new post-Brexit deals.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated on Monday that she is willing to alter EU treaties if she must, now that Brexit has been effectuated. Speaking during a news conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Merkel added that Britain's divorce from the bloc means that the EU needs to boost its competitiveness and “act quicker”.

    "I could well imagine treaty changes should this be necessary," Merkel said.

    Merkel's statement comes as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to keep "the highest standards" in terms of competition policy, subsidies, social protection, and the environment under a future trade deal with the EU. However, he insisted that London would not follow EU rules under the prospective deal.

    UK withdraws from the EU

    On 31 January, the United Kingdom finally pulled out of the European Union following three failed attempts after the Brexit referendum in 2016.

    Britain is now facing an almost year-long transition period, during which it is expected to ink trade deals with other nations.

    Formal trade negotiations between the UK and the EU will begin next month upon the approval of the bloc’s members.

    EU nations have urged London to forge the deal before the end of the transition period or otherwise face an abrupt breakaway from the bloc.

    Merkel, Brexit, Germany
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