The statement from Downing Street on Thursday afternoon read “The Deal Is Made” – and this was quickly followed by confirmation from Brussels.
Speaking shortly after the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the agreement was a “good deal” for “all of Europe” – an agreement signifying “new stability and new certainty in what was at times a fractured and difficult relationship.”
Echoing the nationalist rhetoric that featured prominently in the Brexit referendum campaign, he said: “We have regained control of our laws and our destiny … As of January 1, we are outside the customs union and outside the single market; British laws will only take over the British Parliament, and its interpretation from Before the UK judges sitting in the UK courts; the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will expire. ”
Johnson claimed that the UK had struck a “Canadian-style” trade deal worth 660 billion pounds (893 billion US dollars) and touched upon the agreement on fisheries – a major point of contention in the negotiations – saying that the UK had regained “full control” over Its waters.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed that the European Union had reached a fair and balanced trade agreement after Brexit, but indicated that the bloc had the upper hand in the negotiations.
“As we have learned, however, if there had been a difficult exit from the European Union, it would not be good for both sides, but it would have hit the UK harder than the EU with all its strength of 450 million citizens. Von der Leyen said at a press conference:” Thus, from a position of strength, we were able to reach a comprehensive agreement that we got. ”
Key points of the deal:
- Tariffs and zero quotas on goods
- End of freedom of movement, which means that UK citizens will not have the right to work, live, study or start a business in the EU without a visa
- Border checks will apply between the United Kingdom and European Union member states
- There will be no hard border on the island of Ireland between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
- The United Kingdom will be able to further develop British fishing activities for a period of at least 5 and a half years, during which time European fishing communities will be protected
- A shared commitment to protecting the environment, combating climate change and pricing carbon
- A shared commitment to protect social and labor rights
- Maintain standards of tax transparency
- Rights of passengers and workers in the transport sector
- The United Kingdom continued to participate in a number of EU programs until 2027 such as Horizon Europe, subject to a financial contribution from the United Kingdom.
Now that a deal has been agreed, the leaders of the European Union, the European Parliament and the UK government will need to approve the agreement themselves.
The agreement’s massive legal text will first be translated, revised and approved by all 27 EU member states, whose leaders have welcomed the news to a large extent.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that “European unity and firmness have borne fruit” and described the agreement as “essential.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the fact that the Good Friday Agreement would be safeguarded and said it was a “new start” for British relations.
Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Crowe said the only thing that mattered to him was to ensure the best protection of Belgium’s economic interests. “We must protect our Belgian companies from unfair British competition. Initial reports seem to indicate that this agreement will give us this crucial guarantee,” he said.
Once all member states give their consent, it will then return to the European Parliament, where members of the European Parliament will vote to ratify the agreement.
But the European Parliament said it was too late to hold an emergency vote before the transition period ends on Dec.31.
Instead, they plan to implement the EU-UK deal “temporarily”, with members of the European Parliament formally reconvening to ratify the deal in the new year. Parliament meets on December 28 to discuss the Christmas Eve deal.
In the UK, British lawmakers will be brought back from the Christmas holidays to debate the legislation on December 30th. The opposition Labor Party said on Thursday that they would accept and vote on the trade deal.
While the agreement marks a milestone in the four and a half years since the UK voted to leave the European Union, it is unlikely to end the years of toxic political debate in the UK.
Skeptical lawmakers in Europe are already organizing efforts to ensure the deal leaves no room for the UK to return to the EU’s orbit.
After the announcement on Thursday, Johnson strengthened his support for leaving the bloc, saying that while the European Union was, and remains, an unusual concept, “the UK’s relationship with it has always been difficult”.
“This too extensive integration program was not a good fit for the UK, which is why it was right to take back control the way we have. I think this deal reflects what the people of the country voted for in 2016 and I think and said, ‘There was wisdom in what they decided.’
Meanwhile, pro-Europeans are hoping that at some point in the future the UK, possibly under new leadership, will be able to strengthen ties with Brussels.
European company Von Der Leyen admitted it was a tough day for some in the UK, but made it clear that Europe was ready to make its own way.
Quoting the poet TS Elliott, she said: “What we call the beginning, is often the end, and to have an end, is the beginning.”
“So I say to all Europeans, it is time to leave Brexit – our future is made in Europe.”
James Frater and Lauren Kent of CNN contributed to this report.