European Union ambassadors were convening to start assessing the massive free-trade deal that the bloc struck with Britain, which should begin next week when the acrimonious Brexit divorce process finally comes to an end.
After the deal was announced on Thursday, EU nations already showed support for the outcome and it was expected that they would unanimously back the agreement, a prerequisite for its legal approval.
Speedily approving the deal is essential, as a transition period in which Britain continues to trade by EU rules despite its Jan. 31 departure runs out on New Year’s Day
The British parliament is expected to approve the deal in the coming days, but the agreement must be applied provisionally, as the European Parliament can only give its consent next month at the earliest. There, too, approval is expected.
The strong showing of unity is testament to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, who has worked relentlessly to keep all EU nations and the groups within the European Parliament in the loop of developments throughout the torturous negotiations.
It took more than three years of wrangling before Britain left the bloc’s political structures in January. Disentangling the two sides’ economies and reconciling Britain’s desire for independence with the EU’s aim of preserving its unity took months longer.
The two sides claim that the 2,000-page agreement protects their cherished goals.
Britain said that it gives the UK control over its money, borders, laws and fishing grounds, while the EU said that it protects the EU’s single market and contains safeguards to ensure that Britain does not unfairly undercut the bloc’s standards.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that although the UK would become a “third country,” it would be a trusted partner.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was a “good deal for the whole of Europe, and for our friends and partners as well.”
Leaders around the continent were quick to herald the accord. Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin — whose EU member state would have been hard hit by a no-deal — said that the accord was the “least bad version of Brexit possible.”
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We have a five year armistice.Dec 26th, 2020 - 03:03 pm +2
After which there will be another reckoning on some issues like fishing.
Going straight to WTO rules during this pandemic would have involved quite a shock to the economy, this is effectively a “halfway house”, paperwork, procedures, and protocols are basically the same as WTO but no tariffs or quotas.
It is then only a short half step to WTO rules, as far as procedures are concerned, should it go that way in 5 years time.
Meanwhile we have a deal we can live with, quota and tariff free access to the EU market, no freedom of movement, no EU contributions no EU laws or ECJ.
Quite a result for Boris and Lord Frost, even the hard-line Brexiteers can live with this.
Greetings, Chicureo.Dec 27th, 2020 - 12:19 pm +2
Salutes to Chile:) I have fond memories of 1954 when as a 15 years old Boy Seaman Gunner, we were handsomely welcomed...Including a banquet fit for a monarchy...At the fourth or fifth(?) raising of my wine glass ans Salut! Some of us fell over...
I discovered then that it is better to enjoy a foreign relationship than to antagonise it.
Also, my thanks to the Chilean for laying a wreath for my Uncle who died at the Battle of Coronel...
You all assume UK but the chances are that it will break up or be less united as before. Trade therefore will not be the picture you imagine. Things evolute. Divided we do not stand.Dec 27th, 2020 - 11:13 am +1
If you disagree (and I've no doubt you will) then bear in mind that I as well as many manu others did not vote for Brexit, but we must be accept your vote under the Brexit matrix...