UK, EU leaders reach historic Brexit deal after months of negotiations
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
The U.K. and the European Union agreed to a historic Brexit trade deal Thursday after months of tense negotiations and with just days left before the deadline, leaders from both sides announced.
The thousand-page trade agreement means that the U.K. can finally depart from the EU and sets up the framework for British-EU relations post-Brexit, according to The New York Times. The deal concluded more than four years of bitter Brexit negotiations after British citizens voted in favor of leaving the EU in June 2016.
“It was a long and winding road. But we have got a good deal to show for it,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU’s executive arm, said in a statement Thursday. “It is fair and balanced. And it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also celebrated the deal saying he was “very pleased” with the agreement in a statement of his own.
The deal is done. pic.twitter.com/zzhvxOSeWz
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 24, 2020
“We have taken back control of laws and our destiny,” Johnson said. “We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation. In a way that is complete and unfettered.”
“British laws will be made solely by the British Parliament,” he continued. “Interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts. And the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end.”
Johnson said the deal included a free trade agreement, which would ensure U.K. goods could be sold in EU countries without tariffs or quotas. He said the deal would protect and save jobs in the U.K.
The deal would ensure fair and equal competition in the EU market, Von der Leyen said echoing Johnson’s sentiment. She added that the EU would continue to partner with the U.K. on climate change, energy, security and transportation.
However, Thursday’s agreement will lead to some added fees for British companies in the form of border checks, according to The Times. Johnson was also forced to compromise on key issues including on rules governing who can fish in British waters.
The EU, European parliament and U.K. government will need to vote on the agreement separately in order to ratify it, CNN reported. Although the official Brexit period ends on Dec. 31, the deal isn’t expected to gain official approval until early 2021. It will be implemented on a provisional basis until then.
Johnson’s conservative party won a massive landslide victory in 2019 after promising to move forward on Brexit and finalize a deal with the EU.