The EU has announced that a post-Brexit trade deal between the 27-nation bloc and the world’s sixth-largest economy has been struck just days before the deadline.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier announced that a deal has finally been agreed between Brussels and London.
The two parties have been negotiating since January 31, after the UK officially left the EU and entered the transition period.
“We have finally found an agreement, it was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it” von der Leyen said. “It is a good deal for both sides.”
Von der Leyen noted three conclusions from the agreement.
Firstly, she contended that “the single market will be fair and remains so.” Secondly, the commission president said that the EU will continue cooperating with the UK in all areas of mutual interest, including climate change. Thirdly, von der Leyen added that the EU has secured five and a half years of full predictability over fishing rights, which had been a major area of disagreement between the two negotiating parties.
Speaking after the commission president, Barnier said the clock is “no longer ticking.”
He added that today is a “day of relief” but one tinged by “some sadness” as he spoke of his areas of regret with regards to the outcome of the negotiations.
“The deal is done,” tweeted Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who celebrated by putting two thumbs up.
The deal is done. pic.twitter.com/zzhvxOSeWz
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 24, 2020
Rumours had been circulating for the last few days that a deal was near, but there was apparently a last moment hitch in regards to fishing rights.
The agreement marks the conclusion of an 11-month negotiation period, which began when Britain entered the transition period on January 31, 2020. If an agreement wasn’t reached by the negotiating parties, the UK’s existing free trade arrangement with the EU would have expired on December 31.