Britain and the European Union concluded a temporary free trade agreement that will avoid New Year’s chaos for cross-border traders and bring a measure of certainty to companies after years of.
With just over a week since the United Kingdom’s final separation from the European Union, the UK government has said that “the deal is done”.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was happy with the deal.
“At the end of a successful negotiation journey, I usually feel joy. But today I just feel completely satisfied, and frankly, I feel relieved. I know this is a difficult day for some, and for our friends in the UK,” I want to say: separation is a beautiful sadness, ”von der Leyen said Reporters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deal achieved what those who voted to leave the European Union were looking for.
“We have regained control of our laws and our destiny. We have regained control of every atom and little of our regulations in a complete and unrestricted manner,” Johnson said in televised comments.
He stressed that under the terms of the new agreement, Britain will remain close to Europe.
“We will be your friend, ally, and supporter, and in fact, we will never forget that, the number one market. Because even though we leave the European Union, this country will remain culturally, emotionally, historically, strategically, and geologically linked to Europe,” Johnson continued.
The 500-page deal should ensure that the two sides can trade in goods without tariffs or quotas. But despite the breakthrough, key aspects of the future relationship between the 27-nation bloc and its former member remain unconfirmed.
Both the British and European parliaments must vote on the agreement, although the latter may not happen until after the UK leaves the economic embrace of the European Union on January 1.
Months of tense and often difficult negotiations have gradually reduced the differences between the two sides to three main issues: fair competition rules, future dispute resolution mechanisms and fishing rights. The rights of European Union boats to trawl in British waters remained the last hurdle before their dissolution.
However, key aspects of the future relationship between the 27-nation bloc and its former member remain unresolved.
Johnson insisted that the UK would “thrive” strongly “even if no deal had been reached and the UK had to trade with the European Union on WTO terms. But his government recognized that the chaotic exit is likely to lead to a stalemate in British ports, temporary shortages of some goods and an increase in the prices of basic foodstuffs.
The European Union has long feared that Britain would undermine the bloc’s social, environmental and state aid rules after Brexit, becoming a low-regulation competitor on the bloc’s doorstep. Britain denies planning to introduce weaker standards but has said continuing to follow EU regulations would undermine its sovereignty.
In the end, a compromise was reached on the issues of “equal opportunity”. The economic but largely symbolic issue of small fish has become the last sticking point, as the European Union maritime nations seek to retain access to the UK’s waters where they have long fished and Britain insists that it should exercise its control as an “independent coastal nation”.
The massive fishing gaps were gradually closed over the course of weeks of intense negotiations in Brussels, even as Johnson continued to insist that a no-deal exit was a likely and satisfactory outcome of the nine months of talks about the future relationship between the EU and the predecessors. Member state.
It has been four and a half years since the British voted 52% -48% to leave the European Union – and in the words of the Brexit campaign slogan – “take back control” of the UK’s borders and laws.
It took more than three years of wrangling before Britain left the bloc’s political structures on January 31. The dismantling of economies that were so closely intertwined as part of the European Union’s single market for goods and services took longer.
The UK remained part of the single market and the customs union during an 11-month transition period after Brexit. As a result, many people will not yet notice the impact of Brexit.
On January 1, the separation will begin feeling real. The new year will bring tremendous changes, even with a trade deal in place. Goods and people can no longer move freely between the UK and its continental neighbors without restrictions at borders.
EU citizens will no longer be able to live and work in Britain without visas – although this does not apply to the more than 3 million already doing so – and Brits can no longer automatically work or retire in the European Union. Exporters and importers face customs declarations, goods checks, and other obstacles.
The UK and EU borders are already suffering from new restrictions imposed on travelers from Britain to France and other European countries due to a new coronavirus variant sweeping London and southern England. Thousands of trucks got stuck in traffic jams near Dover on Wednesday, waiting for their drivers to run virus tests so they can enter the Eurotun tunnel into France.
British supermarkets say the backlog will take days and there may be shortages of some fresh produce during the holiday season.
Despite the deal, questions remain unanswered about huge areas, including UK security cooperation and the bloc and access to the European Union market for Britain’s mega financial services sector.