Brexit deal: UK announces ‘Canada-style’ arrangement with EU after December 31
London, Dec. 24, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Brexit deals is done. After months of negotiations and missed deadlines, the UK and EU have at last agreed on a much anticipated post-Brexit deal to outline their future relationship after the UK officially leaves the bloc on December 31.
They both settled for the Canada-style trade agreement. The EU’s agreement with Canada is called the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or Ceta for short.
The EU began negotiating with Canada in 2009, and Ceta provisionally came into force in 2017, although it has not yet been signed off by all the EU member states.
The deal will “protect European interests”, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, calling it “historic”.
“We can finally leave Brexit behind us. Europe will continue to move forward,” she added.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that they had completed “the biggest trade deal yet … a comprehensive Canada-style free trade deal between the UK and the EU” with no quotas or tariffs.
“We’ve taken back control of our laws and our destiny,” Johnson added, stating that the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice would come to an end and that the UK would be an “independent coastal state”.
“We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and, indeed, never let it be forgotten, your number one market,” Johnson added. He said he hoped for a vote in Parliament on December 30
A new relationship
“The UK has chosen to leave the EU and the single market, to give up the rights and advantages of a member state,” said Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, at an earlier press conference.
“There will therefore be, despite this deal, real changes in the coming days … that is the consequence of Brexit.”
Von der Leyen said the EU had secured five and a half years of full predictability for the fishing community. Fishing rights was one of the final disagreements between the EU and UK, with Johnson saying that the EU had wanted a longer transition period for fishing.
The Commission president emphasised that the UK was now a “third country” but remained a “trusted partner”. She said that she felt relieved that a deal had been found.
One of the consequences is that the UK will pull out of Erasmus which, Johnson said was a “tough decision.”
“Foreign policy, external security and defence cooperation is not covered by the Agreement as the UK did not want to negotiate this matter,” the Commission said in a statement.
“It’s one thing to get freedom, winning freedom is a fantastic thing, but it’s how we use it, how we make the most of it. That’s going to matter in the months and years to come,” Johnson said.
“The EU is an extraordinary concept and it was born out of the agony of WWII, founded by idealistic people in France, in Germany, in Italy who never wanted those countries to go to war with each other again.”
He added that the EU’s “ideology of endless integration” had been hard to get on board with and that the UK had a complicated relationship with the bloc.
“I think that what we’ve got here is the basis of a new longterm friendship and partnership that basically stabilises that relationship.”
As part of the new deal agreed, UK citizens will no longer be able to work in the EU and will need a visa if staying for longer than 90 days.
In terms of trade, there will be zero tariffs or quotas on goods. Food exports will need valid health certificates.
There are five programmes that the UK will continue to participate in (open to third country participation): Horizon Europe (research and innovation), Euratom Research and Training programme, ITER (fusion test facility), Copernicus (Earth monitoring system) and they will have access to EU satellite surveillance & tracking (SST) services.**
Negotiations lasted overnight
European Union and British negotiators worked through the night to put the finishing touches on a post-Brexit trade deal after nine months of talks.
European Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer tweeted around midnight that negotiations were continuing through the night, with reports of negotiators working to deliver the text to their leaders at dawn on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Johnson briefed his cabinet on the outlines of a tentative Brexit deal in a late-night conference call.
A diplomatic source told AFP news agency that “the British side was moving but the devil is in the details and we’re not quite there yet.”
A spokesperson for the German EU Council presidency asked that “EU Ambassadors to be available during Christmas period.”
Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin said in the early evening that “the signs are good” but that fishing rights “continues to be” a sticking point.
“But given all of the work that has been put into this and given the enormous time that has been put into the negotiations, there does seem to be a sense today that this is nearing a conclusion and hopefully that is the case,” he told RTE News.