Brussels and London struck long-awaited trade agreement

Von der Leyen said the deal is “fair and balanced”

Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson.

A few hours before the Christmas Eve, the EU and the UK reached a long-awaited post-Brexit trade agreement. At a press conference in Brussels on Thursday afternoon, EC President Ursula von der Leyen announced that it was worth fighting for this deal. “We now have a fair and balanced agreement with the UK,” she told the media.

She also said that the agreement will protect the EU interests, ensure fair competition and provide predictability for the fishing communities. Europe is now moving on, she pointed out.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator underlined that “the clock is no longer ticking” and that “today is a day of relief, tinged by some sadness”.

In a statement European Council President Charles Michel said that “For our citizens and businesses a comprehensive agreement with our neighbour, friend and ally is the best outcome”. He recalled that over the past years the EU has shown unity and determination in its negotiations with the UK. “We will continue to uphold the same unity.”

These have been very challenging negotiations but the process is not over, President Michel commented, adding that now is the time for the Council and the European Parliament to analyse the agreement reached at negotiators’ level, before they give their green lights.

We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU, says a statement by the British government from Thursday afternoon.

"The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK.”

“Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal. We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters. The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth £668bn in 2019, the statement reads.

"The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU, we are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved.

It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January 2021," UK’s government asserted.

At a news conference on Thursday, commenting on the outcome of negotiations with the European Union, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am very pleased that this afternoon that we have completed the biggest trade deal yet, worth £660bn a year”.

He explained that it is a comprehensive Canada style free trade deal between the UK and the EU that will protect jobs across this country. It will allow UK goods and components to be sold without tariffs and without quotas in the EU market.

“A deal which will if anything should allow our companies and our exporters to do even more business with our European friends. And yet which achieves something that the people of this country instinctively knew was doable. But which they were told was impossible.”

From January 1 we are outside the customs union, and outside the single market, he stressed noting that British laws will be made solely by the British Parliament, interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts. He accented that the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end.

Johnson also stressed that “although of course the arguments with our European friends and partners were sometimes fierce this is, I believe a good deal for the whole of Europe and for our friends and partners as well”.

And for squaring that circle, for finding the philosopher’s stone that’s enabled us to do this I want to thank President von der Leyen of the European Commission and our brilliant negotiators led by Lord Frost and Michel Barnier, on the EU side, Stephanie Rousseau as well as Oliver Lewis, Tim Barrow, Lindsay Appleby and many others, the British PM emphasised. 

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