Four and a half years after the referendum in which the UK voted to leave the European Union, the parties have finally managed to reach a trade agreement that defines the playing field once the Brexit transition period ends, on December 31. At a press conference after that of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and European negotiator Michel Barnier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it is “fantastic to win in freedom” and declared that he refused to extend the period transition in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic because he did not want to “increase uncertainty.” “We have completed the largest trade agreement to date worth 668 billion pounds a year, a comprehensive Canada-style free trade agreement with the EU,” he said, detailing that the pact “will protect jobs, it will allow UK products to be sold without tariffs or quotas on the EU market and it will allow companies to do even more business with Europe “while” regaining control of our laws and our destiny. ”
«Since January 1, we are outside the customs union and the single market, “he exclaimed, adding:” British laws will be enacted only by the British Parliament, interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts and the jurisdiction of the ECJ will come to an end. ”
The premier also referred to one of the issues that have stalled the talks in recent months: fishing, and that precisely this Thursday he delayed the announcement of the agreement after it became known that the European Commission was using outdated figures to calculate the reduction in the amount of fish quotas that member states can fish in British waters after 1 January. The deal was due to be announced early this morning, but the announcement had to be postponed when officials noticed a discrepancy between two sets of fishing figures. Finally, everything was clarified and “for the first time since 1973, the United Kingdom will be an independent coastal state with total control of its waters”, said the premier, and detailed that “the proportion of UK fish in its waters will increase substantially, from about half today to about two-thirds in 5.5 years. ‘
Johnson was pleased and spoke in a conciliatory tone, even acknowledging that at times “The discussions were fierce” but consider that this is a good agreement for all. The premier said the parliamentary vote is expected to take place on December 31.
The reactions were swift. Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said in a statement that the agreement represents a “Balanced result” and said that the implementation of the Protocol on Northern Ireland “allows Northern Ireland companies to trade without problems with Great Britain and within the EU single market” and “prevents the return of a hard border on the island.” ‘There is no’ good Brexit ‘for Ireland,’ he said, but ‘we have worked hard to minimize the negative consequences. I think that the agreement reached today is the least bad version of Brexit possible, given the current circumstances.
For her part, Scotland’s Chief Minister Nicola Sturgeon said “it is worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will” adding that “there is no agreement that can make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It is time to chart our own future as an independent European nation. ‘
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