London and Brussels have agreed on the terms of a trade deal. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that today brings “relief” to the commonwealth. Indeed, Brexit negotiations have been underway for several years, and the dialogue on a trade deal has been too short. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, said that the UK had regained control of “every little detail. True, the terms of the deal themselves have not yet been published, but, one way or another, the parties retain access to each other’s markets and “transparent” border.UK and EU on December 24, a week before the actual date of Brexit, announced the conclusion of a trade agreement. The announcement was first made by European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, and then by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We have finally come to an agreement. It has been a long and winding road, but we have something to show for it,” Ursula von der Leyen said, noting that the agreement came out “fair” and “balanced.”
According to the president of the European Commission, the rules of fair competition “will be fair and will remain so,” and EU standards “will be respected. In order to control this point and react promptly in case of violations, some “effective tools” have been developed.
The UK and the EU “will continue to cooperate in all areas of mutual interest,” such as climate change, energy, security, and transport emphasized Ursula von der Leyen.
She also said that the transition period for the fishing industry will be 5.5 years. It was the fishing industry that became the main stumbling block. The UK insisted on the return of sovereignty over its coastal waters and proposed the introduction of fishing quotas for the European Union. It is not yet known what amount of quotas the sides agreed on, but it appears that European fishermen will retain their access for the next five and a half years.
“This whole debate has always been about sovereignty. We have to ask ourselves what sovereignty means in the twenty-first century. It’s about uniting our forces and communicating in a world full of great powers. It is about supporting each other in times of crisis instead of trying to get back on our feet alone. And the EU is showing how this can work in practice. We are long-time allies. We have common interests, whether it’s the UN climate change conference in Glasgow, the upcoming UK G7 presidency or Italy’s G20 presidency,” the EC chair stressed, adding that the UK and EU will continue to stand “shoulder to shoulder.”
The trade agreement has about 2,000 pages – it regulates all areas of future coexistence between London and Brussels.
So far the text of the deal has not been published, and in their statements representatives of the European Union emphasized the very fact of its existence. This is indeed an important step, which means that fears of a chaotic Brexit will be left behind.
“The clock is no longer ticking. Today is a day of relief, but it is colored by some sadness as we compare what came before with what is ahead,” Michel Barnier said.
The head of the EU delegation said that the short time allowed for negotiations was “unprecedented in terms of its scale and complexity.
He also stressed that the European Union has demonstrated “unity and solidarity.
David Frost, head of the British delegation, told reporters that he was “pleased and proud” of the team’s efforts that resulted in an “excellent deal.” According to him, the agreement will allow British exporters to do even more business with Europe.
Boris Johnson followed with a press conference. The British prime minister, who led the Brexit campaign four years ago, has finally realized what he had envisioned and can celebrate his triumph today.
“The British knew it was doable, but they were told it was impossible. We have regained control of every detail of our regulations, making it complete and unrestricted,” he said.
Notably, the prime minister reported the end of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice on British territory, one of the issues on which the parties could not agree, but if this is indeed the case, the EU appears to have reached a compromise.
The prime minister said that “for the first time since 1973, Britain will be an independent coastal state with full control over its waters.”
“Of course, the arguments have been fierce at times, but I think this is good for all of Europe. In my view, it will be good for the EU to have a prosperous, dynamic, and contented Britain on its doorstep,” Johnson said.
In other words, the UK will retain its access to the European market with 450 million consumers with zero quotas and tariffs, and the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland will remain “transparent” – these were the most fundamental issues.
However, the United Kingdom cannot avoid economic problems, although London has substantially minimized the risks.
Many aspects of Britain’s future relations with the EU have yet to be worked out, possibly taking years, said Nikolai Topornin, associate professor of the Department of European Law at MGIMO and director of the Center for European Information, in a conversation with Gazeta.Ru.
“The end is happy because the parties have been negotiating for a long time, but as we know, they could not come to a compromise. Everyone has already said that the chances of concluding an agreement were approaching zero.
British journalists, however, urge us to wait until the agreement itself is published and not to succumb to the optimism of politicians.
“What we’re getting now is a gloss from political leaders – things they want to highlight as the best, from their point of view. What’s really important – when it eventually comes out – is the deal itself, the whole 2,000 pages or so. The text will clearly lay out what the deal will look like. <...> It is particularly important when it comes to the precise nature of our relations with our immediate neighbors in the coming years,” the BBC wrote.