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Britain and EU agree Brexit trade agreement

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A new deal has been agreed on the future of the UK’s trading and security relationship with the European Union.

The historic deal has been agreed just over a week before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December and will apply from 1 January 2021.

The trade deal announcement comes following a final morning call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula con der Leyen- the fifth such telephone conversation over the last 24 hours.

The trade agreement will set out new arrangements for the tariff-free trade in goods and close police judicial cooperation will come into force.

Running to 2,000 pages, the agreement contains provisions on subjects varying from civil nuclear cooperation and energy interconnections to fishing and aviation.

In a statement, No 10 said: “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 fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK.”

The government continued saying they had signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.

“We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world.”

In a press conference, Von der Leyen said: “We have finally found an agreement.

European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen at a press conference earlier. Photo Credit: The BBC

“It was a long winding road, but we have a good deal to show for it.”

She added it is “fair” and “balanced” and insisted it was “right and responsible” for the two sides to pursue it.

The European Commission president said competition rules “will be fair and remain so”, announcing EU rules and standards “will be respected”

Britain and the EU will “continue cooperating in all areas of mutual interest”, including areas like climate change, energy, security and transport.

“Together we still achieve more than we do apart.”

Von der Leyen continues about Sovereignty saying: “It is about pooling our strength and speaking together in a world full of great powers.

“It is about pulling each other up in times of crisis instead trying to get back to your feet along.

“And the EU shows how this can work in practice.”

“We are long standing allies.

“We share the same interests- whether it be the COP26 summit in Glasgow of the upcoming UK G7 and Italian G20 presidencies.”

The European Commissioner said the UK and the EU will continue to stand “shoulder to shoulder”

Michael Barnier, the EU chief negotiator has said in the same press conference: “The clock is no longer ticking”

“Today is a day of relief, but tinged by some sadness as we compare what came before what lies ahead.”

Barnier also confirmed: “The British government decided not to participate in the Erasmus exchange programme”. A programme used by the University of Stirling during their semester exchange programmes.

EU Chief negotiator Michael Barnier. Photo Credit: The BBC

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said in a press conference the UK has “completed the biggest trade deal yet.”

Johnson says the deal will allow exporters to do even more business “with our European friends”

“… the British people knew it was doable but were told it was impossible.

“We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered.”

The Prime Minister continues: “for the first time since 1973 we will be an indepedenct costal state with full control of our waters.”

In discussing the weeks of negotiation talks, Johnson says: “Of course the arguments were sometimes fierce, but this is believe is a good deal for the whole of Europe.

“it will not be a bad thing in my view for the EU to have a prosperous, dynamic and contented UK on [their] doorstep.”

There will be “mutual respect and mutual recognition”.  

“The deal above all means certainty for the aviation industry, the hauliers… the police, the border forces, and all those that keep us safe.

“It means certainty for our scientists who will be able to work together on great collective projects.

“But above all it means certainty for business.”

“This deal was done by a huge negotiating team from every part of the UK and it will benefit every part of our United Kingdom”

The Prime Minister then addresses “our EU friends and Partners”, saying the new deal “means a new stability and certainty in what has sometimes been a fractious and difficult relationship.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrating securing a deal with the EU. Photo Credit: Andrew Parson 10 Downing Street/ BBC News

He says: “We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and, indeed never let it be forgotten, your number one market”

Boris Johnson addresses the British people directly saying: “At the end of this toughest of years our focus is on defeating the pandemic… and rebuilding our economy and I am utterly confident that we can do it,

“But it is up to us all together as a newly and truly independent nation to realise the immensity of this moment and make the most of it.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her response saying: “Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will. And there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us. It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) has said in a statement he believed the deal was “a good compromise and a balanced outcome”

However, he did say: “There is not such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Ireland”.

Parliament needs to ratify the deal, but as MPs have already broken up for Christmas, they may be recalled on 30 December to approve the last-minute agreement.

Britain left the EU on 31 January, nearly four years since the UK initially voted to leave in a referendum in 2016.

Feature Image Credit: – Andrew Parsons/ No 10 Downing Street/ The Guardian

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