EU and UK reach agreement on future relations
Xinhua News Agency, Brussels, December 24th (Reporter Li Jizhi, Wang Huihui, Jinjing) After all-night text revisions, EU and UK negotiators finally reached an agreement on a series of cooperation details including trade on the 24th, for the UK according to the original plan in 2020. End the “Brexit” transition period and clear away obstacles.
On the afternoon of the same day, European Commission President Von der Lein and British Prime Minister Johnson held press conferences at the EU headquarters in Belgium and the Prime Minister’s Office in Downing Street to announce the agreement. Johnson posted photos on social media, showing his victory gesture with both hands thumbs up. The European Commission has also uploaded a set of pictures, listing the rights and interests the EU has won during the negotiations.
Johnson said at the press conference that Britain has regained control of its own destiny and laws, and believes that this agreement will benefit Europe as a whole, and will bring new stability to the relationship between Britain and Europe, especially certainty for businesses. Von Delane said that the road to negotiations was long and tortuous, but the two sides finally reached a “fair and balanced” agreement.
According to a press announcement issued by the European Commission, this agreement covers a wide range of cooperation fields such as trade, investment, competition, fisheries, transportation, energy, data protection, and social security.
According to the agreement, starting from 2021, the two sides’ merchandise trade will continue to enjoy zero tariff and zero quota treatment, which exceeds the trade agreements reached by the EU with Canada and Japan before, avoiding large-scale trade costs. This is undoubtedly good news for the British and European economies hit by the epidemic.
Regarding fisheries issues, EU fishermen need to reduce the output value of fishing in British waters by a quarter within five and a half years. The British media claimed that this was lower than the 80% reduction originally proposed by the British side, and believed that Britain had made substantial concessions; In terms of fair competition, economic disputes can be resorted to third-party arbitration without fully complying with the EU judicial system. This is considered a victory for the United Kingdom.
Next, the draft agreement still needs to be approved by both parliaments. The British Parliament will meet next week to vote, and European Parliament Speaker Sassoli said that the draft will be reviewed next year. Before that, EU countries need to approve the provisional implementation of the agreement from January 1 to the end of February next year.
The UK officially leaves the European Union on January 31, 2020. The two sides have entered an 11-month transition period and started negotiations on future relations. The deadline for reaching an agreement in mid-October has been extended. Although the agreement was long overdue, von der Lein said that “Europe can now leave the UK’s Brexit issue behind and start looking to the future”.EU and UK reach agreement on future relations