EU officials sign post-Brexit trade deal with UK
UK-EU negotiators reached an understanding on a draft Brexit agreement during 11-hour talks on Thursday, although there are serious doubts that the agreement will be approved by the UK legislature..
GBP rose on news that the UK made concessions on the Irish border, this problem proved to be the biggest obstacle to the deal. The pound rose 0.8% against the dollar to hit $ 1.2929, hitting a five-month high.
«We have a great new Brexit deal», – written by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He called on British lawmakers to back the deal when it is presented in parliament on Saturday.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker named the deal «fair and balanced».
«Withdrawal agreement» will now be presented to EU leaders at summit Thursday and Friday, followed by UK lawmakers over the weekend. Negotiations continued until late Tuesday and Wednesday night. The EU Parliament will also have to ratify the deal in an as yet undeclared date.
Speaking after the deal was announced, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the deal was the result of intensive work by both negotiating teams.. «We came to this together», – he said.
In providing further details on the deal, Barnier said Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK customs territory and become the entry point to the EU’s single market. He said there would be no regulatory or customs checks at the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (part of the UK). This settled the circumstance that was a key issue for both sides. He added that Northern Ireland will remain in the legislative field in line with some EU rules, especially regarding trade..
The deal also covers the protection of citizens’ rights and a transitional period that will last until the end of 2020. Barnier also said that the EU and the UK will work on «an ambitious free trade deal with zero tariffs and quotas».
However, the question of whether the deal will be approved at Westminster is questionable as opposition parties are already criticizing it..
Although the details of the new agreement remain closed, the opposition Labor Party said in a statement that «from what we know, the prime minister negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May, who was overwhelmingly rejected». The Liberal Democrats also said they are determined to stop Brexit completely and are still in favor of a second referendum. Brexit party leader Nigel Farage said the agreement should not be upheld. The Scottish National Party (SNP) also said it would not vote on the deal..
A key government ally, the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), has already responded by saying it cannot support the deal..
The UK government, which does not have a majority in the UK parliament, needs DUP votes to approve the deal.
The DUP said in a statement earlier Thursday that it is unhappy with the proposed customs agreements, which were designed to give Northern Ireland a say in its post-Brexit relationship with the EU. The DUP has repeatedly opposed any plans that would treat it differently than in the UK after Brexit.
British parliamentarians rejected three times the Brexit agreement reached by Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, over objections to the Irish issue «backstop». This was designed to prevent a hard border from emerging on the island of Ireland if the UK and EU cannot agree on a post-Brexit trade deal..