The United Kingdom and the European Union have successfully arrived at a deal on their post-Brexit trade status. The negotiations concluded just days before the Brexit transition period is set to expire on Dec. 31. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the news from Downing Street on Christmas Eve, calling it the “biggest trade deal yet, worth £660 billion [$894 billion] a year.” The PM pointed out that the pact will protect British jobs by enabling goods from the UK to be sold in the EU market without any quotas or tariffs. Britain voted to exit the EU on June 23, 2016.
“From January 1st, we are outside the Customs Union and outside the Single Market… British laws will be made solely by the British parliament, interpreted by UK judges sitting in UK courts, and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end… We will be able to set our own standards… We will be able to decide how and where we will stimulate new jobs and new hope with freeports, new green industrial zones,” Johnson said during the announcement.
The British government is devising a £100 million program to help improve the fishing industry
One of the biggest challenges to Brexit was the EU’s demand that it needed continued access to Britain’s fishing waters. According to the deal, Britain will regain full control of the waters after a five and a half year period. Johnson noted that the deal will allow Britain to become an independent coastal state with full control over its waters for the first time since 1973. In support of UK fishing communities, Johnson has plans for a £100 million [$135 million] program aimed at improving the fish processing industry and fleets.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen remarked that the Brexit agreement is balanced and fair to both parties. She noted that the understanding will protect EU interests and ensure predictability for the region’s fishing communities. In France, there have been strong concerns about fishing rights. French fishermen have lobbied President Emmanuel Macron to avoid giving up the country’s fishing rights by even a small margin. However, Macron’s government decided not to act on such requests. French Sea Minister Annick Girardin has announced that financial help would be made available to help French fishermen who are negatively affected by Brexit.
Brexit leader Nigel Farage believes that Britain’s final exit may be a trigger for the end of the EU as we know it. “The European Union itself is divided by north to south by a currency that doesn’t work for the south at all, divided between the east and west, culturally.”
“We’re seeing the EU budget being vetoed and countries like Poland and Hungary very unhappy. I think in the broader picture, Brexit is the beginning of the end of the European Union. I’m pro-European. I’m pro-Europe of sovereign states trading and being friends — not being run from Brussels,” Farage said in a program on Sky News.