UK, EU Strike Deal on Post-Brexit Trade

UK, EU Strike Deal on Post-Brexit Trade
Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a press conference on reaching a Brexit trade deal in Downing Street, in London, on Dec. 24, 2020. (Paul Grover - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Alexander Zhang

The UK and the European Union have clinched a deal on post-Brexit trade relations, just seven days before the Brexit transition period is set to end on Dec. 31.

“The deal is done,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter shortly after 3 p.m. GMT.

“We’ve taken back control of our laws and our destiny. We’ve taken back control of every jot and tittle of regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered,” he said shortly afterwards at a virtual press conference held in Downing Street.

A little earlier, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels: “It was a long and winding road. But we have got a good deal to show for it. It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.”

The deal will “protect our EU interests, ensure fair competition & provide predictability for our fishing communities,” she wrote on Twitter, adding “Europe is now moving on.”

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expressed relief after the deal was reached just a week before existing trade arrangements are set to end on Dec. 31.

“The clock is no longer ticking,” he said at the Brussels news conference. “Today is a day of relief. But tainted by some sadness, as we compare what came before with what lies ahead.”

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who favours Scottish independence from the UK, stressed the fact that Scotland voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

“Before the spin starts, it’s worth remembering that Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will,” she wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Reuters contributed to this report.