A trade deal between the UK and the EU has been struck on Christmas Eve, four and a half years since British voters decided to leave the European Union.
With the UK’s Brexit transition period set to expire on 31st December, the clock was ticking on whether a trade deal could be reached in time. However, a deal allowing tariff-free trade in goods and close cooperation between the two sides has now been struck, following a final phone call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Both the UK and the EU played the outcome off as a victory.
“Everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
““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. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved.”
“It means that we will have full political and economic independence on 1st January 2021. A points-based immigration system will put us in full control of who enters the UK and free movement will end.”
“We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.
“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.”
Von der Leyen said the deal will ensure that competition in the single market will remain fair and that the EU’s rules and standards will be respected.
“This whole debate has always been about sovereignty, she says, but what does it actually mean in the 21st century?”
“For me, it means to seamlessly work, travel, study and do business in 27 countries, pooling our strength and speaking together, and in a time of crisis, it’s about pulling each other up instead of trying to get back to your feet alone.”