Post-Brexit Deal Reached as UK Regains Control of Waters
The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) officially struck a post-Brexit trade deal following nine months of negotiations.
According to a report by CNN, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Christmas eve the completion of the deal after a string of talks on trade and security.
The negotiations were led by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost.
The trade deal came following a resolution that Britain can now take full control of its waters where EU members sought to fish on, with only a portion of the sales supposedly paid to the UK.
The two parties had until the end of the month to pencil in an agreement, otherwise, the trade would automatically adopt the rules of the World Trade Organization where tariffs are imposed, thereby pushing costs higher for both firms and consumers.
Speaking to reporters following the announcement, von der Leyen said that there would have been a hard Brexit had the two parties failed to agree on a deal.
“It would not have been good for both sides, but it would have hit the [UK] harder than [EU] with all its might of 450 million citizens.
“And therefore, from a position of strength we were able to come forward with the most comprehensive agreement we’ve ever had,” she added.
To recall, the proposed to Britain last month that it would give the latter an 18% share from fish sales caught in British waters, a proposal which Prime Minister Boris Johnson strongly disagreed with.
On average, European vessels catch 650 million euros worth of fish from UK waters every year. The proposed amount would give the UK roughly 117 million euros yearly.
Among the salient provisions of the deal, a free-trade movement would remain between the UK and the 27-member EU, but this will see the end of a visa waiver program for UK citizens working, living, and studying in the EU.
Border checks would also be applied between the UK and the EU, but Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would no longer have a hard border.
The UK would also remain a participant of the EU’s programs until 2027 such as Horizon Europe, subject to a UK financial contribution.
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