Brexit: Johnson announces UK has completed trade deal with EU
Former Brexit Party MEP and chairman of Unlocked Ben Habib warned of four issues that “jumped out” at him during European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier’s press conference after the agreement was announced. Businessman Mr Habib told Express.co.uk: “The devil is always in the detail and it is too soon to judge the deal in its entirety.
“But four things jumped out at me listening to von der Leyen and Barnier.
“First we will be in a level playing field with the European Union.
“Second we will be granting them fixed fishing rights for five-and-a-half years.
“Third and perhaps most worryingly, the EU may unilaterally impose sanctions on the UK if it judges that UK to have breached the deal.
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“Fourth there was no mention of Northern Ireland. So we must assume the border down the Irish Sea and EU laws being applied in Northern Ireland will both stand.
“The above all breach manifesto promises made by Boris Johnson and cannot constitute the UK leaving the EU as one United Kingdom and taking back control of our laws, our borders, our cash and our fish.”
European Commission chief Mrs von der Leyen told a Brussels press conference: “We have finally found an agreement.
“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.”
Mrs von der Leyen said the deal meant “EU rules and standards will be respected” with “effective tools to react” if the UK side tries to undercut Brussels to seek a competitive advantage.
There will be a five-and-a-half-year transition period for the fishing industry, she indicated.
And co-operation will continue on issues including climate change, energy, security and transport.
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Mrs von der Leyen said she felt “quiet satisfaction” and “relief” that a deal had been concluded.
She added: “It is time to leave Brexit behind, our future is made in Europe.”
Mr Barnier said: “The clock is no longer ticking. After four years of collective effort and EU unity to preserve peace and stability on the island of Ireland, to protect the citizens and the single market, to build a new partnership with the UK.
“This process has engaged so many citizens, businesses, stakeholders and, obviously, so many journalists. Thank you for your patience and your attention.
“Today is a day of relief but tinged too by sadness. As we compare what came before with what lies ahead.
“The UK has chosen to leave the European Union and the single markets, to renounce the benefits and advantages enjoyed by member states, our agreement does not reproduce these rights and benefits, and therefore despite this agreement, there will be real changes in a few days from now.
“As of first of January, real changes for many citizens, and many businesses, and that is the result of Brexit.
“But we have also built a new partnership for the future around four pillars.”
In a Downing Street press conference Boris Johnson insisted the UK had managed to “take back control” as promised in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
The Prime Minister said: “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny. We have taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered.
“From January 1 we are outside the customs union and outside the single market.
“British laws will be made solely by the British Parliament interpreted by British judges sitting in UK courts and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice will come to an end.”
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