The agreement ‘in extremis’ complicates trade, but saves a relationship of 700,000 million

The European Commission and the British government reached an agreement on Thursday on their future relationship, which preserves an estimated commercial activity of some 700,000 million euros per year and facilitates a more harmonious separation from January 1. Although the trade will have more procedures, it will be without tariffs or quotas. The summary of the agreement confirms that cooperation and exchanges will be reduced and that the United Kingdom adopts the Eurosceptic position of the EU as a common market.

The summary published by the Government of Boris Johnson offers basic formulations on the service sector, including financial services, which represent a growing part of the European economy and 80% of the British one. It does not expand on the approval of data processing in digital commerce. It does not contain anything on foreign policy and defense cooperation.

In the chapter on Security and Justice, the most striking thing is the British resignation to the European order for extraditions. UK security forces will continue to participate in agencies such as Europol and Eurojust and access common databases like another third country. The two sides promise more details in later negotiations.

The agreement guarantees medical assistance for visitors who need it and collaboration between social security systems, but leaves it up to the telephone companies to be fair in roaming rates. The university exchange program, Erasmus, is canceled in the United Kingdom.

After a last night awake of the negotiating teams haggling over quotas of different species and ten months of intense negotiations, the agreement is, at least in summary, more detailed on trade in goods, fishing and arbitration mechanisms to preserve fair competition , which have been the most difficult aspects to reach a consensus. It gives guarantees of continuity to airlines and carriers, establishes customs simplification mechanisms for habitual importers and exporters and applies specific criteria to simplification in sectors such as automobiles, chemical products, and wine. A panel of experts will mediate disputes over beneficial subsidies or regulations.

In fishing, the Community fleet will have to give up 25% of its catches in the European Economic Zone over a transition of five and a half years and is left at the mercy of a future that is not described. There are hopeful lines so that the Spanish fishing fleet that works in the waters of the Malvinas Islands in association with its Executive can continue its activity.

The UK’s talks with Spain on Gibraltar’s structures for access to the common market and border movements drag on. Other areas are also dependent on development and future dialogue, in what could be the trend for the next decades. Experts on UK and EU issues predict ongoing negotiation processes, perhaps channeled through the Joint Association Council that will govern the implementation of this agreement.

Provisional rule

The summary of the European Commission warns of the possibility that it will not be ratified before the end of the year by the European Parliament and suggests that it be accepted as a provisional rule until February 28. Boris Johnson will try to get the London Parliament to ratify it within 24 hours. The point is to activate it within five days. This agreement is not the most complicated for importers, exporters and customs officials faced with the challenge of operating with new systems in January.

The draft has been negotiated in record time for this type of treaty. The transition period agreed between the EU and Theresa May’s government was two years, but the rejection by the British Parliament of its Withdrawal Agreement caused its downfall. The new leader, Boris Johnson, declined the EU’s invitation to extend the deadline.



February. It is the deadline that the European Commission wants to give itself to ratify the pact.

Another relationship.

Cooperation and exchanges will be reduced and, for example, the Erasmus program is canceled

Divergence over fisheries and fair competition seemed capable of forcing a no-deal separation at different times over the past few months. The abrupt march to trade in tariffs and quotas thereafter has also been a constant threat from May and Johnson, although their cabinets have shown tenacity all this time to return to the table until they reach the pact.

The prime minister acknowledges that the discussions between the two parties have been “fierce”, but on Thursday he showed his euphoria that the UK “has regained control over its laws and its destiny.” The pact “will protect jobs” and the country will be an “independent coastal state with full control of its waters” for the first time since 1973, Johnson stressed.

For her part, Ursula von der Leyen visibly expressed the EU’s sense of relief. “We can finally put ‘Brexit’ behind us and the European Union can move on,” said the EU president, who was inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to describe the historical context of the agreement: “Separate it is such a sweet sorrow.

The two leaders acknowledged that the relationship “has sometimes been moody” and that reaching the pact has been “a long and winding road.” It only takes a few days to go back to confirm it. Until this week, consensus seemed almost impossible. The two parties negotiated ‘in extremis’, even at dawn on Thursday, the pending fringes so that Johnson and Von der Leyen could report on the agreement on Christmas Eve, all in the midst of the turbulent context caused by the jam of thousands of trucks in Dover , the shortage of supermarkets and the crisis of the new strain of coronavirus. The ‘premier’ himself had to delay his scheduled public statement at nine in the morning on Thursday after he was informed that at that time the firm he wanted to announce had not yet been closed.

Ireland breathes and appreciates the efforts of the negotiators

Ireland also breathed this Friday relieved that its most important trading partner leaves the European Union in an agreed manner, without the abrupt ‘Brexit’ that all parties predicted until a few days ago. Almost five years after the shock caused by the referendum to disconnect from the EU, the Government of Dublin – always supported by Brussels – obtains guarantees regarding fishing since the movement of people and goods between the north and south of the island they will not have a substantial seizure. The Irish Prime Minister, Michéal Martin, celebrated on Friday the efforts of the negotiators and his new relationship with London.


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