After many deadlines have passed, there is now a trade agreement between the European Union and the British just before Christmas. Five questions from Brexit correspondent Vanessa Lambsfelt from EenVandaag about what this deal entails and what the consequences are.
1. The prospecting deal has finally been announced. What does this moment mean to you?
This is a moment of great relief. After 4.5 years of tough negotiations, the time pressure is finally over.
2. What exactly does this business deal say?
This important deal defines what the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will look like after January 1. It’s an incredibly thick package, totaling about 2,000 pages, and it covers everything: the fishing rights of European fishermen in British waters, but also the exchange of intelligence between the security services and how to ensure that British companies do not gain a competitive advantage. For companies from other European countries.
3. The European Union says it’s a fair deal. Now Boris Johnson says the UK is back in control. Did they both win?
They both try to portray him as a win, of course. It is better for both parties to have an agreement now. I haven’t been able to read 2,000 pages yet, but Boris Johnson has clearly acknowledged something in terms of European rules that the UK has to abide by. The European Union also scored an important victory in fishing rights: the British wanted to renegotiate there every year. Brussels has now managed to keep the agreements that now apply for 5.5 years.
4. What does it mean that there is a deal for the Netherlands now?
It has direct consequences for entrepreneurs. This deal means that products we sell to the British will not be charged import duties, saving a lot of economic damage. So companies are breathing a sigh of relief. At the same time, trade will be more difficult, as customs controls at the UK border will remain in effect from January 1.
5. It’s Christmas Eve. Is this deal the beginning of a reconciliation between the European Union and the United Kingdom?
Brexit has hit a real hole in the relationship between the Europeans and the British. And imagine if there was no agreement, that relationship would have remained strained. In his speech today, Boris Johnson said that the time has come for reconciliation, and European Union President Ursula van der Leyen also described the end of these negotiations as a “new beginning”. So with this agreement there is definitely a basis for forming a new relationship.
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