“It is time to turn the page and look to the future,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, about the deal reached after a final round of negotiations full of nightly meetings.
If not, the trade will have to follow the ground rules from January 1, which leads to import tariffs, additional paperwork and border controls. Von der Leyen says it is a relief to strike a deal just before Christmas.
The end point is a new beginning
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And the end of something is also the beginning of something. And the end point is where we start,” von der Leyen quoted British American poet TS Eliot as saying.
According to the leader of the European government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the deal is “the basis for a new chapter in our relationship”. French President Emmanuel Macron described the agreement as indispensable “to protect our citizens, fishermen and our producers.”
The file is far from finished. First and foremost, agreements still have to be put on paper. Once this is done, the member states of the European Union still have to agree to it. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, among others, said they would study the agreements first.
European Parliament approval is required
European Union President Charles Michel also confirmed that the European Parliament has not yet approved the deal. Since there isn’t enough time to settle the deal fully before January 1, Parliament won’t do so until next year, says David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament. The agreement will already begin with terms, until February 28, 2021 at the latest.
The UK Parliament will vote on the deal on December 30th. In any event, Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated the agreement as a victory by Matching photo on Twitter.
Dutch interest groups are somewhat positive. Transporters, growers, gardeners, the port of Rotterdam and employers are pleased that there is clarity. But they warn: Much will change.
That is exactly what will be studied now, according to Secretary of State Steve Block. Particular attention is paid to the Dutch fishing sector, among other things. Because hunting was a major stumbling block during the negotiations.
The agreement appears to cover Dutch interests well, according to a source from RTL Nieuws’ diplomatic circles. “A deal of this size in eight months is, in any case, an achievement,” he adds.
According to the trade association VisNed, Dutch fishermen are paying a high price for the agreement, because fewer fish can be caught in the canal. This is expected to cause tension.