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UK and EU confirm last-minute Brexit trade deal

Fishermen sort crates of freshly caught fish at the harbour in Sete, France, on Tuesday, 1 December 2020. Boris Johnson’'s officials believe a Brexit trade deal could be reached within days if both sides continue working in “good faith” to resolve what the UK sees as the last big obstacle in the talks: fishing rights.
By Reuters
24 Dec 2020 0

The EU and UK have finally agreed to a Brexit trade deal, but only after last-minute wrangling over fishing rights.

Some are calling it “Merry Brexmas” as the UK and EU finally strike a Brexit trade agreement.

The deal was confirmed at news conferences Thursday (December 24) afternoon.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen was first to speak:

“So we have finally found an agreement, it was a long and winding road but we have 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.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the agreement as giving the UK back control of its laws, borders and fishing waters.

Talks on a deal went down to the wire, with the UK due to leave the single market and customs union at the end of the month.

Sources in London and Brussels said overnight that a deal was close.

But news conferences expected Thursday morning never took place.

EU sources said wrangling over fishing quotas was to blame, only for a deal to finally get over the line.

That should include agreement on other sticking points, such as how to ensure a level playing field for competition between the two sides.

A deal will avert the prospect of both sides imposing widespread import taxes come January the 1st.

It also covers issues such as security, transport and energy.

But even with a deal businesses will face new red tape and new costs.

Further disruption at ports seems certain.

But most economists say the alternative of a no-deal exit looked much worse.

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