Brexit Deal Agreed Between EU And UK

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says a Brexit deal has been reached between the EU...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10:46 AM - 17 Oct 2019

Brexit Deal Agreed Between EU...


Brexit Deal Agreed Between EU And UK

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10:46 AM - 17 Oct 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says a Brexit deal has been reached between the EU and UK.

He tweeted: "Where there is a will, there is a deal - we have one.

"It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions."

He also says he wants the upcoming European Council meeting to endorse the deal.

In a letter to Council President Donald Tusk, Mr Juncker said: "The negotiators reached an agreement on revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland and on a revised Political Declaration on 17 October 2019.

"Both were endorsed by the European Commission. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom also signalled his approval of these documents to me today."

Exact details of the new agreement were not immediately published.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it "a great new deal".

The revised protocol provides a legally operational solution that avoids a hard border in Ireland, protects the all-island economy and the Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions and safeguards the integrity of the Single Market.

"This solution responds to the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland with the aim of protecting peace and stability", the European Commission says.

"All other elements of the withdrawal agreement remain unchanged in substance", it adds.

Main changes

The main change in the political declaration relates to the future EU-UK economic relationship where the current UK government has opted for a model based on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

It provides for an FTA with zero tariffs and quotas between the EU and the UK.

It states that robust commitments on a level playing field should ensure open and fair competition.

The commission says: "The precise nature of commitments will be commensurate with the ambition of the future relationship and take into account the economic connectedness and geographic proximity of the UK."

In terms of regulations, Northern Ireland will remain aligned to a limited set of rules related to the EU's Single Market in order to avoid a hard border: legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls, rules on agricultural production/marketing, VAT and excise in respect of goods, and State Aid rules.

For customs, the EU-UK Single Customs Territory, as agreed in November 2018, has been removed from the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland at the request of the UK government.

EU and UK negotiators say they found "a new way" to achieve the goal of avoiding a customs border on the island of Ireland, while at the same time ensuring Northern Ireland remains part of the UK's customs territory.

"This agreement fully protects the integrity of the EU's Single Market and Customs Union, and avoids any regulatory and customs checks at the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland".

Finally, the EU and the UK have agreed to create a new mechanism on 'consent', which will give members of the Northern Ireland assembly a voice on the long-term application of relevant EU law in Northern Ireland.

The Commission says it has been in close contact with the Irish Government on this point.

DUP reaction

However Northern Ireland's DUP says it cannot support the deal.

In a statement, the party says: "Following confirmation from the prime minister that he believes he has secured a “great new deal” with the European Union the Democratic Unionist Party will be unable to support these proposals in parliament.

It says it has "worked since the referendum result to secure a negotiated deal as we leave the European Union."

"We have been consistent that we will only ever consider supporting arrangements that are in Northern Ireland’s long-term economic and constitutional interests and protect the integrity of the union.

"These proposals are not, in our view, beneficial to the economic well-being of Northern Ireland and they undermine the integrity of the union.

"Our main route of trade on an east-west basis will be subject to rules of the European Union Customs Union, notwithstanding that Northern Ireland will remain part of the UK customs territory."

"All goods would be subject to a customs check regime regardless of their final destination.

"The default position, even for goods travelling from one part of our country to another, is that they are considered under the EU Customs code unless otherwise agreed.

"We recognise that only those goods ultimately destined for the Republic of Ireland would be subject to tariffs but the reality remains that the EU would have a veto on which goods would be exempt and which would not under the joint committee arrangements.

"This is not acceptable within the internal borders of the United Kingdom."

A link to the deal documents can be found here

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