MERRY BREXMAS! Just eight days earlier than the tip of the Brexit transition interval, the EU and U.Ok. lastly secured an settlement at 2:44 p.m. Brussels time on Christmas Eve. Once carried out, the deal will govern future relations on commerce, fisheries and different sectors equivalent to judicial cooperation. Avoiding the no-deal cliff edge was an early Christmas current for corporations and residents but additionally for the EU’s and U.Ok.’s standing in the world. And whereas it could have appeared as if it was by no means going to finish, it’s value noting that the talks truly solely lasted 1o months, which could be very quick in contrast with different large commerce agreements.
Meet the Beatles: “It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned at her press convention, citing the best British export of all time. “It is fair, it is a balanced deal, and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides.”
Enough, thanks: Von der Leyen added that “it was worth fighting for this deal,” while stressing that four-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum, it is now time to turn the page and look to the future: “To all Europeans, I think it is time to leave Brexit behind.”
A jab in opposition to Brexit Britain: “This whole debate has always been about sovereignty. But we should cut through the soundbites and ask ourselves what sovereignty actually means in the 21st century,” von der Leyen informed reporters. “For me, it’s about having the ability to seamlessly do work, journey, examine and do enterprise in 27 nations. It is about pooling our power and talking collectively in a world stuffed with nice powers. And in a time of disaster, it’s about pulling one another up as an alternative of attempting to get again to your toes, alone. And the European Union exhibits how this works in follow.”
**A message from Huawei: Merry Christmas to you and your family members. Huawei is proud to be serving to you keep related throughout this time, and we stay dedicated to Europe, now and in the long run.**
JOHNSON’S TAKE: Across the channel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his definition of sovereignty. “We have taken back control of our laws and destiny,” he informed reporters, stressing that the U.Ok. had received the best to “set our own standards, to innovate in the way that we want.” He added: “British legal guidelines can be made solely by the British parliament, interpreted by British judges, sitting in the U.Ok. courts.”
Message to Brussels: “I say again directly to our EU friends and partners, I think this deal means a new stability and a new certainty in what has sometimes been a fractious and difficult relationship,” he mentioned. “We can be your buddy, your ally, your supporter, and certainly, by no means let or not it’s forgotten, your primary market. Because though we may have left the EU, this nation will stay culturally, emotionally, traditionally, strategically, geologically hooked up to Europe.”
Deal-getter: Johnson celebrated the settlement as a private victory. “The British people knew it was doable but were told it was impossible,” he mentioned at a press convention in London, including that not even the coronavirus disaster managed to derail negotiations. “There’s been plenty of people who told us that the challenges of the COVID pandemic have made this work impossible and that we should extend the transition period, and incur yet more delay. I rejected that approach,” Johnson mentioned. “I’m very pleased to tell you this afternoon that we have completed the biggest trade deal yet … A comprehensive, Canada-style, free trade deal.”
But it’s not achieved but: Both sides now need to race in opposition to the clock to learn, examine and implement the deal earlier than the tip of the yr. The European Commission mentioned it proposes a restricted “provisional application” till February 28, that means that for now, solely EU nations (and the British) want to offer their consent to the textual content, whereas the European Parliament can totally scrutinize it and hold a vote firstly of subsequent yr.
GOOD MORNING and welcome to this particular Christmas (Brexit) version of Brussels Playbook. I’m Hans von der Burchard, a reporter with POLITICO’s Brussels crew. Here’s wishing you and your family members a merry and wholesome Christmas and I hope that Brexit can be nothing greater than a subject of jolly dialog for you over the festive break. But spare a thought for these officers in Brussels, London and different capitals who need to work on scrutinizing and implementing the deal beneath nice time stress. For instance, EU ambassadors who’ve been summoned for a Brexit dialogue in the present day at 10:30 a.m.
WHAT’S IN IT: POLITICO’s ace commerce reporters in Brussels and London clarify right here what the Brexit deal contains in phrases of products commerce, providers, fish, power and retaliation rights. The full textual content of the deal may be learn right here.
What Vote Leave promised — and what they obtained: Emilio Casalicchio has the essential evaluation of what was truly achieved on the Brexit guarantees.
Bankers nonetheless ready: Hannah Brenton experiences how the City of London remains to be ready for its Brexit deal, as monetary providers shouldn’t be coated by the settlement reached on Thursday — extra for Pro Brexit Transition subscribers right here.
About that well-known stage enjoying discipline: The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier mentioned Thursday that the agreed guidelines on employees’ rights, the surroundings and subsidies in the Brexit commerce deal can be “the hallmark” for all future EU commerce agreements. More right here for Pro Trade, Competition, Energy and Sustainability subscribers.
MEPS HOLD THEIR NOSES: Members of the European Parliament had been glad concerning the deal although they made clear that the circumstances beneath which it got here collectively are removed from ideally suited. Although the Commission had for a very long time promised lawmakers that they might get to vote on the settlement earlier than it was carried out, the lacking of a number of Parliament deadlines — the final one on Sunday — meant it was not potential for MEPs to offer their consent in time.
“Parliament regrets that the duration of the negotiations and the last-minute nature of the agreement does not allow for proper parliamentary scrutiny before the end of the year,” President David Sassoli mentioned in an announcement. Sassoli additionally invited leaders of the Parliament’s political teams in addition to von der Leyen and Barnier for a gathering on Monday at 10 a.m.
Next steps for Parliament: David McAllister, the German MEP who chairs the Parliament’s U.Ok. Coordination Group, informed Playbook that provisional software was removed from ideally suited however “appears to be the only feasible option.” He added: “Parliament will start its scrutiny in the new year. Committees will be involved and there will be an accompanying resolution,” he added.
Transparency misplaced? For Bernd Lange, the chair of the Parliament’s commerce committee, the deal “has a bitter aftertaste as a result of the character of the negotiations shouldn’t be a stellar second for democratic participation. No entry to negotiating texts for parliaments and negotiations behind closed doorways — that’s not in retaining with the instances. Democratic participation seems completely different.”
MEANWHILE, HOUSE OF LORDS GETS READY TO APPROVE: The U.Ok. parliament is on the point of approve the laws for a Brexit deal in the approaching days. The House of Lords has been reconvened for a sitting on December 30 at midday, in response to its Speaker Norman Fowler.
UK PULLS OUT OF ERASMUS: Johnson confirmed earlier experiences by POLITICO that British college students won’t be able to review at European universities with an Erasmus+ grant from 2021, with the identical making use of to EU college students in the U.Ok., after the U.Ok. declined to proceed collaborating in the EU’s flagship scholar mobility scheme. More from Cristina Gallardo.
MERKEL LAUDS ‘HISTORIC’ DEAL: German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned in an announcement that the settlement was of “historic importance,” and stressed that the German government will now “intensively” study the treaty textual content. “But we are not starting from scratch,” Merkel mentioned, “because the Commission has closely involved member states throughout the entire negotiation process.” The chancellor added that the German Cabinet will agree on its place on the deal on Monday. “I am very confident that we have a good result here,” she mentioned.
PARIS CHECKING THE SMALL PRINT: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Europe Minister Clément Beaune mentioned in a joint assertion that “important progress was secured, including over the last hours.” However, the ministers added: “We now need to ensure that our key points were fully taken into account.” France was one of many EU nations taking the toughest line on fisheries.
A GOOD CATCH FOR IRELAND: Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin mentioned the commerce deal “represents a good compromise and a balanced outcome” — even for the Irish seafood trade. “There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Ireland. But I believe the agreement reached today is the least bad version of Brexit possible,” mentioned Martin, who famous that Irish fishers could be significantly upset to lose 1 / 4 of their take from British waters. “But compared with the prospect of ‘no deal,’ which would have seen them completely excluded from British waters, the negotiators have worked hard to minimize the damage,” he mentioned. He tweeted that this implies the 2 sides can now “focus on how we manage good relationship in the years ahead.”
LISBON LOOKING FORWARD: “We warmly welcome the agreement reached with the United Kingdom on the relationship with the EU from 1 January,” Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, whose nation will take over the rotating EU Council Presidency in January, wrote on Twitter. “UK will remain, in addition to our neighbor and Ally, an important partner,” he added.
As was the case final yr, Playbook requested the top of the Commission’s Directorate-General for Satirical Memes and Sober Fun (DG Meme) to share his EU Christmas with our readers.
LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS WISHES: While Belgium launched COVID restrictions for Santa Claus (“he can come down the chimney but he must leave through the window, climbing down the gutter”), DG MEME was given a glimpse of some last-minute letters to Santa from outstanding European figures:
“Dear Santa, thanks for giving us a Deal! It is obvious that reindeer are better than unicorns! I still have a little truck mess in Kent, could you help me with the logistics?” BoJo(lly)
“Dear Mr. Claus, I was resilient all year long and I took stock of many things. Could you please ensure that I don’t have to negotiate with the U.K. anymore?” Michel (the horny one)
“Caro Babbo Natale. Why did you deliver my present to Strasbourg? Brussels is my favorite seat — and always will be.” David
“Dear Santa, as a mother of seven I know how hard it is to find appropriate presents. Do you have any toys in mind to keep Orbán, Janša and Morawiecki busy?” Uschi
“Liebes Christkindl. As you can see, I got acquainted with Austrian culture. Can you now please end my exile and send me back to Brussels? That’s where I belong!” Martin Bonaparte
“Kære Julemand. Thanks for the present, it arrived a few days earlier than expected. First we’ll stop their servers, then their unfair competition. ¡Hasta la Victoria!” Queen Margrethe of the Internal Market
“Hey buddy! I am very busy with the Green Deal, so I don’t have time to stand in for you like last year. By the way, I think delivering coal to Manfred was a good idea: he has been a good boy ever since.” Timmerfrans
DG MEME needs you all a Merry Christmas! It is a really troublesome interval for all of us and it’s extra necessary than ever to be united and put egos apart. By the best way, who’s going to guide the Conference on the Future of Europe?
OVER AND OUT
MORE UK TRANSITIONS: Chris Fitzgerald, who served as spokesman for the U.Ok. embassy since 2018, left Brussels on Thursday, David Herszenhorn experiences. Fitzgerald is returning to London to take up a task as deputy non-public secretary to Prince Charles — a Foreign Office posting protecting overseas affairs, sustainability and worldwide tasks. In retaining with the Christmas spirit, Playbook shunned asking Fitzgerald which was the more durable submit, his tour in Afghanistan or in Brussels throughout negotiations over the Withdrawal Agreement and the post-Brexit commerce deal. We can confirm, nonetheless, that he left the EU capital with no seen scars.
New spokeswoman: Fitzgerald is changed by Madeline Knox who involves Brussels through earlier postings in Berlin, engaged on overseas and safety coverage, and New Delhi, the place she labored on local weather and power. In different information from UKMis — that’s the embassy previously often called UKREP — Sara Erdstrom, who was deputy spokesperson for safety and overseas coverage, is headed to a brand new submit in Istanbul. Erdstrom has been changed by Dan MacArthur, most not too long ago assigned to the Cabinet Office, who has been working remotely however will arrive in Brussels subsequent week.
HISTORY DEPARTMENT: Politics and Christmas Day must be saved aside however December 25 has typically been intimately interwoven with the grubby world of politics. Christian Oliver seems at seven instances Christmas Day obtained political.
BIRTHDAYS: MEPs Silvia Sardone and Mario Furore; European Commission’s Roderick Harte; Retired Italian Ambassador Stefano Stefanini; Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Former George W. Bush White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove; Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth; Jesus of Nazareth.
MANY THANKS TO: The complete POLITICO crew protecting Brexit on Christmas Eve, my editor Paul Dallison and our producer Ali Walker.
**A message from Huawei: Merry Christmas to you and your family members, wherever chances are you’ll be. Huawei is proud to be serving to you keep related throughout this era. We stay dedicated to Europe, now and in the long run.**
based mostly on website supplies www.politico.eu