Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’
Diplomats and bloc members will meet this morning to determine how they can provisionally approve the trade deal covering £660billion of trade in time for the end of the transition period on Thursday. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to receive backlash from angry MEPs who feel the sovereignty of the European Parliament has been systematically undermined with very little time to debate a deal.
However, in an interview with French daily newspaper Le Figaro, Mr Barnier expressed his pride in securing a deal with the UK, adding: “I have, of course, the feeling of a mission accomplished, with an exceptional team.”
Mr Barnier stressed the deal would “must be the basis for lasting cooperation” as he urged the UK to stay cooperative with Brussels.
The bloc’s research group will meet this morning to scrutinise the provisional agreement and the wat forward.
David Sassoli, president of the EU Parliament will convene a Conference of Presidents to discuss the deal with political group leaders, Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen and Mr Barnier this morning.
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He said: “The parliament is now ready to react responsibly in order to minimise disruption to citizens and business.
“The parliament will continue its work in the responsible committees and the full plenary before deciding whether to give consent in the new year.”
Udo Bullmann, who sits on parliament’s trade committee said MEPs would “put the agreement through its paces”.
At the same time, Tory eurosceptics have been urgently poring over the details of the treaty brokered on Christmas Eve by Boris Johnson and Lord Frost ahead of MPs being recalled to vote on the deal on Wednesday.
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8am update: Fishermen worse off due to Brexit deal, National boss warns
Fishermen will be “absolutely worse off” as a result of the Government’s post-Brexit trade deal, the chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has said.
Andrew Locker said the industry had been “betrayed” by Boris Johnson and told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “I am angry, disappointed and betrayed. Boris Johnson promised us the rights to all the fish that swim in our exclusive economic zone and we have got a fraction of that.”
“We are absolutely worse off. When we were within the EU we used to trade fish with the EU. We used to swap things we didn’t use with fish that they didn’t use and that enabled us to put together an annual fishing plan.
“What we have got now is a fraction of what we were promised through Brexit. We are going to really, really struggle this year.
“When Boris Johnson and his Government promised Brexit to the fishermen he promised none of us would be worse off. There is a considerable amount of fishermen – small families, small communities – absolutely worse off by this deal.”
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