‘Finally 2020 offers a glimmer of hope!’: Britons anticipate a Brexit deal today with EU talks expected to deliver ‘an early Christmas present’ for the nation
- Boris Johnson is expected to finally announce a Brexit Trade deal later on today
- Britons have taken to Twitter to welcome the news following months of talks
- One said deal was ‘glimmer of hope’ while others dubbed it ‘Christmas present’
Britons today said they were offered a ‘glimmer of hope’ as a Brexit deal looked set to be announced by the Prime Minister in ‘an early Christmas present’ for the nation.
Boris Johnson is expected to finally confirm a Brexit trade deal this afternoon following months of talks – despite last-ditch haggling over the fine detail of fishing rights.
The UK and EU are understood to be on the brink of sealing future trade terms to avert a chaotic split when the transition period ends on January 1, with an outline in place and just the finishing touches needed to the wording.
As the months of talks looked set to come to an end at last, hundreds of Britons took to social media to express their relief following weeks of uncertainty.
One Briton dubbed the deal ‘an early Christmas present from Boris Johnson,’ while another welcomed ‘a glimmer of hope’ in a year plundered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Boris Johnson is expected to finally confirm a Brexit trade deal this afternoon following months of talks – despite last-ditch haggling over the fine detail of fishing rights. Pictured: Mr Johnson
As the months of talks looked set to come to an end at last, hundreds of Britons took to social media to express their relief following weeks of uncertainty
Lord Frost, the EU’s Michel Barnier and a team of experts spent the night ‘scrubbing’ the joint text to ensure there are no loopholes or errors – with Mr Johnson expected to announce the news in a statement from No10 within hours.
But the sides were still said to be arguing ‘fish by fish’ over the rules today, with Ireland warning of a ‘hitch’, even though UK sources insisted there are ‘no major issues’.
The Prime Minister is due to have another call with Ursula von der Leyen on Christmas Eve – and an RAF jet is en route to Brussels, with speculation that Lord Frost is ready to return home.
The impending announcement was highly anticipated by many on social media today, with one man writing: ‘What a relief, finally both the EU and Britain are on the same page.’
Another said the news left him ‘finally feeling festive,’ claiming the deal ‘looks very positive for us’ as ‘Boris doesn’t appear to have caved at all.’
‘Post-Brexit trade deal is likely to be announced today,’ said one Briton. ‘What a relief, finally both the EU and Britain are on the same page.
‘Can’t wait to see this historic agreement announced. It is a win-win for both.’
Boris Johnson and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen (pictured) have been in frequent contact as the two sides close in on a Brexit trade deal
Others welcomed the news after ‘four long years,’ asking what news there will be to focus on once the deal is struck
Others welcomed the news after ‘four long years,’ asking what news there will be to focus on once the deal is struck.
‘Will there finally be an end to this?’ asked another.
A third user said: ‘Four and a half years later, we finally find out what Brexit means.’
However, others were less enthused by the news, anticipating ‘all the naysayers and gloom mongers [will] condemn the deal, whatever is finally agreed.’
Sceptics also shared images of a Fry and Laurie clip in which the actor repeatedly insists ‘this is a good deal for Britain,’ writing: ‘Every Government minister today.’
Some even joked they hoped Larry the cat’s scuffle with a pigeon outside No10 this morning was not a ‘sign of what’s to come.’
Boris Johnson joined a virtual call with British Military personnel from around the globe last night to thank them for their services and to wish them a Merry Christmas
Sceptics today shared images of a Fry and Laurie clip (above) in which the actor repeatedly insists ‘this is a good deal for Britain,’ writing: ‘Every Government minister today’
The FTSE 100 rose 20 points to 6,516 – 0.3 per cent – on opening amid optimism about a deal today.
The pound had already gained around 0.6 per cent against the dollar, and 0.4 per cent against the euro overnight.
The huge £660billion package is expected to mean zero-tariff, zero-quota access to the EU single market – without being forced to obey the European Court of Justice.
Crucially, it will avoid huge disruption on top of the coronavirus crisis.
Pictured: Britons respond to upcoming Brexit trade announcement which is expected today
In more evidence that Mr Johnson is bracing to sell a deal to voters, a leaked internal Government document claims that the UK ‘won’ on 43 per cent of the major issues – compared to 17 per cent where the EU came out on top.
Meanwhile, France has started briefing that Mr Johnson made ‘huge concessions’ on fishing in the last stages as the mutant coronavirus variant underlined the vulnerability of UK borders.
The challenge the PM faces was underlined as Tory Brexiteers vowed to put together a ‘Star Chamber’ of experts to scrutinise the documents over Christmas – and Nigel Farage accused him of betrayal before the deal was even published.
There are fears that political ‘landmines’ in the text will inevitably be uncovered.
What were the sticking points in Brexit talks?
The UK insisted throughout that it would take back control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.
But the EU was demanding its fleets maintain previous levels of access – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.
Initially the UK said it wanted to reclaim 80 per cent of the EU quotas from January 1.
However, Brussels suggested that only 18 per cent should be restored.
The two sides are thought to have found a ‘landing zone’ that includes a figure between those and a transition period.
If reports are right that the UK is reclaiming just 25 per cent of the EU’s fishing quota, phased in over five and a half years, that would look to be closer to the EU position.
However, Downing Street will insist that means the UK can be catching two thirds of fish in our waters by the year 2026.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
The EU insisted the UK should commit to ‘level playing field’ provisions, guaranteeing that it will not undercut businesses with lower environmental standards and regulation.
State aid has emerged as a particular issue, especially as coronavirus makes swathes of the economy unviable.
But the UK said it must regain sovereign powers to decide on rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or warp competition by subsidising the private sector.
It appeared this area was close to resolution, before France reportedly laid down a series of extra conditions including huge punishments for breaking the rules.
Although the UK is happy with ‘non-regression’ – meaning current standards are accepted as a baseline – it took issue with swingeing unilateral penalties and complained the proposals were ‘asymmetrical’ as the EU would be freer to prop up industries.
The enforcement of any deal, and who decides whether rules are broken, has been one of the flashpoints from the start.
Breaking free of the European Court of Justice was among the biggest demands of Brexiteers from the referendum.
But the EU was pushing to keep control of the governance, as well as insisting on tough fines and punitive tariffs for breaches.
The situation was inflamed by the row over the UK’s Internal Market Bill, which gave ministers the power to override the previous Brexit divorce terms to prevent blockages between Britain and Northern Ireland.
The resolution of that spat is thought to have been critical in hammering out a wider trade deal.
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