Britain, EU Sign Christmas Trade Deal

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News 
(Worthy News) – Britian and the European Union avoided a messy divorce on Christmas Eve as they agreed on a trade deal worth nearly $1 trillion.
The deal comes four years after Britain voted to exit the EU in a Brexit referendum that shook the 70-year attempt to forge European unity from World War Two’s ruins.
It will preserve Britain’s zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the 27-nation bloc’s single market of 450 million consumers. However, it will not prevent economic pain and disruption for Britain for EU member states.
Under the deal, the EU will give up a quarter of the quota it catches in British waters, far less than the 80 percent Britain initially demanded. According to the published text, the system will be phased in over 5 1/2 years, after which the quotas will be reassessed.
Additionally, EU citizens will no longer be able to live and work in Britain without visas. However, this does not apply to the 4 million Europeans already doing so. In turn, Britons can no longer automatically work or retire in EU nations. 
Additionally, exporters and importers face customs declarations, goods checks, and other obstacles. Yet, British manufacturers and traders welcomed the deal’s certainty, which added to the Christmas cheer. 
But economists warned other parts of the economy — mostly Britain’s giant services sector — would be left out in the cold. The EU has long feared that Britain would slash social, environmental, and state aid rules after Brexit and gain a competitive advantage over the EU. 
Britain denies planning to institute weaker standards but said that following EU regulations would undermine its sovereignty. However, with this compromise deal, “We have taken back control of our destiny,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters. He spoke after posting a picture on social networking site Twitter raising his arms in a thumbs-up gesture of triumph. “People said it was impossible, but we have taken back control.”
The EU’s executive European Commission appeared pleased with the accord. “It was a long and winding road,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters, quoting the Paul McCartney song. “But we have got a good deal to show for it… Finally, we can leave Brexit behind us and look to the future. Europe is now moving on.”
On New Year’s Day, the breakup will start feeling real. Britain remained part of the EU’s single market and customs union during the 11-month post-Brexit transition period. But that will all change. 
Despite a trade deal, goods and people will no longer be able to move freely between Britain and its continental neighbors without border restrictions. 
Truck drivers already got a taste of what that could mean, sounding their horns in protest, with some scuffling with police this week at the English port of Dover. 
They were angry over France’s partial blockade to halt a highly infectious coronavirus variant that has stranded thousands before Christmas.
Paris and London agreed late on Tuesday that drivers carrying a negative test result could board ferries for Calais from Wednesday. 
It came after much of the world shut its borders to Britain to contain the new mutated variant. 
With their divorce now complete, many anxiously await whether Britain can overcome the pandemic and remaining trade differences. 
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