Brexit deal ap­proved by EU mem­bers

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Front Page - By AN­GUS MCNEICE and EARLE GALE in Lon­don

The Brexit deal thrashed out be­tween ne­go­tia­tors from the Euro­pean Union and the United King­dom has been ap­proved by the lead­ers of EU mem­ber na­tions, paving the way for the Bri­tish Par­lia­ment to con­sider it in the weeks to come.

Don­ald Tusk, pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil, said the 27 other na­tions gave their ap­proval after a mere hour of talks in Brus­sels over the week­end.

The rub­ber-stamp­ing of the draft deal was widely ex­pected de­spite last-minute drama that saw Spain threaten to op­pose the deal over its con­cerns about Gi­bral­tar, which is con­trolled by the UK but over which Spain also claims sovereignty.

The deal must now go be­fore the UK Par­lia­ment in a vote ex­pected in the se­cond week of De­cem­ber. Many mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are ex­pected to vote against the deal.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker told Bri­tish MPs that this was the “best deal” and the “only deal pos­si­ble”. He also said that this was a “sad day” and that no one should cel­e­brate the prospect of the UK leav­ing the EU.

Down­ing Street is­sued a state­ment on Sat­ur­day in which Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said: “As Prime Min­is­ter of the United King­dom, I have from day one been de­ter­mined to de­liver a Brexit deal that works for ev­ery part of our coun­try — for Eng­land, Scot­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land — for our over­seas ter­ri­to­ries like Gi­bral­tar, and also for the Crown De­pen­den­cies. This deal will do that.” In­side In­side

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May is ex­pected to travel the coun­try for the next two weeks in a bid to get MPs on­side ahead of the vote in Par­lia­ment. Should she fail, sev­eral pos­si­bil­i­ties re­main, in­clud­ing rene­go­ti­a­tions with the EU, a gen­eral elec­tion or a “no deal” with­drawal from the EU.

Three main is­sues, in­clud­ing the North­ern Ire­land bor­der, the cost of leav­ing the EU and cit­i­zens rights are at the cen­ter of the deal. The UK has agreed to set­tle a 39 bil­lion pound ($50 bil­lion) “di­vorce bill” with the EU. The deal also aims to pro­tect the rights of EU cit­i­zens in the UK, and UK cit­i­zens in the EU. A North­ern Ire­land “back­stop” was agreed, that prom­ises to keep the bor­der open if trade talks break down.

Sev­eral Bri­tish politi­cians crit­i­cized the deal fol­low­ing its ap­proval by the EU, in­clud­ing Scot­tish First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon. “This is a bad deal, driven by the prime min­is­ter’s self de­feat­ing red lines and con­tin­ual pan­der­ing to the right of her own party,” Stur­geon wrote on Twit­ter. “Par­lia­ment should re­ject it and back a bet­ter al­ter­na­tive.”

Mean­while, the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party, the North­ern Ir­ish party that props up May’s gov­ern­ment, said that it would “re­view” its sup­port if her Brexit plan is ap­proved by Par­lia­ment, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press.

The 27 EU na­tions, the so-called EU27, also en­dorsed a po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion lay­ing out the vi­sion for the fu­ture of EU-UK re­la­tions.

Con­tact the writ­ers at an­[email protected] mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

JOHN THYS / AFP

Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Jean-Claude Juncker (left), Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk and EU chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier meet re­porters after a spe­cial meet­ing of the Euro­pean Coun­cil to en­dorse the draft Brexit with­drawal agree­ment and to ap­prove the draft po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion on fu­ture EU-UK re­la­tions on Sun­day in Brus­sels.

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