Britain, European Union reach new Brexit deal
17 October 2019
Britain and the European Union today said they have finalised the outlines of a new Brexit deal after days of wrangling, though it needs to be approved by leaders of the other 27 member states.
More importantly, the new deal must also be ratified by the UK parliament, a huge challenge for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
European Commission and Britain clinched the last-minute Brexit deal on Thursday, hours before a summit of the 28 EU national leaders.
"We have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is testament to our commitment to find solutions," EU President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted.
He said he would recommend that leaders of the other 27 member states approve the deal. “I believe it is high time to complete the divorce process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom,” Juncker said in an attached letter.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that the two sides had struck a "great new deal" and urged UK lawmakers to ratify it in a special session on Saturday.
Johnson, however, faces opposition from Northern Irish government allies who say they could not back the outline deal because of provisions for the Irish border.
The deal has been arrived at after days of struggle to finetune customs and sales tax regulations that will have to manage trade in goods between the Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Johnson also needs to push any deal past a deeply divided Parliament after it rejected a previous deal three times.
For Johnson, who took office in July vowing Britain would finally leave the EU on 31 October with or without a deal, the new deal is a victory.
But, he still needs to win over parliamentarians at home and in neighbouring Ireland to conclude the Brexit.
The deal buoyed the pound, which hit a five-month high against the US dollar.