Paris, Oct 18 (ANI): Britain and the European Union (EU) on Thursday finally struck a new Brexit deal after days of intense back-and-forth negotiations, setting the stage for another major parliamentary showdown over the United Kingdom’s bid to leave the bloc after months of political chaos.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, announced the agreement just hours before EU leaders were due to meet in Brussels, whom he called on to back the deal, Al Jazeera reported.
“Where there is a will, there is a deal – 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,” Juncker said in a post on Twitter.
Shortly after the deal was brokered, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was “good news” that a deal had been reached, and it was now down to Johnson to deliver a vote in the British Parliament on the Brexit deal agreed with the EU.
Reiterating similar sentiments, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that the divorce agreement would now allow the UK to leave the EU in an “orderly way”.
Varadkar added that the agreement is good for both EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, and protects the EU’s single market and Ireland’s place within it.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also described the agreement as “nothing less than a diplomatic feat”.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Maas said the agreement “is proof that we all worked very responsibly together”, adding a reminder that it still needs to be discussed by EU leaders and the European Parliament.
The new agreement – which sets out a revised plan for Northern Ireland, a major stumbling block in the previous deal – must still be formally approved by all of the EU’s member states and ratified by the European and UK Parliaments.
The deal proposes that Northern Ireland will remain in the UK customs area but tariffs will apply on goods crossing from mainland Britain to the territory if they are deemed to be headed further, to Ireland and the bloc’s single market.
The House of Commons is set to vote on the agreement during a special sitting on Saturday.
However, Johnson is expected to face an uphill battle to get his revised withdrawal agreement signed off as Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said it would not support what was being proposed in the new deal regarding customs and consent issues for Northern Ireland’s border with Ireland post-Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour party, meanwhile called on legislators to reject the deal delivered by Johnson.
“From what we know, it seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May’s,” Corbyn said.
“This sell-out deal won’t bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the final say in a public vote,” he added.
Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party also said that her party will not vote for the new deal.
In a written statement, she said that the agreement “would take Scotland out of the European Union, out of the single market and out of the customs union against the overwhelming democratic will of the people of Scotland”.
The new agreement was brokered just two weeks before the UK is scheduled to depart the 28-member bloc on October 31.
The ruling Conservative Party has been struggling to finalise a Brexit agreement which has faced opposition and rejection by British lawmakers in the Parliament for the past several months.
Since taking office in July, Johnson has vowed to take his country out of the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.