On Thursday, Britain and the European Union reached a last-ditch Brexit deal just hours before an EU summit that is expected to give it a seal of approval. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson yet has to take the accord to a skeptical British parliament for its backing on Saturday.
Johnson tweeted, “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control – now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday.” He has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without an agreement.
The officials of the European Union are glad that they avoided an immediate crisis at the European Council summit, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recommended that the other 27 EU leaders endorse the deal.
Juncker tweeted, “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.”
The draft agreement was formed just weeks before Britain was due to leave the bloc on October 31, ending more than four decades of close economic and political ties with its nearest neighbors.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier said that “We have managed to find solutions that fully respect the integrity of the single market.”
“We created a new and legally operative solution to avoid a hard border, and protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland,” he said.
“It is a solution that works for the EU, for the UK and for people and businesses in Northern Ireland,” he added.
One immediate obstacle is opposition from Johnson’s allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which rejected the compromise. The agreement would see the British-ruled province remain under EU customs and Value Added Tax (VAT) rules. The loyalist DUP announced that it can not support it.
Under the steps to replace the so-called “Irish backstop” in the previous failed agreement, the plan would see Northern Ireland remain British legal territory but trade under EU regulations.