'Thank you, Brexit!' Europe Union officials fuming as Britain's exit ruins Christmas

'Thank you, Brexit!' Europe Union officials fuming as Britain's exit ruins Christmas

It comes as European Union ambassadors received a Christmas Day briefing on the trade deal from European Union negotiator Michel Barnier.

"We will be an independent coastal state".

SHAPIRO: So what's in this deal?

French Europe minister Clement Beaune said it was a "good agreement" and stressed the European Union had not accepted a deal "at all costs". The European Union has tried to provide duty-free access only to British cars made primarily with European parts. It doesn't really do much, as far as we can tell, on services, which are 80% of the economy.

Access to Britain's rich fishing waters was a major sticking point in the post-Brexit talks, and the deal sees European Union fishing vessels steadily give up part of current quotas.

Mr Johnson said: "Tonight, on Christmas Eve, I have a small present for anyone who may be looking for something to read in that sleepy post-Christmas lunch moment, and here it is, tidings, glad tidings of great joy because this is a deal".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself inside Downing Street, raising both arms in a thumbs-up gesture of triumph, with the words: "The deal is done".

The U.K. parliament is expected to approve the deal in the coming days, but the agreement will have to be applied provisionally, since the EU's legislature can only give its consent next month at the earliest. Brexit campaigners said that the United Kingdom can retain the advantages of the single market. The country has "taken back control of its money, borders, laws, trade and fishing waters", Johnson declared.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, called the deal a "fair, balanced and right" agreement and "worth fighting for". Normally, she says, she's pretty joyful after these things get finished.

"But today I only feel quiet satisfaction and frankly speaking, relief".

URSULA VON DER LEYEN: I know this is a hard day for some.

She struck a subdued tone when she used a line from Romeo and Juliet to express her mood, saying "parting is such sweet sorrow". And in recent days, European truckers have received an alarming preview of the havoc wrought by shipping delays of even a few days when they were stranded at British ports because of travel bans connected to the new coronavirus variant.

LANGFITT: Well, a lot easier if there hadn't been any deal at all, in which there would have been tariffs, which would have caused a lot of problems.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, said in a statement that the deal "beggars belief".

SHAPIRO: This is a turning point in Europe.

At Friday's exceptional meeting, the ambassadors were briefed about the details of the draft treaty by the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Johnson has come under fierce criticism for his management of the country's coronavirus outbreak, which has so far left nearly 70,000 dead, the heaviest toll in Europe.

"Over the longer term I have honest concerns about the UK".

LANGFITT: Well, I think in Europe, basically, this weakens Europe, certainly from many people's perspective, and, of course, America, a close ally of many, many countries in Europe. They're very angry about this.

Mr Johnson used his Christmas message to sell the deal to a public tired of Brexit after years of acrimonious wrangling since the referendum.

LANGFITT: Happy to do it, Ari.

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