Boris Johnson: Brexit deal is ‘glad tidings of great joy’
The EU chief negotiator said there was “obviously a risk” in the event of future arguments after a deal was agreed between both sides on Christmas Eve. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear that any disputes resulting from the trade deal would be dealt by “third-party arbitration” if they occurred but stressed they would be unlikely.
When asked whether he expected “significant litigation” with the UK, Mr Barnier told French newspaper Le Figaro: “There is obviously a risk but I do not want to make a trial of intent here.
“This agreement must be the basis for intelligent and sustainable cooperation between Europe and the United Kingdom.
“The British have experienced diplomats who never give up and always ask for more!
“They wanted ‘the best of both worlds’.
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Express.co.uk understands a regulatory body or panel is expected to set up to make sure the newly agreed deal is properly applied and interpreted.
When asked how the EU will make sure the UK will stick to its side of the agreement, EU Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen said at a press conference: “We have strong measures that can be taken if one party does not play by the rules.
“So starting from re-balancing mechanisms that are built-in with dispute settlement mechanisms, to review clauses and overall review for example, after four years, to see whether both sides played by the rules, that the level playing field is level indeed.
“And there is the commitment to follow whatever has been agreed in this deal.
“So from the experience we have had we built in safeguards that are necessary to make sure there is a strong incentive for both sides to stick to what they have agreed to.”
A Downing Street spokesman told Express.co.uk: “The deal is based on international law, not EU law.
“There is no role for the European Court of Justice and no requirements for the UK to continue following EU law or be forced to keep EU law as it currently stands.
“If the UK exercises its sovereign right to have different rules to the EU, any issues arising will be dealt with fairly by an independent arbitration process with no role for EU judges.”
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It comes as EU members approved the trade deal with the UK with just days to go before the transition period ends this morning.
Diplomats and bloc members met to determine how they can provisionally approve the trade deal covering £660billion of trade in time for the end of the transition period on Thursday.
Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency now said it was a “green light” to a deal being secured allowing the agreement to provisionally come into force on New Years Day.
Meanwhile, UK MPs will gather in the House of Commons on Wednesday to debate the deal with Tory Eurosceptics urgently poring over the details of the treaty brokered on Christmas Eve.
Commenting on the wider aspect of the trade deal, Mr Barnier said the agreement was “balanced and reasonable.”
He stressed in an interview with French daily newspaper Le Figaro: “The Europeans have succeeded in defending their main interests, and in particular the internal market and fisheries.
“The United Kingdom is now regaining its regulatory autonomy.”
But in a stark warning to the UK, the EU chief negotiator made clear: “In this draft treaty, it is nowhere written that one cannot do what one wants, but it is stipulated that too strong divergences and a possible dumping will have consequences.
“This is the very first time that the union has negotiated a free trade agreement in a context of divergence, not convergence.”
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