A Brexit deal has been reached between the U.K. and European Union (EU), which will help to define the future relations of the two entities, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports.
“So we have finally found an agreement. It was a long and winding road, but we have got a good deal to show for it. It is fair. It is a balanced deal and it is the right and responsible thing to do for both sides,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a press conference after the deal was announced, according to WSJ. “The European Union and the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder to deliver on our common goals.”
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the deal will put an end to the uncertainty that has been twisted up in the country’s politics for years. With the deal, Johnson said, the country will have a better chance at recovering from the pandemic as well.
The new deal, according to WSJ, will see a more distant relationship between the U.K. and EU, with both sides trading free of tariff and with new bureaucracy for importers and exporters. There won’t be a free flow of workers between the two economies anymore, and there will be less trade, with London’s financial sector having less access to European markets.
Also, Britain will now be able to depart from EU regulations more, and be able to sign free-trade deals with countries like the U.S.
In addition, if the EU lifts regulatory standards in the future while the U.K. doesn’t, the EU could impose penalties on some U.K. sectors if there’s proof of economic harm.
The deal came right on the cusp of the year’s end deadline. With it, the fears of a major economic disruption are quelled, with Britain preparing to break off from its largest trading partner in the EU.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in the U.K., with a new, more contagious variant roiling the country and spurring more lockdowns.