. „The text that we have now agreed would create a new free trade area with the EU – with no tariffs, duties, fees or quantitative restrictions.“
Before the Brexit summit on Sunday, negotiators from London and Brussels had agreed on a political declaration – it is about the future relations after the EU’s exit from the UK.
But with all the demonstrative optimism in Downing Street – the statement met in the UK, as expected, also strong criticism. For the head of the opposition Labor party, Jeremy Corbyn, the text is a testimony to the government’s failure – he spoke of „26 pages of gibberish.“ His party will not agree to the deal in the end. „That’s the ill-considered Brexit we all feared – a leap into the dark.“
The draft bill „makes Brexit complete nonsense,“ criticized May’s ex-Foreign Minister Boris Johnson the agreement. Johnson has been one of Britain’s Brexit champions and resigned from May’s cabinet this summer.
Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, „Lots of unicorns replacing facts about future relationships.“ With unicorns she meant unrealistic goals.
Not legally binding
Unlike the nearly 600-page Treaty on EU exit, which was drafted by London and Brussels last week, the political statement on future relations is not legally binding. This will form the basis for a comprehensive partnership agreement to be concluded during a transitional period after Brexit.
The draft policy statement provides for an „ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership on trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign affairs, security and defense and other fields of cooperation“. We are talking about an „ambitious, far-reaching and balanced economic partnership“ and „ambitious zoo arrangements“ on the basis of the „uniform customs territory“ already envisaged in the withdrawal agreement. Details remain open.
However, another question was clarified: the negotiators agreed on an option to extend the transitional phase until the end of 2020 after Brexit by „up to one or two years“. Thus, after the Brexit until the end of 2022 virtually everything could remain as usual. In the transition period, Britain must continue to comply with EU rules and transfer contributions to Brussels without continuing to be represented in EU bodies.