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A New Hope: The Brexit Deal Worth Ratifying

by John Brian Shannon

Well, that didn’t take long!

Boris Johnson has been UK Prime Minister for 85-days and suddenly the UK and the EU seem to be getting along better, and a new and apparently worthwhile Brexit deal is agreed between the parties.

Of course, there’s no pleasing every side. Such agreements are enormously complex and there will always be concerns and doubts in various quarters.

The ‘devil is in the details’ as they say. But with sufficient goodwill on both sides, the UK and the EU are from this moment onward, moving forward on a better and more holistic path.


Quotes from the Brussels Summit as the New Brexit Deal was Announced

  • EC President Donald Tusk: “A deal is always preferable to No Deal.”
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “the UK and EU have agreed a great new deal” and “the UK is leaving the EU as one United Kingdom.”
  • Jean-Claude Juncker said the deal is “fair and balanced” and that, “there is no need for a further extension.”
  • And the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said, “the new deal should provide legal certainty in every area.”
  • The DUP’s Arlene Foster said her party “cannot support the deal” although DUP support is crucial to passing this deal in Parliament. Interesting times, indeed.

Finally a Deal Worth Signing!

This isn’t Theresa May’s Brexit deal warmed-over. The Northern Ireland backstop for example, isn’t part of this agreement.

Also, Northern Ireland remains within the UK and in the UK Customs Union.

However, unlike England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland remains within the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market which is ultra-important for the Northern Ireland economy and is much more convenient for the Republic of Ireland — thereby negating any need for a hard border between the two Irelands.

Further, Northern Ireland’s seat of government (Stormont) has the opportunity to opt out of this arrangement every four years.

As regards the rest of the deal, the new agreement allows the entire UK to leave the EU (at the end of 2020) as one United Kingdom (the same way it joined). And the leisurely schedule allows UK and EU businesses sufficient time to make preparations for a new regulatory environment beginning January 1, 2021.

All-in-all, quite impressive.

I must reiterate that no one side was ever going to get everything they wanted out of a Brexit Deal, but that really isn’t the point.

What is the point is that the present era of economic uncertainty is ending. And that’s good for the UK, good for the EU, and it’s an agreement that’s respectful of Northern Ireland’s unique position in all of this.

A hearty, Well Done! to leaders and negotiators on all sides of the Brexit paradox.