The European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) have finally agreed a post-Brexit trade deal, ending months of disagreements over fishing rights and future business rules.
The UK is set to exit EU trading rules next Thursday – a year after officially leaving the 27 nation bloc.
It will mean big changes for business, with the UK and EU forming two separate markets, and the end of free movement.
At a Downing Street press conference on Thursday, December 24, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We have taken back control of our laws and our destiny.”
The text of the agreement has yet to be released, but the PM claimed it was a “good deal for the whole of Europe”.
As the deal was announced, Mr Johnson – who had repeatedly said the UK would “prosper mightily” without a deal – tweeted a picture of himself smiling with both thumbs lifted in the air.
At his press conference, he said the £668bn a year agreement would “protect jobs across this country” and “enable UK goods to be sold without tariffs, without quotas in the EU market”.
“The EU began with I think wanting a transition period of 14 years, we wanted three years, we’ve ended up at five years,” he said.
According to Johnson, the UK had not got all it wanted on financial services, a vital part of the UK economy, but he insisted the deal was “nonetheless going to enable our dynamic City of London to get on and prosper as never before”.
In a press conference in Brussels, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen said: “This 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.”
She added that now was “time to turn the page and look to the future” and that the UK “remains a trusted partner”.
The UK Parliament will be recalled on 30 December to vote on the deal – it will also need to be ratified by the European Parliament.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon opposed the deal saying: “Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will – and there is no deal that will ever make up for what Brexit takes away from us.
“It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”