With just days left for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU), representatives from the EU member states have given their green light to a provisional application of the trade and cooperation agreement with the UK which comes into effect from January 2021.
With the post-Brexit deal only being agreed upon just a week (December 24) from the formal transitional period which is set to expire by December 31, the EU committee had to convene on Christmas Day to start the preliminary review of the 1,246 pages of the draft text.
The provisional approval granted by the EU will remain till February 28 by which the European Parliament is expected to formally scrutinize the legal document.
Earlier, the European Parliament has proposed to extend the provisional period so that it can go through the agreement at the March plenary with an eye to reducing confusion among citizens and businesses while avoiding any chaos or negative consequences of a no-deal scenario.
The deal will still have to gain approvals from respective governing bodies in the EU member states and the UK Parliament which is expected to vote on the same in a special sitting as early as this week.
Sharing his pleasure about the provisional approval, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that “I welcomed the importance of the UK/EU Agreement as a new starting point for our relationship, between sovereign equals.”
The UK Prime Minister stated authorities at both sides look forward to the formal acceptance of the agreement and subsequently work together on shared priorities, such as tackling climate change.
The $905 billion UK-EU free trade deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side with the UK being the third-largest EU trading partner in goods, after the US and China.