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  • European Trade Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan greets European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier as he leaves after attending a news conference at European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, October 17, 2019

    European Trade Commissioner-designate Phil Hogan greets European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier as he leaves after attending a news conference at European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, October 17, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 October 2019

“Where there is a will there is a deal - we have one. It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions."

The United Kingdom clinched a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union on Thursday, but still faced a challenge in getting it approved by parliament.

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“Where there is a will there is a deal - we have one. It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a tweet a few hours before an EU summit in Brussels.

He said he would recommend that leaders of the other 27 member states approve the deal.

“I believe it is high time to complete the divorce process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom,” Juncker said in an attached letter.

Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we have a great new Brexit deal”.

Johnson is hoping to get approval for the agreement in a vote at an extraordinary session of the British parliament on Saturday, to pave the way for an orderly departure on Oct. 31.

However, the Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement has refused to support the deal that was hammered out over weeks of negotiations.

The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in Brussels he was “unhappy” with the deal and would vote against it. Lawmakers in his party said they had been told to vote for another referendum on Saturday.

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