Brexit: How European leaders reacted to EU-UK trade deal – BBC News

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media captionEuropean Commission announces ‘fair’ post-Brexit trade deal

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}A post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK, prompting relief, sadness and optimism for the future.

European leaders have been reacting to the announcement. Here’s what some of them have said.

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Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president

“It 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.

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  • Boris Johnson hails free trade deal with EU

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.

“To all Europeans, I say: It’s time to leave Brexit behind. Our future is made in Europe.”

Michel Barnier, EU’s chief negotiator

“The clock is no longer ticking.

“Today is a day of relief, but tinged by some sadness as we compare what came before with what lies ahead.”

media caption‘Today is a day of relief’, says EU chief negotiator, Michel Barnier

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor

“The federal government will now carefully check the text of the agreement. But we’re not starting at zero. The European Commission has closely included the member states throughout the entire negotiating process.

“We will thus be able to quickly judge if Germany can support today’s outcome. I am very optimistic that we will have a good result.

“With the deal we create the basis for a new chapter of our relationship. The UK will continue to be an important partner for Germany and the EU outside of the European Union.”

Micheál Martin, Irish prime minister

“There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Ireland.

“But we have worked hard to minimise the negative consequences.

“I believe the agreement reached today is the least bad version of Brexit possible, given current circumstances.”

.css-1xtcmof-Placeholder{position:relative;display:block;padding-bottom:56.25%;background-color:#EEEEEE;}.css-1xtcmof-Placeholder img{overflow:hidden;position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:center;-webkit-justify-content:center;-ms-flex-pack:center;justify-content:center;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;width:100%;height:100%;object-fit:cover;}.css-evoj7m-Image{display:block;width:100%;height:auto;}Micheál Martin, Irish prime minister.css-1ecljvk-StyledFigureCopyright{position:absolute;bottom:0;right:0;background:#3F3F42;color:#EEEEEE;padding:0.25rem 0.5rem;text-transform:uppercase;}image copyrightPA Media
image captionMr Martin said the deal was a “good compromise”

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president

“The unity and strength of Europe paid off.

“The agreement with the United Kingdom is essential to protect our citizens, our fishermen, our producers. We will make sure that this is the case.”

Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister

“Good news: deal between the EU and the UK has been agreed.

“Interests and rights of European businesses and citizens guaranteed. The UK will be a central partner and ally for the EU and Italy.”

Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister

“We welcome the agreement between the EU and the UK. Congratulations to Michel Barnier, Ursula von der Leyen and their teams.

“The Member States and the EU Council will examine it in the next few days.

“Spain and the UK will continue dialogue to reach an agreement on Gibraltar.”

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) greets Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L)image copyrightEPA
image captionMr Sánchez (L) and Mr Macron (R) both welcomed the Brexit deal

Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s chancellor

“I welcome that an agreement could be reached by the negotiators on the EU’s future relationship with the UK.

António Costa, Portugal’s prime minister

“We warmly welcome the agreement reached with the United Kingdom on the relationship with the EU from 1 January.

“UK will remain, in addition to our neighbour and ally, an important partner.”

Mark Rutte, Dutch prime minister

“Excellent news that an agreement on a new EU-UK partnership has been reached after tough negotiations.

“This is of great importance to us all. We will now study it carefully.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks with European Parliament President David-Maria Sassoliimage copyrightReuters
image captionMr Rutte (L) said he would examine the Brexit deal “carefully”

Alexander De Croo, Belgium’s prime minister

“I welcome the agreement that Michel Barnier and Ursula von der Leyen have negotiated with the UK. It offers perspective to maintain our strong relationship with the UK after Brexit.

“In the end, there is only one thing that matters to me: ensuring the best possible protection for Belgium’s economic interests. We must protect our Belgian companies from unfair British competition.

“Initial reports seem to indicate that this agreement will give us this crucial guarantee.”

Klaus Iohannis, Romania’s president

“Romania welcomes the EU-UK agreed partnership on future relations.

“This agreement will protect the interests of Romanian companies and citizens – Romania’s key objectives during these negotiations.

Igor Matovič, Slovakia’s prime minister

“Very few believe but Christmas can make miracles happen.

“Good news from both sides of the Channel. Big thanks go to Ursula von der Leyen and Michel Barnier.

“They secured a deal on our future relations between EU and UK. We will now look at it with great confidence so it can work from January.”

Stefan Löfven, Sweden’s prime minister

“Very happy that the negotiations have finally led to a result. A deal between EU and UK is an important foundation for our future relationship.”

Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa (L) speaks with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofvenimage copyrightEPA
image captionMr Löfven (R) said he was pleased with the outcome of the negotiations

Andrej Plenković, Croatia’s prime minister

“We welcome the agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK after intensive negotiations a week before the end of the transitional period, and we hope to continue a strong partnership with the UK.”

Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s Europe minister

“After long negotiations, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on the future partnership. Congratulations. This happened at the last minute, since the transition period ends at the end of this year.

“The agreement is mutually beneficial and issues of crucial importance to the EU, such as level playing field, have been taken into account. Nevertheless, this is damage control, since the new relationship lacks the benefits of the single market.

“This was the will of the UK.”

Guy Verhofstadt, chief Brexit representative for the EU parliament

“Finally a historic and unprecedented deal in the interest of all is reached.

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“I hope future UK politicians will build on this partnership so we can regain the close relationship the EU and the UK deserve.

“It will be a first step in the return of the UK into the European family.”

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