European Union ministers have today announced their support for the Brexit deal, says chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Speaking after the General Affairs Council meeting, Barnier claimed that Ministers “supported the over all package”, in particular, the “withdrawal agreement”.
“I have just debriefed the Ministers of the EU27 on the agreement that we reached last week at negotiators’ level on the draft Withdrawal Agreement, as well as on the outline of the political declaration on the future relationship.
“We are in fact at a decisive moment in this process. No one should lose sight of the progress that has been achieved in Brussels and in London.
“I am pleased that Ministers today supported the overall package. In particular, Member States support the draft Withdrawal Agreement. On the EU side, we still need to determine the internal procedure of the Union for agreeing to extend the transition. But globally speaking, this deal is fair and balanced.
“It takes into account the UK positions. In particular, we have found a compromise to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Both sides, both parties want to avoid using the backstop.
“Finally, this deal allows for the orderly withdrawal which is [in] our common interest. An orderly withdrawal is the condition to lay the ground for an ambitious partnership.”
Barnier has also informed EU ministers about the future relationship between the EU and the UK, and explains that “discussions on that declaration are on-going”. Barnier also claims that “both the EU and the UK will have full control of their own legislation and rule-making”, which he says is essential.
A government spokesman responded:
“We have taken a decisive step forward. We have agreed in principle the terms of the UK’s smooth and orderly exit from the EU, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement.
“We have also agreed the broad terms of our future relationship as set out in the outline Political Declaration.
“This puts us close to a Brexit deal. A deal that takes back control of our borders, our laws and our money.”