Ursula von der Leyen

Post Brexit Address on Historic EU-UK Free Trade Deal

delivered 24 December 2020, Brussels, Belgium


[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED FOR ENGLISH DELIVERY: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

[begin English delivery]

Yes, thank you. Good afternoon.

So we have finally found an agreement. 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.

[begin English translation of French language delivery]

The negotiations were very tough. But with so much at stake, for so many, this was a deal worth fighting for. We need to avoid major disruptions for workers, companies, and travelers after 1 January 2020.
It will protect European interests.

It is also, I believe, in the UK's interests. It will lay a solid foundation for a new beginning with a long-term friend. And it means that we can finally put Brexit behind us, and Europe will be able to move on.

[begin English translation of German language delivery]

Throughout this period, the European Union has demonstrated great unity, drawing on the strength of 450 million people and the largest single market in the world. The Agreement we have reached clearly shows how much this matters -- chapter by chapter, line by line.

[begin English delivery]

Let me give you three examples.

First: Competition in our Single Market will be fair and remain so. The EU´s rules and standards will be respected. We have effective tools to react if fair competition is distorted and impacts our trade.

Secondly: We will continue cooperating with the UK in all areas of mutual interest -- for example, in the field[s] of climate change, energy, security, and transport. Together, we still achieve more than we do apart.

And thirdly: We have secured five and a half years of full predictability for our fishing communities and strong tools to incentivize [it] to remain so. Of course, this whole debate has always been about sovereignty.

But we should cut through the soundbytes1 and ask ourselves what sovereignty actually means in the 21st century. For me, it is about being able to seamlessly do work, travel, study, and do business in 27 countries. It is about pooling our strength and speaking together in a world full of great powers. And in a time of crisis, it is about pulling each other up -- instead of trying to get back to your feet alone.

And the European Union shows how this works in practice. And no deal in the world can change reality or gravity in today's economy and today's world. We are one of the giants.

UK PM Boris Johnson's Remarks on the UK-EU Free Trade Deal

[begin English translation of German language delivery]

The EU is well prepared for Brexit. Obviously, we know this deal will not stop disruption altogether. We have been working closely with authorities and businesses to make sure they are ready. We have set aside 5 billion euros in our new budget to support all of the people, regions and sectors affected by Brexit.

[begin English delivery]

So now is the time to turn the page and look to the future. The United Kingdom is a third country. But it remains a trusted partner. We are long standing allies. We share the same value[s] and interests whether it be the COP26 summit in Glasgow or the upcoming UK G7 and Italian G20 presidencies, the European Union and the United Kingdom will stand shoulder to shoulder to deliver on our common global goals.

[begin English translation from French language delivery]

This moment marks the end of a long journey. I would like to thank our Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and his team, and Stéphanie Riso for their tireless efforts, their endurance, their professionalism.

[begin English delivery]

I also want to thank David Frost and Tim Barrow for having been tough but fair negotiating partners. And I am grateful to all our Member States and the European Parliament for their trust and their support. I will now convene the College.

And ladies and gentlemen,

At the end of successful negotiations journey, I normally feel joy. But today I only feel quiet satisfaction and, frankly speaking, relief. I know this is a difficult day for some. And to our friends in the United Kingdom, I want to say: Parting is such sweet sorrow.

But to use a line from T.S. Eliot: "What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning."2 So to all Europeans I say: It is time to leave Brexit behind. Our future is made in Europe.

Thank you so much.

1 The spelling of this term is disputed

2 From Little Gidding

Original Text Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/SPEECH_20_2534

Page Created: 1/17/21

U.S. Copyright Statuss: Text = CC by 4.0 and used in compliance with these terms.

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