All of the European Union nations have signaled their approval of the trade agreement with the United Kingdom, allowing the pact to take effect on Friday and prevent the economic turmoil many feared when Britain exits the EU.
“Green light for #BrexitDeal: EU Ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as of January 1, 2021,” Sebastian Fischer, a spokesman for the EU Parliament, tweeted Monday. The UK leaves the EU officially on Thursday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in a tweet that he spoke Monday with European Council President Charles Michel and “welcomed the importance of the UK/EU Agreement as a new starting point for our relationship, between sovereign equals.”
The EU ambassadors are expected to put their approvals in writing in a procedural document Tuesday and Johnson suggested that climate change will be one of the first topics that the UK will work with the EU on after Brexit.
“The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on their future relationship,” said David McAllistair, chairman of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse.
European farmers, ranchers and food and feed producers were some of the most concerned about the exit of the UK without a trade deal in place. But even with a deal in place, European ag and food groups are scouring the text for details and asking for billions of dollars in trade assistance.
“We now urge the authorities to maintain their positive momentum over the coming week and to develop an effective transition phase from January 1, 2021, towards the eventual full implementation of new trade rules,” the farm and co-op group COPA-COGECA, FoodDrink Europe and CELCAA, representing ag commodity traders, wrote in an open letter this week.
The groups are demanding that the EU and UK continue to “fast track agri-food products across borders” in so-called “green lanes” created to help food trade during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Commission on Friday proposed a roughly $6.1 billion “EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve” to “help counter the adverse economic and social consequences” as the UK leaves the trading bloc and European farm groups are demanding that political leaders begin making those funds available quickly.