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A post-Brexit trade deal has been agreed between the EU and the UK that inspires relief, sadness and optimism for the future.

The European heads of state and government have reacted to the announcement. Here’s what some of them said.

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president

At a press conference in Brussels, the President of the European Commission said the deal was “fair and balanced”.

She said the UK and the EU would “continue to work together on all areas of mutual interest” such as climate change, energy, security and transport.

  • Live: reaction to the deal
  • Boris Johnson welcomes free trade agreements with the EU

Now is “time to turn the page and look to the future,” she said, adding that the UK “remains a trustworthy partner”.

“Farewell is so sweet,” said Ms. von der Leyen.

“I say to all Europeans: it is time to leave Brexit behind. Our future lies in Europe.”

Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator

“The clock is no longer ticking,” said Barnier, alluding to the end of the British Brexit transition period on December 31st.

“Today is a day of relief, but marked by a little sadness when we compare what came before with what lies ahead.”

Media signature“Today is a day of relief,” said EU negotiator Michel Barnier

Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor

Ms. Merkel said the deal created “the basis for a new chapter in our relationship” with the UK, which “will continue to be an important partner for Germany”.

“The German government will now carefully examine the wording of the agreement. However, we are not starting from scratch. The Commission has kept the member states informed throughout the negotiation process,” she said.

“This way we can quickly judge whether Germany can support today’s negotiation results,” she added.

Micheál Martin, Irish Prime Minister

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Mr Martin said he believed the deal was “a good compromise and a balanced outcome”.

Image rightsPA MediaImage descriptionMr Martin said the deal was a “good compromise”.

He said there was “no” good Brexit “for Ireland”.

“But we worked hard to minimize the negative impact,” he added. “I believe the agreement reached today is the least bad version of Brexit possible under the current circumstances.”

Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Spain

In a tweet, Mr Sánchez welcomed the agreement but said it would be examined by EU member states in the coming days.

“Spain and the UK are continuing their dialogue to reach an agreement on Gibraltar,” added Sánchez, referring to the UK overseas territory on Spain’s south coast.

António Costa, Portugal’s Prime Minister

“We very much welcome the agreement reached with the UK on relations with the EU from January 1st,” said Costa in a statement.

“Britain will remain an important partner alongside our neighbor and ally.”

Stef Blok, Dutch Foreign Minister

Mr Blok said the Netherlands would “study the draft texts carefully”, particularly the sticking points holding the deal back – fisheries, rules for a level playing field and governance.

He said there was “very little time” before the end of the Brexit transition period.

“Before a decision is taken in Brussels, the government will send an initial assessment of the agreement to Parliament so that it has the opportunity to discuss the agreement.”

Guy Verhofstadt, chief representative of Brexit in the EU Parliament

Mr Verhofstadt said he hoped the deal “will be a first step in bringing Britain back into the European family”.

“A historic and unprecedented deal in the interests of all has finally been reached,” he tweeted. “Although it is less ambitious than we wanted, it fully preserves the internal market through binding arbitration.”

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BREAKING: Finally, a historic and unprecedented deal in the interests of all is reached. Although it is less ambitious than we wanted, it fully preserves the internal market through binding arbitration.
Thanks to @MichelBarnier, our Union has emerged from these negotiations more united and stronger

– Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) December 24, 2020
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.View the original tweet on Twitter

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