'A collective sigh of relief': The world reacts to Brexit trade deal

A deal between the EU and the UK was announced earlier today.
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A Brexit trade deal was finally struck between the European Union and the United Kingdom today, just seven days before the country was due to exit one of the world's biggest trading blocs.

After years of Brexit news and negotiations, here is how the world is reacting to what many will feel is a Christmas miracle:


Taoiseach Micheál Martin welcomed the agreement but added: "There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit’ for Ireland."

He added the Government has “worked hard to minimise the negative consequences", saying he believed the deal to be "the least bad version of Brexit possible, given current circumstances".

“I know that, more than others, our fishing communities will be disappointed with the outcome," Mr Martin said.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, told Newstalk Radio: "Today we finally get certainty that there is a trade deal that I think protects Ireland in the circumstances as well as we could possibly have hoped."

United Kingdom

UK prime minister Boris Johnson said: "We have today resolved a question which has bedevilled our politics for decades and it is up to us, all together, as a newly and truly independen nation to realise the immensity of this moment and to make the most of it."

Directly to the EU, he said: "We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter and indeed, never let it be forgotten, your number one market."

Former British prime minister Theresa May said: "Very welcome news that the UK & EU have reached agreement on the terms of a deal - one that provides confidence to business and helps keep trade flowing. Looking forward to seeing the detail in the coming days."

European leaders

German chancellor Angela Merkel said she expects Germany will be able to decide quickly whether to back the deal.

"The federal government will now closely examine the text of the agreement. But we are not starting at zero. The Commission has kept the member states in the loop during the entire negotiation process," she said.

French president Emmanuel Macron said: "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."

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez: "I welcome the principle of agreement between the EU and the UK ... Spain and the UK continue their dialogue to reach an agreement on Gibraltar."

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Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo said: "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.".

The Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said the Netherlands would "carefully study the draft texts", especially agreements on a level playing field between the EU and the UK, the access of Dutch fishers to British waters and the governance of the agreement.

"There is very little time to do this."

Portugal's prime minister Antonio Costa added: "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."

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