Explainer: What is in the Brexit deal?

Explainer: What Is In The Brexit Deal?
EU and UK flags, © PA Wire/PA Images
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Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

The EU and UK have reached a post-Brexit trade deal after four years of preparations and discussions.

Now that the discus has settled after yesterday's announcement, here is what the deal actually means.


What does it mean for the economy?

The biggest thing to come out of the deal is that Britain will not have to end the Brexit transition period at the end of the month on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms which would have meant tariffs for goods entering and leaving the country.

The EU will continue to trade with the UK and vice versa, without such levies being imposed.



However, leading economists say the UK’s Gross Domestic Product, a measure of its economic wealth based on the value of goods and services produced in the country, will be lower outside the EU than if it had stayed a member.

For EU countries, it is not yet known how the Brexit deal will impact their performance in the UK market against British goods, but zero tariffs will go a long way for EU exports.


How are fisheries impacted?

Fishing rights became a totemic tussle between the two sides as the UK saw them as a symbol of its sovereignty.

The transition period has been cut to five-and-a-half years from the 14 years first demanded by the EU, and Brussels will reduce its share of the quota by 25 per cent.

Britain made concessions as the deadline for a deal loomed, but UK prime minister Johnson insisted the result was that the UK would again be an “independent coastal state with full control of our waters”.

Speaking after the announcement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Irish fishing communities would be disappointed with the agreement, but added there was "no such thing as a 'good Brexit' for Ireland", saying they have "worked hard to minimise the negative consequences".


Fishing rights were seen by the UK as a symbol of sovereignty (Brian Lawless/PA)

How does it impact on security?

Britain and the EU will continue to co-operate on security and policing issues under the deal agreed with Brussels, although the UK will not enjoy the same level of 'facilities' as before.

An EU briefing note said the UK would no longer have “direct, real-time access” to sensitive databases covering freedom, security and justice.


But it said the agreement did include “ambitious” arrangements for the “timely, effective, efficient and reciprocal exchanges” of air passenger details and criminal record information, as well as DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data.

What about the level playing field on competition rules?

This was one of the last major sticking points in negotiations, but London and Brussels have agreed a floor for standards for areas like the environment and labour rights.

There will be a review in four years to ensure the level playing field is working out, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen (PA)

What about how laws are made?

Following the deal, Mr Johnson said UK laws will now be made only by the British parliament, and be scrutinised by UK judges, and that the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice “will come to an end”.

How does it impact health?

EU citizens will still be able to access healthcare services in the UK, while British citizens will likewise continue to have access to care in EU member states.

Will education be affected?

A new worldwide 'Turing programme' will replace the Erasmus scheme for the UK.

The EU Erasmus programme has been running for over 30 years, allowing third-level students of EU member states the opportunity to study in other member states to encourage "innovation, cooperation and reform" among countries.

The UK's decision to opt out of the Erasmus programme has been widely criticised, with many arguing it provides young people with a life-changing opportunity to experience different ways of life, but Mr Johnson said the decision was made in favour of developing their own global exchange programme.

Mr Johnson said the Turing programme would give students greater choice, allowing them to choose to study in countries in Europea and beyond.

Was travel an issue?

The deal provides for “continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity”, the European Commission said.

Passenger rights and transport safety for both EU and UK citizens are not undermined by the agreement.

The Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland and the UK, which predates both country's membership in the EU and is "not dependent on it" according to the Government, will remain.

Throughout Brexit negotiations, both the Irish and UK governments were resolute the CTA would be maintained, signing a Memorandum of Understanding last year reaffirming their commitment to the travel arrangement "in all circumstances".

What does it mean for Northern Ireland?

The deal eases the customs situation for goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland remains in the EU’s single market for goods under the previous Withdrawal Agreement that was meant to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the region also adheres to EU customs regulations at its ports.

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