BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The 27 EU national leaders gathered on Sunday to endorse both a detailed treaty setting out the terms on which Britain will leave the European Union and a declaration outlining how Britain can keep close to its biggest market by following many EU rules after a two to four year transition.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier attend a news conference after the extraordinary EU leaders summit to finalise and formalise the Brexit agreement in Brussels, Belgium November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
The following are their comments.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT ANTONIO TAJANI
“The European Parliament will stress its role (referring to any extension of the transition period)… Changes cannot be made without the due involvement of the European Parliament.”
Said the parliament vote on the withdrawal treaty will be in either February or March.
“Today is not a good day”
Asked what would happen if UK parliament rejects deal: “It’s impossible to re-open the text.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON
“We must draw all the consequences that show that the European Union has a fragile side, it can be improved …. It shows that our Europe needs to be rebuilt and that is the option I support and will continue to work toward.”
“On the issue of fishing, of reciprocal access, our fishermen will be well protected, that is a priority in our future relationship, reinstated in the text and very present in today’s conclusions.”
“It’s not a day when we should celebrate, nor a day of mourning. It is the choice of a sovereign people.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER
“It is a sad day. Seeing a country like Great Britain, but I would say this of any others, leaving the European Union is not a moment of jubilation or celebration. It is a sad moment, a tragedy.”
“I believe that the British government will succeed in securing the backing of the British parliament.”
“I would vote in favor of this deal because this is the best deal possible for Britain…. This is the deal. It is the best deal possible and the European Union will not change its fundamental position when it comes to this issue.”
EU CHIEF BREXIT NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER
“All along this extraordinary negotiation, very difficult we have worked to reach a deal. That means to organize in an orderly fashion the withdrawal decided by the UK.
We have negotiated with the UK, never against the UK. Now it is time for everybody to take their responsibility, everybody.
This deal is a necessary step to build trust between the UK and the EU, we need build in the next phase of this unprecedented and ambitious partnership. We will remain allies, partners and friends.”
DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE
“I think the loss of the United Kingdom is really bad news, I have always thought that. I think we now have an agreement that limits the damage for the UK and for the EU… What we have found is an acceptable package, but it remains bad news but a balanced package for both sides.”
“This is a balanced outcome with no political winners or victories, but I think it is acceptable.
“I don’t expect a no vote. I expect a yes vote and this is the deal on the table. I don’t think there’s anything more.”
“I don’t want to contemplate a no vote. I think there will be a yes vote, but more in general, I think this is the maximum we can all do, both Theresa May and her government as well as the European Union. No victors here today, nobody winning, we’re all losing, but given the context, that is acceptable.”
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Alastair Macdonald, Jan Strupczewski, Robin Emmot