European Council approves provisional application of trade deal with UK

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The agreement will now be signed by the two parties on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying on Tuesday.

In August 2020, Stanley Johnson said speaking on a podcast in the UK: "Anybody who thinks, "Oh well, we have a free trade agreement with the European Union but we don't have to bother about harmonisation" is in cloud cuckoo land". Branches of European Union banks in London would have been particularly hit as the trade deal agreed by the European Union and Britain last week does not cover financial market access.

It comes four-and-a-half years after the Brexit referendum vote to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union in June 2016, a period marked by serial resignations and parliamentary defeats faced by Johnson's predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron.

The free trade deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth around 668 billion pounds ($905 billion).

Despite polls showing majority support for Scottish independence north of the border in the wake of Brexit, the PM said he believed it was the "overwhelming instinct of the people of this country to come together as one United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working together to express our values around the world".

When the new year starts, most Britons will lose the ability to freely work and travel around the EU's 27 nations.

Many large issues are left out of the current deal, warned Rajneesh Narula, the John H. Dunning Chair of International Business Regulation at the Henley Business School, University of Reading. The U.K. left the EU's political structures on January 31 2020, but the repercussions of that decision have yet to be felt, since the U.K.'s economic relationship with the bloc remained unchanged during an 11-month transition period that ends Thursday.

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The AstraZeneca serums can be stored in a fridge while the Pfizer formulations have to be stored at -70C in specialised equipment. One vaccine has been developed by AstraZeneca and the UK's Oxford University and the other by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The protocol will also see Northern Ireland follow certain European Union rules on state aid and Value-Added Tax on goods.

In a landmark deal sealed just hours before 2300 GMT, the tiny British territory of Gibraltar will become part of Europe's passport-free zone to keep movement fluid on its border with Spain.

The agreement document will now be brought to London were UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will sign it.

The necessary border systems and infrastructure are in place, and officials will be ready to stop non-compliant vehicles and impose fines, a government spokesperson said.

The 2016 referendum opened up abiding wounds between Leavers and Remainers, and ushered in years of political paralysis before Johnson took power last year, vowing to chart a future for Britain built on scientific innovation and new partnerships across the seas.

"This moment is finally upon us and now is the time to seize it", he said.

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