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Here's how EU leaders and UK politicians reacted to the Brexit deal announcement

EU leaders including Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel attend a summit in Brussels on October 17, 2019.
EU leaders including Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel attend a summit in Brussels on October 17, 2019. Copyright REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
Copyright REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
By Alice Tidey with Reuters
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European leaders on Thursday welcomed the announcement that a Brexit deal has been reached but reactions from across the Channel suggest the fight to get it passed by parliamentarians will be tough.


European leaders on Thursday welcomed the announcement that a Brexit deal has been reached but reactions from across the Channel suggest the fight to get it passed by parliamentarians will be tough.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the two sides had found an agreement on Thursday morning. Under the deal, Northern Ireland is to "remain aligned" on a limited set of rules related to the bloc's single market.

The main issue of contention between the EU and the UK had been the backstop arrangement and the need to ensure that no physical border is erected in Ireland over fears it would endanger the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which put an end to more than three decades of sectarian violence.

It now needs to be approved by the UK and European parliaments.

Here's how Europe reacted to the announcement.

READ MORE: What's in Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with the European Union?

European Union


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed the deal for its "unique solution" that respects "unique history and geography."


For Chancellor Angela Merkel, "the fact that the Irish prime minister is rather happy here, is a very important sign."

"Certainly the news of the day is the successful closing of an agreement between the British government and the European Commission. We are looking at this and will form our opinion, but we already know parts of this deal and to the extent that we know it, it is good news," she told reporters in Brussels.


President Emmanuel Macron, who had been one of the —if not THE — most hawkish leaders when it comes to Brexit hailed the "good news" as he arrived in Brussels ahead of a summit of EU leaders.

"The deal now needs to be technically explained, politically presented," he said, adding: "As far as I'm concerned, I am satisfied we managed to find it and reasonably confident it can be ratified by the British and European parliament."


Prime Minister Charles Michel, the incoming European Council President, said, however, that he remains "cautious"

"That's in my character, my temperament because I know from experience that the devil is in the detail," he told reporters.


Prime Minister Mark Rutte also emphasised that "we have to study the details" but declared that the agreement is "in itself very encouraging".


Antti Rinne, the country's Prime Minister highlighted that "the ball again is in the British Parliament('s court)...I hope it goes through this time".


"I hope we are now at the end of the process. But there are many doubts — for instance, inside the British parliament," he added.

UK lawmakers rejected the Withdrawal Agreement struck between Theresa May — Johnson's predecessor — and the EU three times.

READ MORE: Watch live: Brexit deal agreed but Boris now faces battle back home


"I think everybody should be convinced that the deal is the best," Prime Minister Xavier Bettel told reporters.


"It's in the interest of all to agree on the deal which is on the table," he went on, stating that "we have other topics, too (to deal with)".

David Sassoli

The European parliament's president told reporters: "We're happy, we all worked for an orderly exit of the United Kingdom."

"The European Parliament is naturally ready to do its job and its duty," he added.

Guy Verhofstadt

The Brexit coordinator for the European Parliament described the agreement as "balanced" and said that European lawmakers will "scrutinise the deal" once it has been ratified by British MPs.


United Kingdom

Although most Conservative MPs welcomed the agreement, Britain's opposition parties, and crucially, Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), have been mostly negative about it.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the agreement on Saturday during an extraordinary session in Parliament.


The unionist Northern Irish party gained prominence in Westminster after reaching a supply and demand agreement with Theresa May's Conservative government after it lost its parliamentary majority in snap elections.

And although the Conservatives have now lost their working majority following defections and Johnson's decision to remove the whip from 21 of his MPs after they rebelled, the DUP remains crucial because they are closely watched by the Brexiteer faction of the Conservative party.


The party stated that it "will be unable to support these proposals in Parliament" after the deal was announced.

"These proposals are not, in our view, beneficial to the economic well-being of Northern Ireland and they undermine the integrity of the Union.

"Saturday's vote in Parliament on the proposals will be only the start of a long process to get any Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the House of Commons," it warned.


Leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement that the agreement is"an even worse deal than Theresa May's".


"This sell-out deal won't bring the country together and should be rejected. The best way to get Brexit sorted is to give the people the fial say in a public vote," he added.

Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson, the leader of the anti-Brexit party, said the deal "would be bad for the economy, bad for our public services, and bad for our environment."

She added: "When this deal comes to Parliament we will use every possible opportunity to give the public a People's Vote on the Brexit deal that includes the option to remain in the European Union."


Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's First Minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) reiterated that her country "did not vote Brexit in any form" and warned that "SNP MPs will not vote for Brexit in any form".


She criticised the Brexit deal as envisaging "a much looser relationship with the EU when it comes to issues like food standards, environmental protections and worker's rights" and affirmed that "the best future for Scotland is one as an equal, independent European nation".

**READ MORE: ****Northern Ireland's DUP rejects plan 'as things stand' as Johnson and Juncker hail Brexit deal**

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