Previously there was approval in both houses of the British Parliament for the agreement with the EU.
The way is clear for the post-Brexit trade pact between Great Britain and the European Union. Queen Elizabeth II, as the British head of state, put the ratification law into effect on Thursday night, as Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, said. Both houses of Parliament in London had previously approved the document.
The agreement will avoid a hard economic break if Great Britain also leaves the EU internal market and the customs union on Friday night. The EU itself had already left the country at the end of January 2020.
1,250-page trade and partnership agreement
“The fate of this great country is now firmly in our hands,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “On December 31st at 11pm (local time) a new beginning in the history of our country begins and a new relationship with the EU as its closest ally. This moment has finally come and now is the time to seize it,” said Johnson.
The almost 1,250-page trade and partnership agreement regulates economic relations after the Brexit transition phase from January 1, 2021. This avoids tariffs and keeps friction losses in retail as low as possible. At the same time, many other issues are regulated, including fishing and cooperation on energy, transport, justice and police.
Still, there are big changes. In future, controls will be necessary at the borders because standards have to be checked, including for agricultural products. For citizens, the possibility of simply moving is over. Visa-free travel will also be limited in time in future.
The EU leaders signed the trade pact early on Wednesday morning. After EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel had signed the document, it was flown to London on a British Air Force aircraft. Prime Minister Johnson signed the agreement there.
Great Britain had already left the European Union at the end of January 2020. The Brexit transition phase agreed at the time is now ending.