President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have announced that a Brexit deal has been struck between the EU and the UK.

Speaking from Brussels, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier laid out some of the stipulations of the new deal, including the most contentious issue of the discussions — the Irish backstop.

The new deal offers a “legally operative solution to avoid a hard border” on the island of Ireland, he said, adding: “It is a solution that works for the EU, for the UK and for people and businesses in Northern Ireland.”

As a result, Northern Ireland will “remain aligned” with a limited set of rules related to the EU’s Single Market, which will help avoid the introduction of a hard border.

These rules apply, in particular, with “legislation on goods, sanitary rules for veterinary controls, rules on agricultural production/marketing, VAT and excise in respect of goods, and state aid rules,” according to a statement released by the EU.

The rest of the UK will therefore be able to apply tariffs on goods incoming from third parties.

It also means that Northern Ireland will be given a “mechanism of ‘consent'” that gives Stormont the ability to decide whether to continue these EU rules four years after the deal is enforced.

Meanwhile, European Commission President and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson both tweeted to say that an agreement had been reached.

In a further statement, Juncker said the agreement marked “a fair compromise” between the two sides and highlighted the protection of “peace and stability” on the island of Ireland.

He added: “I hope that we can now bring this over the line and provide the certainty our citizens and businesses so deserve.”

However, Johnson faces resistance in getting any deal through the UK parliament. His allies in Northern Ireland’s unionist party the DUP said on Thursday that they rejected the proposed accord “as things stand”.

Following the announcement of an agreed deal, the DUP confirmed to Euronews that its statement still stands.

 

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has also confirmed that it will not back Johnson’s deal, saying it proposes “much looser” UK-EU relationship.

In a brief statement, party leader Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Brexit envisaged by Boris Johnson is one which sees a much looser relationship with the EU when it comes to issues like food standards, environmental protection, and workers’ rights.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit in any form, and SNP MPs will not vote for Brexit in any form.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has also said he hopes the new deal is rejected by parliament, with the Brexiteer saying he would rather see a further delay and general election.

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