EU leaders

EU leaders endorse Brexit deal

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: A new Brexit deal announced on Thursday has been endorsed by the EU leaders, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said.

In a joint press conference in Brussels with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier, Tusk said the EU has endorsed the deal which looks like “very close to the final stretch”. Tusk said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal avoids “chaos” between the EU and U.K., but admitted his “sadness” because of Brexit and expressed hope that the “U.K. will return one day”.

Juncker said the agreement would protect the rights of citizens and the EU has always prioritizes the people.

The agreement would not be possible without the contribution from the Irish premier, he added.

Varadkar for his part also expressed his sadness about Brexit, saying it is like an “old friend going on a journey”. He said there will always be a place for the U.K. if it returns to the union.

He said he “has seen the unity of the EU” during the past two years, and “what it can achieve if it stands together”.”This is a lesson for the future,” he added.

Varadkar said Ireland and the EU’s objectives have been met as citizens’ rights have been protected, a financial settlement will be in place and there will be no hard border in Ireland.

Also speaking at the conference, Barnier said he very much “regrets” Brexit; however, it was a sovereign choice of the U.K. and he respects it.

In a separate press conference, Johnson described the agreement as “a great deal” not only for the U.K. but also for the EU. (AA)

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