Congratulations for securing a comprehensive EU UK partnership

Joint declaration by Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and Jack O'Connor, President of the EESC's Brexit Follow-Up Group

Congratulations to the European Union and United Kingdom negotiators for successfully concluding a most complex and difficult negotiation to deliver a Trade Agreement which is vitally important to the people of both the UK and all of Europe.

Now the EESC is ready to build all possible linkages with Civil Society in UK.

It is first of all a great relief that in the end, after a long and complex negotiation, the EU and the UK government managed, in the very last stretch, to secure a deal on the partnership agreement.

After the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union on 31 January 2020, after 47 years of EU Membership, it was absolutely vital to know how the future relations would be governed between the two partners.

The partnership agreement will be the cornerstone on which future relations between the EU and UK will be built.

On behalf of the EESC, we warmly congratulate Michel Barnier, the EU Chief negotiator, and his team who have shown undisputed professionalism, resilience and experience, working relentlessly to keep a united European front.

We also want to extend, of course, our congratulations to the UK delegation who has worked successfully to seal the deal. We are fully aware that this was all but easy.

From 1 January 2021, companies, workers and citizens on both sides of the Channel will now be able to organise themselves. The partnership agreement brings certainty, the very element that is crucial for companies to plan their investments, for workers to decide where to work and for citizens to decide where they want to live.

As EESC, we have followed the Brexit negotiations closely including through an ad-hoc working group that we have established.

Our role will focus on looking to optimise the cooperation with the other European institutions and key stakeholders and build all possible linkages with Civil Society in the United Kingdom. We believe, more than ever, that this has to be the EESC's mission for years to come.

Christa Schweng

President of the EESC

Jack O'Connor

President of the EESC's Brexit Follow-Up Group