British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) shakes hands with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during a press conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Oct. 17, 2019. The European Union and Britain have reached a new Brexit deal, Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday on his twitter account. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
The European Union (EU) and Britain have reached a new Brexit deal, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said Thursday on his twitter account.
"Where there is a will, there is a #deal we have one! It's a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions," said Juncker hours before Thursday's EU summit.
"We now have a newly agreed Protocol that protects peace and stability on the island of Ireland and fully protects our Single Market. I hope that we can now bring this over the line and provide the certainty our citizens and businesses so deserve," he noted in a press release published by the Commission on its website.
Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, hailed the deal as "all-win".
"We had difficult discussions over the past days. We have managed to find solutions that fully respect the integrity of the Single Market. We created a new and legally operative solution to avoid a hard border, and protect peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is a solution that works for the EU, for the UK and for people and businesses in Northern Ireland," said Barnier in the press release.
In another development, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling partner and the main party in Northern Ireland, said it could not support the deal, according to European media. This cast a shadow over the fate of the deal in British parliament where Johnson's conservative party doesn't enjoy a clear majority.
Following a referendum in which 52 percent of voters supported withdrawal in June 2016, the British government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and started a two-year Brexit process which was originally scheduled to conclude with London withdrawing from the EU on March 29, 2019.
As the British parliament refused to ratify documents negotiated between former British Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU, that deadline has been extended twice.
Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that Britain will leave the EU, with or without a deal on Oct. 31.