Brexit draft deal ‘secures EU’s interests as a whole’ – Tusk

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has said that the draft withdrawal agreement with the UK has “secured the vital interests and principles of the 27 member states, and of the European Union as a whole”.

His comments come after the agreement was published on Tuesday, which EU figures generally welcomed, but left Brexiteers unimpressed.

Tusk thanked Michel Barnier, lead negotiator for the EU, and his team for doing “this exceptionally hard work”.

Tusk added that if “nothing extraordinary happens”, then an emergency European Council meeting will take place on November 25 to give the deal one last seal of approval.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach also welcomed the draft agreement between Britain and the EU, calling it a ‘”very solid step on the journey”.

Particularly, Leo Varadkar said that the ‘backstop’ – which would avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland until a more permanent solution is achieved – is “now fully spelt out in the withdrawal agreement”.

Avoiding a hard border has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges. What has become known as ‘the backstop’ is now fully spelt out in the withdrawal agreement. The backstop would apply “unless and until” a better solution is agreed.

Varadkar added that the agreement presents a “satisfactory outcome” for his priorities, which includes protecting the common travel area, trade, jobs and the economy.

The Tanaiste, Simon Coveney, took a similar view, saying the agreement is “credible” and that it “protects Ireland, our shared island, and (our) future relationship with the UK”.

He did, however, point out that it’s not over yet, adding: “Let’s hope [the] deal now survives Westminster.”