Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described news of an exit deal between the EU and Britain as ‘excellent’ and says that he will now study it in detail.
‘Excellent news that an agreement on a new EU-UK partnership has been reached after tough negotiations,’ Rutte said on Twitter. ‘This is of great importance to us all. We will now study it carefully. My compliments to @MichelBarnier and @vonderleyen for their tireless efforts.’
European diplomats will be briefed by chief EU negotiator Barnier on the terms of the deal, reached on Thursday, on Friday morning, Dutch media reported. The total agreement runs to some 2,000 pages.
Foreign minister Stef Blok described the process of reaching the deal as ‘difficult and unique negotiations under high pressure’. He said he plans to send a summary to parliament as soon as possible so the agreement can be debated by MPs.
Dutch employers said they were pleased that a deal had been reached in time but that ‘we should not get ahead of ourselves’.
In particular, the VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland have welcomed the parts of the agreement that guarantee a level playing field between British companies and companies in the EU.
‘But nevertheless, the consequences of Brexit will be immediately felt by industry from January. We will have to study the exact content and scope of the deal in the coming days to map out the effects for Dutch companies,’ the organisations said.
One feature of particular interest to the Dutch is that of the impact of the deal on fishing. Under the terms of the deal, new quotas reducing the EU’s share of the catch in British waters by 25% are due to be phased in over five years, and will be negotiated annually after that.
Currently 75 commercial vessels sail under the UK flag, with ownership registered in the Netherlands, and as yet it is unclear what the effect will be on them.
Another side effect of the deal is that British students will no longer be able to attend Dutch and other European universities under the Erasmus scheme. Several thousand British students study in Europe every year, paying the same fees as Dutch students.
Dutch economist Mathijs Bouman has described the deal as a hard Brexit. ‘The UK is leaving the internal market and that will cost both sides a lot of money,’ he said.
Waarom dit een harde brexit is: https://t.co/pncoxz0oke
— Mathijs Bouman (@mathijsbouman) December 24, 2020
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