BRUSSELS, November 25. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron has backed a draft deal on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, which the leaders of 27 member-states are expected to endorse in Brussels on Sunday.
"I believe the deal, which was reached as a result of the British citizens’ choice, is good. I support it," the French president said as he arrived for the EU special summit on Brexit.
According to Macron, the deal has been achieved thanks to "great work and numerous rounds of talks, which still continue." "It is absolutely clear that the UK will keep playing an important role," he said commenting on the relations between London and Brussels after Brexit.
The United Kingdom’s exit signals the need for a deep reform at the EU and laying the new foundation of the community, he stressed. "This will become a key message of the next European election [to the European Parliament in May 2019]."
When asked if Sunday is a good day for "European divorce," Macron replied: "This is neither a holiday nor mourning. We speak about a sovereign choice of the nation, which we should fulfill."
On Sunday, the leaders of 27 EU member states are due to vote on the 585-page draft Brexit deal and other documents necessary for the UK withdrawal from the union. Another document up for approval is a political declaration specifying future relations between Brussels and London. It actually sets the goals for the next stage of negotiations that would begin after the United Kingdom quits the European Union on the night of March 29. This transitional period is expected to last until January 1, 2021.
On November 15, Brussels and London announced that after more than 18 months of discussions, they finally agreed on a 585-page draft deal on Brexit, stipulating the terms of United Kingdom’s withdrawal.
However, the main issue - the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the United Kingdom) - remained unsolved. Negotiators have simply delayed the problem, making instead a written pledge to find a solution until July 1, 2020.
As long as the format of future relations between the UK and the EU remains undefined, the sides would have a single customs space that includes Northern Ireland, too.
According to the document, during the entire transition period after Brexit, which would last through 2020 and may be extended once, the United Kingdom will in fact retain all of its commitments as the EU member (including making contributions to the EU budget and complying with all regulations of the European market). At the same time, London will be excluded from the European decision-making process during that period.