FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up after signing the Brexit trade deal with the EU at number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain December 30, 2020. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS//File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

At 11 p.m. London time, Britain will leave the European Union. Britons and EU citizens will lose the automatic right to work and live in the other’s territory, instead needing to obtain work visas and follow immigration rules. Rules governing the services sector, which includes industries such as banking, internet technology, healthcare and entertainment, are still up for debate.

British lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU on Wednesday in a 521-73 vote. The 1,000-page document outlined topics ranging from fishing rights to cooperation between law-enforcement agencies. 

The agreement received provisional approval from the EU, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel formally signing off on the deal on Wednesday. The European Parliament will examine the deal at a later date before it can be formally ratified.

Though the Labour Party called the deal thin and flawed, the party backed the legislation due to the lack of another option. Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, said it was better than leaving the bloc with no deal. Rachel Reeves, a member of the Labour Party, wrote in The Independent that ending the year without a trade deal would harm sectors such as manufacturing and farming. The deal acts as a foundation the party can build upon.

The Scottish and Northern Irish parliaments rejected the post-Brexit deal. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first prime minister, said the deal betrayed Scotland’s fishing industry and was a “democratic, economic and social calamity.” Sturgeon also emphasized the desire for Scotland to act as an independent European country.

After Britain leaves the EU, it will no longer participate in Erasmus, a program that helps students attend university in other countries. Johnson said it will be replaced with a new program named after the mathematician Alan Turing. A report from the House of Lords EU committee warned that leaving Erasmus would “disproportionately affect people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those with medical needs or disabilities.” The Irish government said it will fund Erasmus+ grants for Northern Irish students so they can continue to participate in the program.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Foreign policy after Brexit – Britain has lost the EU. Can it find a role? – The Economist – 12/31/2020
Looking across the seas with an estranged continent at its back, a lonesome Britain thus faces a bracing question: what role should it now play in the world? It is a question the country has grappled with off and on for centuries, and in recent decades British thinking has often been clouded by nostalgia for lost empire and great-power status.

The left must stop mourning Brexit – and start seeing its huge potential – The Guardian – 12/31/2020
Many on the remainer left accept the EU has its faults, but they fear that Brexit will be the start of something worse: slash and burn deregulation that will make Britain a nastier place to live. This, though, assumes that Britain will have rightwing governments in perpetuity.

Life after Brexit – National Review – 12/30/2020
As far as any political change can be called irreversible in a democratic society, it looks irreversible or, to be more cautious, reversible only in the very long run. That’s the case because the balance of political opinion in and out of Parliament is in favor of Boris’s TCA and even more in favor of not re-opening the Brexit debate.

Britain Prepares for Increased Isolation in Wake of Brexit Deal – Truthout – 12/30/2020
There will be no continued U.K. participation in Erasmus, the continent-wide education-exchange program under which students can study in any European country’s universities. Hundreds of thousands of students each year take up these opportunities; now, these doors are being slammed shut. Perhaps most jarringly, there will be no automatic right for British citizens to work on the continent, and for EU residents to work in the U.K.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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