Czech politicians across the spectrum welcome EU–UK post-Brexit trade deal

Full details of the Christmas Eve deal are not yet clear, but politicians say it will benefit Czech businesses


Written by ČTK
Published on 25.12.2020 17:42 (updated on 25.12.2020)

The conclusion of the agreement between the EU and Britain on the arrangement of their relations after the end of the Brexit transition period is excellent news for all entrepreneurs and people, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told journalists today.

There is a big chance that the effect of no-deal Brexit with all the duties and tariffs according to the WTO will not occur as of January, Babiš said.

“However, one has to stress that the agreement, negotiated by (EU negotiator) Michel Barnier must be now rapidly studied and endorsed by all member countries,” he added.

“I firmly believe that this will succeed and the agreement will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. We will to our utmost for this,” Babiš said.

The agreement between the EU and Britain on the form of their future relations after the end of the transition period means the end of uncertainty, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (ČSSD) said on Twitter.

“The ‘Christmas Eve deal’ between the EU and Britain means an end to uncertainty. Now we have to read 2,000 pages of texts and analyses, but still I believe that this is good news,” Petříček said.

It is good news, but now one has to read through the 2,000 pages of the text, Petříček said. As of Jan. 1, 2021, major changes will occur, but there are clear rules for them, he added. Petříček also said it was a pity that the Erasmus exchange program for university studies in Britain would end.

The deal was also welcomed by Věra Jourová, vice president of the European commission for values and transparency. Jourová was appointed to the EC by the Czech Republic.

Thanks to the agreement, both citizens and companies will have the necessary certainty and stability, Jourová said.

Member of European Parliament Tomáš Zdechovský (KDU-ČSL), too, said the deal was important both for business and citizens. It guarantees most rights and chances to live, work and study to the citizens in Britain like before Brexit, he added.

Pirate MEP Mikulas Peksa (Pirates) said it was one of the largest legal texts in European history, regulating all possible spheres including fishing.

The conclusion of the agreement is good news for the Czech Republic, too, the leader of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), Petr Fiala, said.

“We have very strong economic relations with Britain, a vital country for our export. A number of our citizens are in Britain, the deal is important for us,” Fiala said.

Member of European Parliament Jan Zahradil (ODS), said if there were no deal, this would be another blow for both economies hit by the coronavirus crisis.

"We should not think of who made more concessions, now let us start the ratification process rapidly," Zahradil said.

A no-deal Brexit would not be beneficial to either of the parties, the Pirate deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies foreign affairs committee, Jan Lipavský, said.

“This is the end of uncertainty for Czech companies. Britain is our fifth-most important export market. We have a positive trade balance with it,” he added.

A deputy chairman of Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and the head of the Chamber of Deputies European committee, Ondřej Benešík, said the agreement would bring certainty and stability not only to trade, but also to tens of thousands of Czechs who live and work in Britain.

“The KDU-ČSL has always preferred a fair definition of bilateral relations after the departure of the UK from the EU that would minimize the Brexit damage on both sides,” Benešík said.

TOP 09 leader Markéta Pekarová Adamová said it was good news that the agreement eventually turned out well.

“Both for the Czech Republic and the whole of EU, and especially for Britain,” she said.

However, it would have been best if there were no departure of Britain from the EU.

“It is a tremendous relief and good news not only for the EU and Britain, but also for the Czech Republic, for which Britain is a major trade partner,” the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies foreign committee, Ondřej Veselý (ČSSD), said.

The leader of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), Tomio Okamura, said after the Brexit, Britain had a more advantageous position toward the EU. The right-wing SPD party opposes the EU.

EU countries have run into problems, since, for example, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands would sustain vital losses without a deal with Britain, he added.

“In Germany alone, half a million jobs depend on Britain. With the agreement with Britain, the EU felt a relief and it has fully turned out that the Brexit was beneficial to Britain and that Britain has gained strength,” Okamura said.

Communist (KSČM) leader Vojtech Filip said: “A deal is always better than disputes.”

KSČM MEP Kateřina Konečná said Brexit would be painful, but with the deal somewhat less. “It is vital for Britain to remain a partner,” she added.

President Miloš Zeman will not comment on the deal, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said.

The pact, which still has to be approved by the European and British parliaments, was announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the chairwoman of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on Thursday, Dec. 24