The UK-European post-Brexit trade agreement may enter into force on January 1 for the Member States of the European Union. The heads of government of the 27 EU countries have all given the green light on Tuesday.
As a result, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and EU President Charles Michel, together with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, can sign the agreement package agreed just before Christmas on Wednesday.
EU ambassadors already met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the agreement. At the time, they already agreed that the deals might come into effect on a provisional basis from January 1. But the heads of government of the member states had not yet officially approved the agreement. The latter has now been arranged by written procedure.
The European Parliament (EP) still has to approve the agreement. Since that will not happen until next year, a provisional arrangement was needed to ensure no trade tariffs would apply. The European Commission has proposed a temporary settlement until February 28 to give the EP time to review the trade deal thoroughly.
The British too have yet to ratify the agreement. The British parliament will meet again on Wednesday. Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords have been recalled from the Christmas holidays for a special session. The UK parliament is widely expected to vote in favour of the deal.