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03:46

Belgium: European Council endorses new Brexit agreement - Tusk

Belgium, Brussels
October 17, 2019 at 18:13 GMT +00:00 · Published

The European Council has endorsed the new Brexit deal according to its president, Donald Tusk, who spoke at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, just a few hours after the deal was announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Tusk said that the new deal was agreed upon after changes were made to the previous agreement to ensure that border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland could be avoided.

"The key change, in comparison to the earlier version of the deal, is Prime Minister Johnson's acceptance to have customs checks at the point of entry into Northern Ireland. This compromise will allow us to avoid border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and will ensure the integrity of the single-market," said Tusk.

The head of the EC also said he regrets UK's departure from the union on a personal level, but that the "door will always be open" should the "British friends, decide to return one day."

The Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar said he felt "enormous solidarity" from the EU representatives, adding, "it's been demonstrated in the past two years that the European Union really is a union of nations and also of peoples, and one in which small states are protected and respected."

"I really regret that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. But I absolutely respect their decision to do so. It's little bit like an old friend that's going on a journey, or an adventure without us, and we really hope it works out for them. But I think there will always be a place at the table for the United Kingdom, if they ever choose to come back," he added.

03:46
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The European Council has endorsed the new Brexit deal according to its president, Donald Tusk, who spoke at a press conference in Brussels on Thursday, just a few hours after the deal was announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Tusk said that the new deal was agreed upon after changes were made to the previous agreement to ensure that border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland could be avoided.

"The key change, in comparison to the earlier version of the deal, is Prime Minister Johnson's acceptance to have customs checks at the point of entry into Northern Ireland. This compromise will allow us to avoid border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and will ensure the integrity of the single-market," said Tusk.

The head of the EC also said he regrets UK's departure from the union on a personal level, but that the "door will always be open" should the "British friends, decide to return one day."

The Taoiseach of Ireland Leo Varadkar said he felt "enormous solidarity" from the EU representatives, adding, "it's been demonstrated in the past two years that the European Union really is a union of nations and also of peoples, and one in which small states are protected and respected."

"I really regret that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. But I absolutely respect their decision to do so. It's little bit like an old friend that's going on a journey, or an adventure without us, and we really hope it works out for them. But I think there will always be a place at the table for the United Kingdom, if they ever choose to come back," he added.

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