EU president Ursula von der Leyen takes snipe at UK's sovereignty as she asks 'what does it mean in the 21st century'

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen today took a swipe at the UK's sovereignty after a Brexit deal was finally struck.

The president used a press briefing to mock Britain just minutes after it was revealed the four-year wait for a deal was finally over.

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And she claimed the only real sovereignty was achieved through working together rather than going it alone.

Speaking today, she said: "Of course, this whole debate has always been about sovereignty.

"But we should cut through the soundbites and ask ourselves what sovereignty actually means in the 21st century.

"It about pooling our strength and speaking together in a world full of great powers.

"In a time of crisis, it is about pulling each other up instead of trying to get back to your feet alone."

And she added: "Parting is such sweet sorry" but vowed to work together with Britain in future.

Her comments came as a deal was finally sealed after four years of bitter negotiations that will allow us to trade freely with the EU without tariffs or quotas.

It also means the UK can finally cut ties with Europe's meddlesome judges and sever the bloc's red tape as promised in the historic 2016 referendum.

Boris told the nation at a momentous press conference this afternoon: "We have taken back control of our destiny – every jot and tittle of our laws."

Striking a respectful tone, he stressed his deal would finally provide certainty for the police, business, security services and everyone else in the EU and UK alike.

And he promised this deal will benefit the whole of Europe, too.

He vowed: "This deal means a new certainty. We will be your friend, your ally, your supporter, and indeed , never let it be forgotten, your number one market."

No10 insisted "everything that the British public was promised during the 2016 referendum and in the general election last year is delivered by this deal".

They added: "We have taken back control of our money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters.

"The deal is fantastic news for families and businesses in every part of the UK. We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU

"The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth £668bn in 2019."

The PM last night summoned his top team of ministers to a Zoom call late yesterday to update them on "a brilliant breakthrough".

Crunch talks have been rumbling on for weeks amid fears Britain would crash out of Europe with no deal.

A deadlock over fishing carried on late into the evening as pizza was delivered to the Berlaymont HQ in Brussels.

Negotiators were still arguing as early as this morning over specific species of fish allowed to be caught.

One UK source said: "They're still going on fish."

Britain’s talks hero David Frost was also locked away in the headquarters poring over final legal texts for the first-ever zero-tariff trade deal with the EU.

The deal is a major win for Boris after a difficult year at the helm as Britain grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

What does a Brexit deal mean for me?

  • Getting a deal means goods can continue to move tariff free between the EU and UK after we break free of Brussels' rules
  • Britain will finally control its own fishing waters and be able to set its own laws
  • But Britain will choose not to reduce some of its rules and laws in certain areas – or may risk being slapped with charges
  • Brits will have to make sure they have six months left on their passport once we leave
  • And they will be able to travel visa free for 90 days – but after that will need to apply for one
  • It's unclear what will happen to the European Health Insurance card – but Brits who need ongoing medical treatment will be able to get it for at least a year
  • People must apply for a pet passport in advance
  • And anyone driving in Europe needs to get a new license, too
  • Unlimited EU migration will end – and a new points based system will come in from January, meaning freedom of movement will end
  • The UK will leave the single market and customs union – but have some access for some goods

His vow to “get Brexit done” at last December’s general election gifted him a Tory landslide but he repeatedly found himself stuck in a stalemate with EU bureaucrats.

Fishing became a major sticking point for all parties involved – with Emmanuel Macron demanding ongoing rights in the UK's six to 12 mile coastal zone, where French boats land many of their catches.

The deal must first be provisionally agreed by Member States.

EU27 ministers and diplomats on the Council can decides whether to provisionally apply a deal or not – and it can be adopted by written procedure rather than an in-person vote.

MEPs can then vote on final ratification early next month.

Ambassadors from the EU27 have been put on standby for Thursday and the weekend, when they are expected to approve the pact.

And MPs will be dragged back to the Commons to sign it off – expected to be on December 30.

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