Prime minister António Costa has welcomed news that Great Britain and the European Union have finally reached a Brexit deal.
Mr Costa has always been against the prospect of a ‘no deal Brexit’, even though his government has minutely studied ways of coping with one (click here and here).
Whether this new deal is voted through by the British parliament is a totally different matter.
For that, we all have to wait until ‘super Saturday’ (October 19) when the House of Commons will convene on a non-week day for the first time since 1982 (following Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland islands).
European media is full of today’s announcement of a deal, timed to receive at least the prospect of a thumbs up by European leaders who are meeting in Brussels today.
The news followed a letter by outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to European Council President Donald Tusk.
In the letter, Mr Juncker stressed that although he ‘deeply regrets’ the outcome of the 2016 referendum on whether or not British voters wanted to stay within the European Union, he believes the EU will now be “best served by an orderly and amicable withdrawal of the United Kingdom from our Union.
“Our hand should always remain outstretched as the United Kingdom will remain a key partner of the European Union in the future”, he continues, concluding that he recommends that the European Council “endorses the revised Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration” at its meeting today.
Mr Juncker signs off reiterating that he believes “it is high time to complete the withdrawal process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom”.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has tweeted that the “great new deal” gives Britain back control.
“We will leave the EU’s Customs Union as one United Kingdom and be able to strike trade deals all around the world”, he tells his followers.
“The anti-democratic backstop has been abolished. The people of Northern Ireland will be in charge of the laws that they live by, and – unlike the backstop – will have the right to end the special arrangement if they so choose”.
Needless to say, there is scepticism, criticism and reports that the government’s allies – the DUP – have still not found their way to accept the deal.
Thus whether it survives and sees the UK finally break away from the EU on October 31 is still very much an unknown.
For now, it’s a question of seeing if the European Council does indeed do as Mr Juncker has suggested today and endorses the deal that promises, finally, to ‘get Brexit done’.