Estonian government approves signing of EU, UK trade deal ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

NATO battle group's military parade at Tapa Army Base. April 20, 2017.
NATO battle group's military parade at Tapa Army Base. April 20, 2017.

The Estonian government at its sitting on Tuesday supported the approval of the signing of the trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on December 24.

The agreement enters into effect on January 1, 2021 in order to achieve a smooth transition to a new partnership, spokespeople for the government said.

"The difficult negotiations culminated in an agreement that will ensure the continuation of a close partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union in a wide range of areas," Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said (Center).

He emphasized that it is important for Estonia to maintain a close relationship and multifaceted cooperation with the UK. "The UK is and will remain Estonia's close partner, friend and ally in Europe, NATO and bilateral relations," Ratas said.

The prime minister added the greatest value of the agreement for Estonia is the continuation of free trade and trade in services, including digital trade, as well as agreements on social protection, transport connections, the rule of law and judicial cooperation and data exchange.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said Estonia and the EU's goal is to reach the most comprehensive agreement possible in order to ensure long-term, strong and close relations between the EU and UK.

"Estonia's main interests in the negotiations have been achieved, including, in general, quota- and tariff-free trade, reciprocal market access and a level playing field in terms of competition," Reinsalu said.

From January 1, the transitional period for the UK's exit from the EU will end and the UK will become a third country for the EU, leaving both the internal market and the customs union.

In practice, this means, among other things, that the four freedoms of the EU no longer apply to the UK, ending the free movement of persons, goods, capital and services, leading to customs regime and the need for long-term residence or work permits under member state or UK law.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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