Last minute math goofs that used the Les Miserables soundtrack as a rally and explosive negotiations worth streamed on Netflix all managed to get a Brexit deal over the line.
Four and a half years after the British voted to leave the EU, Boris Johnson announced yesterday that a trade deal had finally been agreed.
The Prime Minister said this was "the basis for a happy, successful and stable partnership with our friends in the EU for the years to come", but the negotiations were far from easy.
Senior ministers were given dressing downs worth watching on Netflix, sources said, while the EU "went insane" during negotiations over a Downing Street tweet.
And the prime minister's announcement had to be delayed after officials discovered a last-minute math error related to fishing.
Preparations began behind the scenes 12 months ago after Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to an historic election victory to win a majority in parliament.
Since then, 2020 has been a roller coaster ride during the Brexit negotiations:
In January, Lord David Frost was appointed chief negotiator for Brexit as the Prime Minister wanted to pursue a new negotiating strategy after Theresa May failed to reach an agreement through parliament.
Before Mr Johnson's speech in Greenwich on February 3rd, the new negotiating team tried new methods. Lord Frost and his deputies organized meetings for officials to defend Britain's political positions under intense pressure.
Boris Johnson outlined his vision for a post-Brexit UK in Greenwich on February 3rd – but weeks before he was on the podium, the government was preparing a new approach to negotiations with the EU
The sessions would help create team camaraderie that would last even through the darkest days.
For the next 12 months, the team would rely on songs to lift their spirits. One Day More from Les Miserables is her collective call when a deal is less and less likely.
In the meantime, the EU was optimistic that it could win a deal that would benefit its members.
Irish Leo Varadkar fought, telling the BBC: “The European Union is a union of 27 member states. Great Britain is only one country. And we have a population and a market of 450 million people.
“In the UK it's about 60 million. So if these were two teams playing football, who do you think has the stronger team? & # 39;
Then, on February 3, Boris Johnson outlined his vision for Britain after Brexit while officials were preparing for the first official meeting in March.
Mr Johnson delivered a speech comparing Britain to Superman before setting out the main differences between the country and the EU.
He concluded by saying: “We are now embarking on a great journey, a project that no one in the international community has thought of, that this country would have the courage to undertake, but if we are brave and really follow the logic of ours feel committed Mission – open, outward-looking – generous, welcoming, committed to the world champion of global free trade, when global free trade needs a global champion,
UK chief EU negotiator Lord David Frost, who crossed his fingers on Christmas Eve, took the Brexit talks in a new direction earlier this year. In a speech in February he told the EU: "Must find a way to relate its neighbors as friends and truly sovereign equals."
"I think we can achieve great success with this company, for the UK, for our European friends and for the world."
On February 17th, Lord Frost gave a speech who refused to submit to European pressure.
He said: “I think the EU has to understand, I mean really understand, not just say that countries in Europe, if they choose to do so, can be independent countries.
“Independence does not mean a limited degree of freedom in return for accepting some of the norms of central power.
& # 39; It means – independence – just that. I can see that some in Brussels may be uncomfortable with it – but in order to achieve what it wants in the world, the EU must find a way to make its neighbors friends and to relate truly sovereign equals.
& # 39; So let me close. Michel Barnier said another week in Belfast: "Not a single person has ever convinced me of the added value of Brexit."
“So, Michel, I hope I will convince you as you read this to see things differently – and maybe even think that a Britain doing things differently could be good for both Europe and Britain .
The Downing Street press office tweet in February welcomed the possibility of a free trade agreement modeled on the Canadian model, with the EU's own foil promoting the agreement. EU negotiators have "gone mad" as a result, a UK source said
The following day the Downing Street press office delivered a hammer blow that would shake Michel Barnier's EU negotiating team.
A 2017 slide, widely used by the EU, was tweeted that highlighted the deal the UK was facing.
Instead of the alleged benefits of staying on, the UK would step back five steps and reach a similar deal with the EU as Canada and South Korea are currently doing.
The tweet read: “In 2017, the EU showed on its own slide that a Canada-type free trade agreement was the only available relationship for the UK. Now they say that it is not offered after all. Michel Barner, what has changed? "
A senior UK source told The Times: “You have gone mad.
"After all that cake, they couldn't believe we turned the tables on them. They couldn't believe Frost said," Canada? Yes, please, give it to us, we will thank you very much. "
Formal negotiations for a trade agreement began on March 2nd. British negotiators have now been instructed to support the claim that bad deal is worse for Britain than no deal.
The news reached Barnier. Britain was ready to leave without a deal if the EU didn't play ball.
One official told The Times: “Frost convinced us that we are part of something of national and historical importance. Something to be proud of. & # 39;
British negotiators are said to have used the Les Miserables soundtrack as a rally to raise morale when talks stagnated. One Day More is said to have inspired officials
However, with no reader needing to be reminded, March saw a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and bans across Europe.
Politicians and officials have been pulled away from Brexit and asked to look into responding to the pandemic.
Talks were suspended for two months but remotely resumed in late April.
When talks about Zoom resumed, the negotiators reportedly focused more on looking into each other's houses.
The sticking points remained largely the same, with the EU warning the UK could not enjoy the benefits of a single market and tariffs without relinquishing some of its sovereignty – a level playing field debate that ultimately led to talks with the Wire.
Talks between the UK and EU negotiators became public when Lord Frost took an unusual step by writing a letter to Mr Barnier and publishing draft UK legal texts.
Highlighting the negotiating stage and position of the UK, Lord Frost wrote: “Overall, at this point in time the negotiations are not offering a fair free trade relationship between close economic partners, but rather a relatively poor quality trade deal that has produced unprecedented results in EU oversight of our laws and EU Institutions. & # 39;
After Michel Barnier and David Frost exchanged public letters in June, Boris Johnson urged Ursula von der Leyen (pictured with Mr Barnier) and other EU leaders to put a "tiger in the tank" and speed up talks
Mr Barnier responded the following day, signaling that the EU's negotiating position had changed and that post-Brexit Britain would be "completely free to set its own higher standards" in areas such as state aid, competition, social / employment standards . Taxes and Climate Change.
Boris Johnson called on the heads of state and government of the EU, after a meeting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, a "tiger in the tank" ask to make sure they succeed. David Sassoli on June 15th.
In a joint statement between the EU and the UK it was agreed that "fresh impetus is needed" to reach an agreement by December 31st and support plans to intensify talks from July onwards.
The EU and UK agreed in July that "fresh impetus is needed" as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel awaited the outcome of the negotiations
A quiet summer broke out after the UK unveiled the UK's Single Market Act that would have allowed Britain to break international law regarding the Irish border if an agreement had not been reached. It was later dropped – but not before dramatic scenes played out.
An awkward Michael Gove is said to have suffered a torrent of language under Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the EU Commission.
In a dispute over the Irish border in September, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, pictured on Monday, received a deal from the Vice President of the European Commission that was worth appearing on Netflix
An official has since said the scene is worth streaming on Netflix.
An EU summit in mid-October should be the deadline for the end of trade talks – of course not
Lord Frost sent the message to the Prime Minister that the talks should be stepped up as he believed they had progressed well.
However, confidence was damaged after an EU summit text called on the UK to "take the necessary steps to make an agreement possible".
French President Emmanuel Macron weighed in and warned: “Under no circumstances can our fishermen be sacrificed during Brexit.
Michel Barnier helped with a speech to the EU recalling that the agreement had "respect for British sovereignty" and warned: "It is about the smooth organization of our future relations after the divorce is now an established fact." ;
Earlier this month it was assumed that the talks are close to breakthrough, only that the EU arrives with new requirements on fishing rights and a level playing field.
Talks were only interrupted for a few weeks to find a deal. They were suspended while the Prime Minister and Ms. von der Leyen spoke by telephone to reach an agreement.
On December 9th, Mr Johnson traveled to Brussels to meet the Commissioner.
Boris Johnson was ready to announce a Brexit deal on Wednesday night but had to wait until Christmas Eve after officials discovered a math error related to UK fishing rights. Mr Johnson suspended the deal tonight and said it would "form the basis for a happy, successful and stable partnership with our friends in the EU for years to come".
The talks turned out to be crucial and two weeks later a deal was done.
Union flags and television cameras were displayed on Downing Street on Wednesday, December 23, so that Boris Johnson could announce the milestone on the "great journey" he discussed in February.
But its announcement was delayed.
Officials tasked with turning the agreement into law found, according to The Telegraph, that three percent of the UK's catch quota had disappeared.
Then, on Christmas Eve, Boris Johnson was finally able to announce the deal.
After a few tense final weeks of negotiations, the UK and the EU announced a trade deal on Christmas Eve
When he spoke last night he said, “Good news of great joy because this is a deal. A deal that will give business travelers, travelers and all investors in our country security from January 1st. A deal with our friends and partners in the EU.
“Do you remember the oven-ready deal we came out with on January 31st? This oven-ready deal was just the beginning. This is the feast. & # 39;
He joked that it was "full of fish" before adding, "I believe it will be the basis for a happy, successful and stable partnership with our friends in the EU for years to come."
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