Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä says that Finland will approve the draft Brexit deal unveiled late Wednesday by his British counterpart Theresa May. He also predicted on Thursday afternoon the deal would be approved by the British Parliament in December.
“Certainly Prime Minister Theresa May has aimed to ensure that the whole time. That’s why this negotiation has been so painful. May has always had to make sure that the draft agreement would get through Parliament. It won't be easy but certainly the prediction is that it will go through,” said Sipilä.
”At the end of the day it is to everyone’s advantage that there is not a hard departure, but rather a managed departure,” he added.
UK Finns and aviation among Finnish priorities
Sipilä said that from Finland's point of view, it has been most important the Brexit deal includes a good free trade agreement, guarantees the status of Finns living in the UK as well as smooth air traffic operations. He reiterated that he sees Britain's departure from the EU as regrettable.
EU leaders will gather to consider the draft on 25 November. Sipilä said he assumes that the Finnish EU presidency term in the second half of 2019 will include many crucial negotiations related to Brexit. The UK is to leave the union in late March.
On Thursday, May vigorously defended the draft Brexit deal at the House of Commons amid cabinet resignations, growing calls for a vote of no confidence within her own Conservative party and a plunge in the value of the pound.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned on Thursday morning, saying he could not support the draft Brexit agreement that he helped negotiate. Also resigning were the Work and Pensions Secretary, the Northern Ireland minister, the junior education minister and the junior Brexit minister.