How European papers are reacting to the Brexit deal

A duty-free trade agreement between the UK and the EU is expected to be announced on Christmas Eve - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
As the UK and the European Union seemed closer to a Brexit deal, European newspapers reacted with disappointment at the impending breakup and satisfaction with the concessions the UK negotiating team had reportedly made.
Reaching a last minute deal between London and Brussels tops all the major Italian news websites.
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"White smoke after months of negotiations," says Sky TG24, a television leader, drawing on the white smoke metaphor, which traditionally means that a Vatican conclave has elected a new Pope. The "nightmare" of a no deal has been averted.
Ansa, the national news agency, cited Boris Johnson's tweet in which the prime minister, thumbing up, announced that "the deal is closed".
Much was at stake for both sides, not least for the British Prime Minister, according to the Italian press.
"Boris needed a deal," says Corriere della Sera. "His poor management of the pandemic has ruined his popularity and the recent emergency caused by the new strain of the virus has removed any room for maneuver. Now he has something concrete to show the country and will do whatever it takes to sell the deal as a victory for London and the full restoration of national sovereignty. "
The EU also wanted an agreement, not only for obvious economic reasons, but because failure would have meant "a geopolitical break at a time when Europe is facing the challenges of China and Russia".
But after two days of front pages around the world queuing thousands of trucks stuck in Kent after border closings due to the new Covid-19 variant, newspapers showed little interest in the Brexit negotiations.
Elsewhere in France, in anticipation of the announcement, the news focused on how to make the upcoming Christmas celebrations safe, as new Covid-19 infections remained high every day. However, coverage of the Brexit focused on the "huge concessions" the UK government made in the trade deal with the 27-country bloc, as reported by AFP.
"If the discussions go nowhere and end in a 'no deal', Europe will have a lot less to lose than the UK," the French news agency reported.
In the meantime, the French journalist François Lenglet criticized Britain's efforts to "stop paying the EU budget, make your own decisions and at the same time take advantage of the internal market".
"The British want to have their cake and eat it," he wrote in a comment for the French radio station RTL.
The upcoming trade agreement received little attention in the German media on Christmas Eve, as the focus continued to be on the fact that Germany, with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, was quickly becoming Europe's problem child.
In a media environment hostile to Brexit, an agreement between the UK government and the EU has narrowed the narrative of a country headed at full speed towards an abyss of its own kind.
The worrying scenes in Dover were seen as a warning of what an uncomplicated Brexit cold looks like - JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
The Liberals' London correspondent Die Zeit reported that "a large part of the British public will breathe a sigh of relief - with the majority of the British public now having decided that they would have preferred to stay in the EU, they will certainly prefer." a free trade agreement to a no-deal scenario. "
High-ranking German politicians did not publicly comment on the news of a deal before official announcements from Brussels.
As the hours passed without any official announcement, Spanish politicians took their advice and no government officials were ready to anticipate what is hailed as welcome news in a country with tremendous economic ties with Britain.
The El País newspaper reported that the breakthrough was near and that the EU-UK deal "would mark the beginning of a new era between two partners who, for historical and geographical reasons, cannot ignore each other, but whose coexistence deteriorates over decades Has". before winning the Brexit referendum.
Spain's leading conservative newspapers, El Mundo and ABC, focused on the "chaos" in Dover.
ABC's Brussels correspondent pointed out that thousands of trucks at the border "served to illustrate what could happen if there was no rule-of-law contract between the former partners before January 1".
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