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The EU's chief Brexit negotiatior Michel Barnier (L) carrying the 2000-page Brexit deal with the Greek ambassador at an EU meeting on Dec. 25. Photo: Olivier Hoslet/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ambassadors for the European Union's 27 member states have unanimously approved the provisional application of a post-Brexit trade deal on Jan. 1, a German spokesperson confirmed on Monday.

Why it matters: It's an expected, but crucial step in staving off a potentially catastrophic "no-deal" Brexit on Jan. 1, coming days after the U.K. government and European Commission announced they had reached a stunning breakthrough after months of stalled negotiations.

What to watch: The U.K.'s House of Commons will meet to vote on the deal on Wednesday.

  • The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, has urged lawmakers to back the deal, all but ensuring that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have the votes he needs for the agreement to sail through Parliament.
  • The European Parliament will vote to fully approve the deal in the new year, but it will still take effect on a provisional basis to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit on Jan. 1.

The big picture: Even with the application of the deal, which outlines many of the terms of the U.K.'s new relationship with its closest and largest trading partner, the British government has warned businesses and citizens to prepare for some "bumpy moments" when the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.

Go deeper: U.K. and EU reach historic post-Brexit trade deal

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - World

U.S. is "a long way" from return to Iran nuclear deal, Blinken says

Blinken during the hearing. Photo: Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

Secretary of State designate Tony Blinken said in his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that the Biden administration is "a long way" from executing its plan to return to the Iran nuclear deal, and he plans to consult with Israel and the Gulf states before doing so.

Why it matters: America's partners in the Middle East have been publicly raising their concerns about a possible return to the 2015 agreement and calling on the Biden administration to consult with them first.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
5 mins ago - Economy & Business

Media trust hits new low

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Star Tribune via Getty Images

Trust in traditional media has declined to an all-time low, and many news professionals are determined to do something about it.

Why it matters: Faith in society's central institutions, especially in government and the media, is the glue that holds society together. That glue was visibly dissolving a decade ago, and has now, for many millions of Americans, disappeared entirely.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
15 mins ago - Health

Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response

President Biden signs executive hours just hours after being inaugurated. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On his first full day on the job, President Biden will move quickly to translate his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into policy — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives.

Why it matters: The hands-on federal effort marks a significant change from the Trump administration, which put states in charge of many of the logistical details of their pandemic responses.