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World

AFP
January 29, 2020

EU Parliament overwhelmingly ratifies Brexit deal

World

AFP
Wed, Jan 29, 2020
Photo: Financialtimes

BRUSSELS: The European Parliament on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to approve the Brexit deal, sealing United Kingdom's departure from the European Union.

The vote at the European Parliament in Brussels, which came after an motional debate, was passed by 621 to 49, prompting MEPs to burst into a chorus of "Auld Lang Syne", a traditional Scottish song of farewell.

Earlier, senior EU officials and MEPs said farewell to British MEPs, wishing them well ahead of the vote.

"Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depth of love," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the chamber, quoting British author George Eliot.

"We will always love you and we will never be far. Long live Europe."

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that "the hardest part lies ahead" in negotiations between Britain and the EU on their post-Brexit relationship.

"We´re going to get down to brass tacks now," Le Drian told parliament, referring to Britain´s departure from the EU on Friday, adding it was crucial that remaining bloc members stand united in talks on a future trade agreement.