European Parliament votes to ratify EU-UK trade deal

The lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of formally approving the deal with 660 votes in favor, 5 against, and 32 abstentions.

While the move is largely symbolic with few real-world ramifications, it marks the end of the road.

The vote concludes the years-long Brexit process and opens a new era where close collaboration between Brussels and London is expected to coexist with constant wrangling and disagreements.

The deal, which has already been ratified by the UK, conditionally came into force on December 31, 2020, but has technically still been open to debate since then.

EU leaders lauded the move on Twitter, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying she “warmly welcomed” the decision and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, echoing her words, adding: “It marks a major step forward in #EU-#UK relations and opens a new era.”

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, said he “hugely welcome the overwhelming vote” and hoped “we can now begin a new chapter together as Europeans, characterized by friendly cooperation between sovereign equals”.

The Briton also thanked the European Commission and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, for “helping get us here”.

HJ/PR

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