Now really official: The European Parliament approves the Brexit deal

Ratification by Parliament was the last necessary step for the new formal relationship between the European Union and the country that has been a member of the European Union for nearly half a century.

As a result of (660 votes in favor, 5 members, 32 votes against), Brussels puts an end to Britain’s exit from the European Union. The treaty, which has been provisionally in force since January 1, will now officially enter into force after its ratification.

Tough negotiations

The country joined the European Union in 1973. Brexit was the result of a referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016. After difficult negotiations over the terms of separation, as stipulated in the withdrawal agreement in October 2019, Brussels and London also concluded a trade and cooperation agreement On December 24, 2020.

With this treaty, the messy “no-deal scenario” was avoided in time, because on January 1, Brexit became final. The treaty is in effect at the moment because the European Parliament needed time to study the technical agreement very thoroughly before giving its approval.

A look at the future

“This is the last step in a long journey that will bring stability to our new relationship with the European Union as a vital trading partner and close and equal ally,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after announcing the results of the vote. “Now is the time to look to the future.”

Most members of the European Parliament regret the final departure of the British from the European Union. Parliament Speaker David Sassoli said: “Brexit means disruption and inconvenience for citizens and businesses.”

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“No matter how deeply saddened things have reached this point, we must now look forward,” says MEP and PvdA spokesperson Thijs Reuten. “The British are our neighbors and we have a common history and common values.”

Parliament control

Parliament will play an active role in closely monitoring the UK’s full compliance with its obligations. MEP Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks) notes that the British must adhere to fair competition rules in terms of employee rights and environmental standards. “The European Union can take unilateral action if the UK weakens these standards.”

“I hope that in the future we will also be able to consider cooperation in areas of politics where we have not entered into any agreements at the moment, such as the exchange program for students or foreign policy,” says MEP Liesje Schreinemacher (VVD).

Megan Vasquez

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