With emotion, EU parliament ratifies Withdrawal Agreement with UK

2020-01-30 06:39:38Xinhua Editor : Zhao Yuning ECNS App Download

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to approve the Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom.

The vote was 621 in favor, 49 against and 13 abstentions. After this ratification, while the agreement entering into force is practically beyond doubt, it still needs to be "subject to a final vote (by qualified majority) in the Council" of the EU, according to the European Parliament.

The vote was preceded by an emotional debate of the Members of the European Parliament, who bid farewell -- sometimes with words of love and warmth -- to Britain's 41-year stay in the world's largest trading bloc.

After the vote, a chorus of Auld Lang Syne sang by MEPs reverberated across the legislature's Hemicycle chamber in Brussels.

"We will always love you and you will never be far," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Guy Verhofstadt, an MEP and the EU legislature's coordinator on Britain's withdrawal, said that it's "sad to see a nation leaving, a great nation that has given us so much... culturally, economically, politically, even its own blood, in two world wars... It's sad to see a country leaving that liberated Europe twice."

There were also voices imagining in the future that Britain could return to the bloc, with Verhofstadt saying "today's vote was not a vote in favor or against #Brexit. It was a vote for an orderly Brexit & against a hard one. This is not an 'adieux', but merely an 'au revoir'."


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