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EU chiefs sign Brexit deal ahead of parliamentary vote

Two top Brussels officials, the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council , signed the UK divorce agreement with the EU on Friday.

With the formal approval of Ursula von der Layen and Charles Michel, the text will be submitted to the European Parliament on January 29 for ratification .

Then, on Thursday next week, EU Member States' diplomats will approve the agreement in writing, guaranteeing that Britain leaves at midnight on January 31st.

"Charles Michel and I have just signed the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, which paves the way for its ratification by the European Parliament," Commissioner Ursula von der Layen wrote in a tweet.

@vonderleyen: @eucopresident Charles Michel and I have just signed the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU, opening the way for its ratification by the European Parliament.

In a separate tweet, Michel said: " Things will inevitably change, but our friendship will remain. We are starting a new chapter as partners and allies. "


And he added in French, "We strive to write this new page together."

@eucopresident: Today I signed the UK Withdrawal Agreement for the EU together with
@vonderleyen Things will inevitably change but our friendship will remain. We start a new chapter as partners and allies. Hâte d’écrire ensemble cette nouvelle page.

Official photos of the official signing ceremony, held before dawn at the headquarters of the European Council in Brussels, showed EU observer Michel Brenier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator.


According to BBC reports, the Queen approved it on Thursday, and next Wednesday the European Parliament is expected to vote for it too.

The UK has agreed to abide by EU rules during a transition period until the end of the year. By 2021 the UK aims to have agreed a deal on future ties.

Brexit ends 46 years in the EU club.

The document is now on its way to Downing Street for signing by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


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