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European Parliament approves Brexit trade deal

The European Parliament approves the post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the EU, paving the way for the Treaty’s formal ratification.

By Vatican News staff reporter

After four years of, at times difficult negotiations, a post-Brexit trade agreement was announced on Wednesday morning by the European Parliament. 

Approval welcomed 

Welcoming the deal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said "The TCA (Trade and Cooperation Agreement) marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK. Faithful implementation is essential." 

European Council President Charles Michel commented that Britain remains the European Union's "important friend and partner". 

"I warmly welcome the results of the vote by the European Parliament on the EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement. It marks a major step forward in EU-UK relations and opens a new era,” he said on Twitter. 

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.” 

Overwhelmingly in favour 

The striking of this deal brings the curtain down on Britain’s 47 year membership of the EU and was overwhelmingly approved by 660 MEPs. Only 5 voted against it and there were 32 abstentions. 

The results of the vote were announced on Wednesday morning in Brussels by the President of the parliament David Sassoli after it was approved on Tuesday. However, he warned MEPs would monitor the implementation of the deal and "not accept any backsliding from the UK government." 

Vote and tensions 

The vote comes amid tensions on a number of fronts: There’s the threat of French reprisals against the UK over new fishing restrictions.  

There is also the issue of Northern Ireland, which, under the NI Protocol remains part of the EU's single market. A recent upsurge in violence there has been blamed in part on this plan. 

Another bone of contention has been rows over the supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With the approval of this Brexit trade deal, the treaty can now be formally ratified by the European Union. 

28 April 2021, 15:39