Britain’s departure from the EU on 31 January was set in stone in a historic moment for the nation as MEPs in Brussels ratified the withdrawal agreement before breaking out in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne. As the president of the European parliament, David Sassoli, announced the result of the vote, with 621 in favour to 49 against with 13 abstentions, MEPs stood almost as one to sing the Scottish song. The vote ensures that the UK’s 47 years of membership of the EU will now end at midnight central European time on Friday, after years of troubled talks and uncertainty. Sassoli concluded the session by quoting the murdered British MP Jo Cox, who was killed during the 2016 referendum campaign: “We have a lot more in common than divides us.” Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit party, had left the chamber after being reprimanded for waving a union jack and speaking in terms of his “hate” for the EU, in a notably truculent intervention. The debate was emotional at times, and notable for an outpouring of praise for British politicians and civil servants working in the EU’s institutions for driving enlargement and breaking down barriers to trade…. Read full this story
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