EU formally signs post-Brexit trade deal with UK

EU formally signs post-Brexit trade deal with UK

The European Union’s top officials formally signed the long fought-over post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel put pen to paper during a brief signature ceremony in Brussels. The documents will now be flown across the Channel to London in a RAF plane for British Prime minister Boris Johnson to sign them.

The U.K. Parliament will later start debating the agreement setting up new trade rules between the 27-nation bloc and former member Britain. It is set to provisionally enter into force on Jan. 1. The agreement eventually needs approval from Britain’s Parliament, and from the EU’s legislature, which is not expected to take up the deal for weeks.

The leaders of the European Parliament’s political groups said they would not seek full approval until March because of the specific and far-reaching implications of the agreement. The overwhelming expectation is that EU lawmakers will approve the deal, The Washington Post reported.

The 1,240-page post-Brexit deal was sealed by the EU and the U.K. on Christmas Eve, just a week before the year-end deadline.