Brussels, Jan 30: Opening a new vista in international geo-politics, European Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved Britain's departure from the European Union.
The EU Parliament's Brexit spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt in an emotional outburst said it was - "sad to see a country leaving that has twice given its blood to liberate Europe". Some said, there has been more that united Europe with the United Kingdom, than those divide the two. "You are leaving the EU but you will always be part of Europe…It is very hard to say goodbye. That is why, like my colleagues, I will say arrivederci," said European Parliament's president David Sassoli.
The vote was 621 in favour and 49 against vis-a-vis the Brexit deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson negotiated with the other 27 EU leaders. The EU parliament endorsement comes after approval by the British Parliament earlier this month after a revised deal was struck between EU and the United Kingdom in October. This finally clears the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31.
Signing the letter confirming the EU's consent, Sassoli, said the two sides must recall what late Labour MP Jo Cox had said - that - "There is more that unites us than divides us." It goes without stating that over the next 11 months, the UK and the European Union will argue over the terms of their future relationship, which could be even tougher than the negotiations that were held after Britain voted to leave EU in June 2016. Some British MEPs said they hoped the UK would return one day although others including the Brexit Party's Nigel Farage, used their final speeches speaking against the EU. "After 25 years of fighting for Independence, this is my final contribution in the European Parliament. We were told to leave with our British flags, and that's exactly what we did," tweeted Nigel Farage, leader of Brexit Party, UK.
"We will always love you and you will never be far," said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The Parliament's Brexit spokesman, Guy Verhofstadt also said: the British MEPs brought "wit, charm, and intelligence" and "stubbornness", and all that would be missed. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said both UK and EU should "join forces" in areas such as climate change. Mr Nigel Farage - who has been campaigning for the UK's exit since before he was first elected to the Brussels Parliament in 1999 - said: "I want Brexit to start a debate right across Europe - what do we want from Europe?" He also maintained that trade, friendship and reciprocity between nations could be achieved without "all of these institutions and all of this power".
He and his fellow Brexit Party MEPs waved Union flags before walking out of the chamber. There was emotional scenes too as many lawmakers were moved to tears. "Hugs and tears for the SNP (Scotland's largest party), Euro MPs in Brussels as Brexit deal is approved. Piper playing Flower of Scotland and EU anthem Ode to Joy," tweeted Glenn Campbell, a senior journalist. UNI