631 members of parliament voted in support of the agreement, 49 against it. Another 13 people abstained. A simple majority was needed for the ratification of the decision.
Such a decision was expected; the EP Committee on Constitutional Affairs had already advocated ratification of the agreement.
The British Parliament approved the agreement in the first half of January. The next and final step in the agreement by the EU will be the approval of the EU Council. The decision of the EU Council is expected on January 30.
After voting in the European Parliament on ratification of the agreement, EP President David Sassoli put his signature on the document, which opens up the possibility for the EU Council to make its decision.
Addressing former British MEPs, Sassoli said they would be missed in the European Parliament.
“We all lose colleagues and allies with whom we have close relations and with whom we have worked side by side all these years here in the European Parliament. Fifty years of integration cannot easily dissolve. We all must work to build new relations, always taking into account the protection of the rights of citizens," the head of the European Parliament said.
He noted that the parties have to go through difficult moments, but he is sure that each time they will be able to find common ground.
“You are leaving the European Union, but it is clear that you continue to be part of Europe with those values that deeply unite us,” Sassoli continued.
“Dear British friends, of course, it’s very difficult to finally say goodbye to each other. For this reason, together with all my colleagues, I will say goodbye,” the President of the European Parliament said.
As we reported before, European Commission's President Ursula von der Leyen and President of European Council Charles Michel have signed an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, which opens the way for its ratification by the European Parliament. EU leaders wrote about it on their Twitter pages.