After a sometimes emotional vote in the European Parliament on Wednesday, the countries that remained in the union gave a final stamp of approval to the agreement on the withdrawal from Britain.
In the end, the way the decision became final was that of Brussels: bureaucratic and undramatic.
Diplomats from the remaining 27 countries of the European Union received clear instructions by email just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, once the European Parliament has voted to promulgate Brexit: Answer these four questions with “yes;, “no; or “abstain; and email them to the European Council.
At 1 pm. Local time on Thursday, the responses arrived, formally completing the withdrawal agreement.
The process used, known in the language of the European Union as “written procedure;, is reserved for technical decisions that can be handled by officials and do not require that the main diplomats or heads of government meet in person.
“The council has adopted, by written procedure, the decision on the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement on behalf of the EU,” the European Council said, in a brief statement, the branch of the European Union that brings together the governments of their countries members. .
“The withdrawal agreement will enter into force upon leaving the United Kingdom from the EU on January 31, 2020 at midnight C.E.T.” “From that moment, the United Kingdom will no longer be an EU. Member State and will be considered as a third country.”
The questions that European diplomats had to answer before this historic, although disappointing moment, were simply and purely procedural.
“Can the delegation, on behalf of its member state, indicate whether it adopts the decision of the council on the conclusion of the withdrawal agreement?”
Celebrations and Condolences:
All member states answered “yes; to all questions, said a representative of the European Council, in a rare display of absolute harmony for the often cacophonic group.
In Brussels, some of the next steps will be equally formal, before negotiations on the future relationship between the European Union and Great Britain enter its heyday.
But first come the parties. Place Luxembourg, the square in front of the European Parliament, will take over the celebrations and condolences related to Brexit on Thursday night, and Brexit thematic events are filling the weekend’s social calendar.
The city of Brussels said it would illuminate Grand Place, the ornate square in the heart of the Belgian capital, Thursday afternoon, presenting a light show in the colors of the British flag to honor the nation that is leaving.
The Manneken Pis, a statue of a urinating boy that is a landmark of Brussels, has been dressed for the occasion.
The British flags will be removed from the European Union buildings, and the European Union flag will be lowered outside the offices of the British delegation, which will also be renamed from “Permanent Representation of the United Kingdom in the European Union; to “Embassy of the United Kingdom in the European Union. “