- Members of the European Parliament joined hands and sung an emotional farewell to Britain.
- They embraced one another and chanted folk song Auld Lang Syne after ratifying the terms of Brexit.
- The UK will leave the EU at 11pm on Friday.
- European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen quoted British author George Eliot, telling MEPs: “Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love.”
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Members of the European Parliament joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne in an emotional farewell to Britain after approving the terms of the country’s exit from the European Union.
There were extraordinary scenes in Brussels on Wednesday as MEPs from different member states and political parties embraced one another and chanted the folk song as the UK’s MEPs attend the parliament for the final time.
The UK will leave the EU at 11 pm (GMT) on Friday after three years of struggle and gridlock over the terms of its departure from the bloc. MEPs voted overwhelmingly to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday, by 621 votes to 49.
Watch MEPs sing Auld Lang Syne
—BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) January 29, 2020
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, pictured below applauding MEPs alongside Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, quoted British author George Eliot, telling the European Parliament: “Only in the agony of parting do we look into the depths of love. We will always love you and we will never be far.”
Some MEPs held aloft scarves reading phrases like “united in diversity.”
Molly Scott Cato, the British Green MEP, burst into tears during her farewell speech, telling the parliament: “One day I will be back in this chamber, celebrating our return to the heart of Europe.”
—MollyMEP (@MollyMEP) January 29, 2020
Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Brexit Party, used his final speech to tear into the EU.
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Farage and Brexit Party MEPs waved mini Union Jacks as Farage told his European colleagues: “We love Europe, we just hate the EU.”
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