EU leaders approve Brexit deal, political declaration

The 27 members of the European Union have approved the Brexit deal, the European Council President Donald Tusk announced on Sunday.

"EU27 has endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations," Tusk wrote in a Twitter post.

Leaders of the EU countries were meeting on Sunday in Brussels to finalize the U.K's departure from the EU.

Following the meeting, the council said in a statement that it invited EU's institutions -- including the European Parliament -- to take the necessary steps to ensure that the agreement can enter into force on 30 March, 2019, so as to provide for an orderly withdrawal.

"The European Council restates the Union's determination to have as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom in the future in line with the Political Declaration," the statement said.

It added that the EU's approach will continue to be defined by the overall positions and principles set out in the previously agreed European Council's guidelines and the Council will remain permanently seized of the matter.

Speaking to the British media, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he would vote in favor of the deal because it is the best deal possible for Britain.

I'm sad because watching the U.K. leaving the EU is not a moment for jubilation but a moment of deep sadness and we make everything possible in order to have this divorce being as smooth as possible. But there are no smooth divorces," Juncker said.

This is the deal, it's the best deal possible and the EU will not change its fundamental position when it comes to this issue so I do think the British parliament -- because this is a wise parliament -- will ratify this deal, he added.

The final deal will face a vote in the House of Commons of the U.K. and the EU Parliament.

Source: Anadolu Agency