Britain’s Ambassador to the European Union handed documents formalising Brexit to a senior EU official on Wednesday, hours before European lawmakers are due to sign off on a deal that will see Britain finally quit the bloc on Friday.
Tim Barrow passed over a dark blue leather file embossed with the emblem of the United Kingdom, against a backdrop of British and EU flags at the bloc’s Brussels headquarters. The European Parliament is due to give its consent to the deal later in the day, after which lawmakers will throw an “Au Revoir” party for their 73 departing colleagues.
The U.K. will leave the club it joined in 1973 at midnight Brussels time on Friday, when British flags will be removed from EU offices and the EU flag lowered on the British premises there.
With a status-quo transition period running only until year-end, fresh talks — covering everything from trade to security — will begin soon on a new relationship. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told envoys of the remaining 27 members that a loose association agreement like the EU has with Ukraine should serve as the basis for relations, diplomatic sources briefed on the closed-door meeting said.