Britain on Wednesday got formal approval from tearful European Union members to finally Brexit by the end of this week.
The European Parliament voted 621 to 49 to overwhelmingly approve the UK’s departure this Friday — the final hurdle in the bitter four-year battle to get a divorce deal that started with a 2016 referendum.
“We will always love you and you will never be far,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on a day that left many EU legislators hugging each other in tears.
Britain’s Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage, waved a Union Jack flag as he left, vowing that Britain was “never coming back.”
Members of European Parliament linked hands in solidarity to sing a final chorus of “Auld Lang Syne,” with German parliamentarian Terry Reintke calling it “a symbol of hope, friendship and solidarity,” according to The Telegraph.
Reintke also encouraged MEPs to hold their mobile phone lights aloft in a symbolic gesture that they have “left the light on” for a possible return.
The EU’s chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt, said the vote “is not an adieu” but “only an au revoir.” He stressed on Twitter that the vote was not in favor of the UK leaving but merely to allow “an orderly Brexit.”
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