Reference:Businessline | Updated:29 April 2021
European lawmakers have voted to back the post-Brexit trade deal with the UK that was sealed on December 24, 2020 after nine months of negotiations.
Despite acrimony between the UK and the EU over customs checks in Northern Ireland and the supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine, an overwhelming majority of MEPs voted to ratify the deal, with 660 votes in favor to 5 against, while 32 abstained.
The UK has welcomed the European Parliament's vote, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it "the final step in a long journey" able to provide "stability" in the relations between the UK and EU.
On the EU side, president of the assembly David Sassoli described the deal as "the most far reaching agreement the EU has ever reached with a third country," warning the UK that despite the bloc's positive stance towards future EU-UK relations, the EU will "not accept any backsliding from the UK government."