‘Auld Lang Syne’ marks Brexit deal in EU parliament
The European Parliament gave final approval to Britain's divorce from the European Union on Wednesday, paving the way for the country to quit the bloc on Friday after nearly half a century and delivering a major setback for European integration.
After an emotional debate during which several speakers shed tears, EU lawmakers voted 621 for and 49 against the Brexit agreement sealed between Britain and the 27 other member states last October, more than three years since Britons voted out.
Thirteen lawmakers abstained and the chamber then broke into a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, a traditional Scottish folk song of farewell.
Britain's 73 departing EU lawmakers headed for an "Au Revoir" party in the EU chamber after the vote.
Earlier on Wednesday, Britain's ambassador to the EU handed documents formalizing Brexit to a senior EU official.
Against a backdrop of British and EU flags at the bloc's Brussels headquarters, Tim Barrow, smiling, passed over a dark blue leather file embossed with the emblem of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said a decision by EU chiefnegotiator Michel Barnier to stay on in London this week to continue talks ona post-Brexit trade deal is a “very good sign”. The talks had been expected toswitch to Brussels but it is reported that Mr Barnier is to remain in the UKuntil Wednesday – in part because of the high coronavirus infection rates inthe Belgian capital. Mr Lewis told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: “The fact thatMichel Barnier has outlined in the last week or so that they are going to comeback and do these intensive negotiations, he recognises the EU do need tomove, and that he is staying through to next week, is totally a very goodsign. “We have got to make sure that it is a deal that works not just for ourpartners in Europe – we want to have a very good relationship with themobviously – but one that works for the United Kingdom. “I think there is agood chance that we can get a deal but I think it is for the EU to understandthat it is for them to move as well.”
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"Throwing in the topic of abortion and holding a pseudo-tribunal on it in the middle of a raging pandemic is more than cynicism. This is political villainy," said former Polish PM and President of the European Parliament Donald Tusk.View on euronews
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European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Wednesday her plans for a European Health Union during her first State of the Union address to the European Parliament. But what will it look like?View on euronews
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On Friday protesters marched through many cities in Poland, after a top court declared it illegal to abort in cases of foetal malformation, because it is considered “incompatible” with the Polish constitution.
98% of legal abortions in the country in 2019 were carried out because of foetal abnormalities. Now, women in Poland are only allowed to terminate their pregnancy in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is at risk.
Opposition parties in Poland, the European Union's human rights commissioner and international human rights organisations criticized the court's decision as violating women's rights.
Protests defied a COVID-19 related ban on gatherings.
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Some of the nation’s landmark red postboxes have been painted black to honourblack Britons past and present, including Sir Lenny Henry and nursing pioneerMary Seacole. Royal Mail said four postboxes – in London, Glasgow, Cardiff andBelfast – have been painted black with gold trim as part of Black HistoryMonth in October.
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Around 695,000 UK workers have been removed from the payrolls of Britishcompanies since March when the coronavirus lockdown began, according toofficial figures. Britain's unemployment rate rose to 4.1% in the three monthsto July. The rising total of jobless Britons has mainly been put down to thecoronavirus pandemic.
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Holidaymakers travel back to the UK from Mykonos to London Heathrow just hoursbefore the Government deadline to have to self-isolate for 14 days comes intoforce. Brits returning from seven Greek Islands will have to quarantine as of4am Wednesday morning.
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It is official, the British and Irish Lions will play in a curtain-raiser Testmatch against Japan in Scotland's own Murrayfield stadium next summer, on June26. It will be the first time the Lions have played at home since drawing25-25 with Argentina in Cardiff 15 years ago. The Lions have never previouslyplayed in Scotland, so it is sure to be an exciting moment for fans. Managingdirector Ben Calveley hopes supporters will be able to be present given thecurrent restrictions.
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Scotland's First Minister has said that restrictions on hospitality north of the border will be in place for a week longer than previously stated. The Scottish Government will publish a tiered system of restrictions on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon has said, which will come into effect on November 2. Report by Blairm. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/itn and follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/itn
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy represents the largest slice of the EU budget, and is currently subject to fierce battles between farmers and environmentalists as the bloc seeks to reform its policy. Striking a balance between protecting livelihoods and nature is proving tricky.View on euronews
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