EU ambassadors have given provisional approval for Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal to be implemented from January 1.
A spokesman for the German EU presidency said the ambassadors had unanimously agreed to “green light” the settlement hammered out on Christmas Eve.
The move paves the way for the agreement which allows for the continued tariff-free trade with the EU single market to take effect when the current Brexit transition period expires on Thursday.
“EU ambassadors have unanimously approved the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as of January 1, 2021,” the spokesman for the German presidency said.
It comes as MPs in Britain were preparing to vote on the deal in a special sitting of Parliament called for Wednesday.
It is likely to pass through both Houses, with Labour ordering its MPs to vote for the “thin” treaty because the only other option is a chaotic departure without a trade deal.
The European Parliament must also formally ratify the deal in the new year – although this will now apply retrospectively.