EU heads sign Brexit trade deal

With a call for both sides to look forward to a new chapter in their relationship, top EU officials signed the Brexit trade deal on Wednesday (December 30).

The treaties struck on December 24th will preserve Britain's tariff- and -quota-free access to the European Union's 450 million consumers.

Against a backdrop of European Union flags, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel signed the agreement.

The text was then sent off to London on a British Royal Air Force plane for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to add his signature.

The British parliament will also debate, and is expected to pass, the deal.

One copy of the agreement is to be returned to Brussels - their signed copy bearing the bloc's golden stars on the blue leather folder.

Britain formally left the EU nearly a year ago.

The new partnership will regulate ties from January 1st on everything from trade to transport, energy links to fishing.

After both sides have signed, the deal will be in place until the end of February pending final approval by the European Parliament to make it permanent.