The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and her Council counterpart Charles Michel on Wednesday signed the post-Brexit trade agreement with London to frame the historic deal, which is due to enter into force on Thursday at 11:00 PM GMT.
In front of European flags, the two smiling leaders signed the texts in front of cameras and photographers. The leaders signed three separate agreements: a trade and cooperation agreement, an agreement on security and the exchange of classified information and an agreement on nuclear energy.
Each document came in duplicate, one for the European Union and one for the United Kingdom.
The documents must then be sent by a Royal Air Force plane to London to also be initialled by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The agreement will take effect on January 1, 2021, when the transition period after political Brexit has ended, however, it still requires some sign-offs.
The agreement still has to be approved by the European member states, the European Parliament and the British Parliament. The UK will approve it before the end of the year, while the European side is expected to provisionally approve it so that it can go into effect on 1 January.