BRUSSELS - Britain and the European Union sealed a new withdrawal agreement Thursday, on the first day of an EU summit in Brussels, paving the way for Britain's possible exit from the bloc at the end of the month.
But Brexit is far from decided, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a tough battle to persuade members of Parliament to approve the agreement in a special session scheduled for Saturday.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker took to the podium to announce the deal. "We have a deal, and this deal means that there is no need for any kind of prolongation," he told reporters.
Johnson hailed the agreement a Brexit breakthrough.
"I do think this deal represents a very good deal both for the EU and for the U.K., and it's a reasonable, fair outcome," he said. "And of course for us in the U.K., it means that we can deliver a real Brexit that achieves our objectives. And it means that the U.K. leaves whole and entire on Oct. 31. And it means that Northern Ireland and every other part of the U.K. can take part, not just in free trade deals, offering our tariffs and exporting our goods around the world."
Johnson's pledge to leave the EU "do or die" on Oct. 31 may yet fail, as the deal has to be approved in the British and European Parliaments. British MPs will sit in a Saturday session for the first time since the Falklands War in 1982.
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