Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states have unanimously approved the EU-UK post-Brexit trade deal, paving the way for it to take effect.
The deal is likely to become law on 1 January, as the UK Parliament is expected to approve it on Wednesday.
Under EU rules it can take effect provisionally, though the European Parliament will vote on it in January.
The deal sets the framework for trade once the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union in four days’ time.
The deal, which ended nine months of negotiations, will be approved by all 27 EU governments in writing at 15:00 (14:00 GMT) on Tuesday, the German EU presidency said.
They have had three days to analyse the details of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement, since its publication. But most of the 1,246-page document had already been seen by member states in previous weeks.
The deal ends nearly 50 years of UK membership of the bloc, covering a vast array of policies besides those governing common trade rules.
- A Brexit deal has been agreed, days before a deadline. It means that the UK and the EU can continue to trade without extra taxes being put on goods
- What took so long? The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and actually left on 31 January 2020, but leaders had until the end of 2020 to work out a trade deal
- There are big changes ahead. Although it’s a trade deal that has been agreed, there will also be changes to how people travel between the EU and UK, and to the way they live and work