”To our British colleagues - they have always brought wit, charm, intelligence, well, (at least) some of them did. I can only say we will miss you."
It was a day of speeches, tears, some celebration and even flag waving in Brussels. After years of controversy, years of challenging talks, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for the Withdrawal Agreement, paving the way for Brexit this Friday.
Belgian MEP and European Parliament Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, said the Brits will be missed:
”To our British colleagues, they have always brought wit, charm, intelligence, well, (at least) some of them did. I can only say we will miss you."
The outgoing British MEP Seb Dance, said it was emotional:
"It's been weird for quite some time I suppose, but today feels very raw, in a way that you can kind of deal with Brexit in your own kind of way, but when you have colleagues coming up to you with a big farewell event with tears streaming down, it's very hard to keep it together. "
Another outgoing British MEP, Alexandra Phillips, was happy about the historical moment:
"Look, it is happening, democracy has prevailed. Man has stood up to establishment. The people have said we still want to leave the EU and it's taking place, and it's an incredible historic achievement."
Naomi Long is a Northern Ireland MEP also losing her job on Friday. She thinks cooperation between the EU and the UK will be needed in the future:
"When we leave the EU, and I know acutely as someone who is responsible now for justice in Northern Ireland in the Assembly, that there are massive issues around how we continue the cooperation, how we find workarounds and replacements for the structures that we have relied on for many years through the EU, and that will be an ongoing process."
MEPs from across Parliament sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in the chamber on Wednesday. And while technically Brexit might be done a done deal now, the story of the UK’s exit really is far from finished. And for the 73 MEPs who will lose their jobs on Friday, this was a probably surreal moment.
Watch Euronews's report in the player above.