(Brussels) “This is the only one and best possible deal”. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said this in his address to the European Parliament this morning, in which he addressed the UK’s divorce, reiterating the position taken unanimously by the 27 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States last Sunday. “We are at an important and serious moment”, he said. After one and a half year of negotiations, “we are now approaching the crucial step of ratification by the British Parliament and the European Parliament”. Barnier focused on the main elements of the withdrawal agreement, reiterating that the political declaration on the future relations with London, approved on 25 November, paves the way for future relations that are “favourable to both sides”. “The EU did not want Brexit. We respect the democratic, sovereign vote of the UK citizens, and now we try to limit the damage for both parties, by preparing a future partnership” with a third country. The issues the European Union would like to regulate are extremely complex, ranging from the rights of citizens (4.5 million Europeans living in the UK), to the single market, to relations between the two Irelands, to London’s financial obligations to the EU (a 40 billion bill). During the debate, the views expressed by MEPs were far from unanimous, with some supporting the negotiated deal as the best possible, others believing that the UK Parliament will not ratify it, and still others saying aloud (French MEP Gilles Lebreton, from Marine Le Pen’s Party): “Long live the British people, long live Brexit”.