Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Ambassadors in the European Union met Friday to discuss the new Brexit trade agreement and prepare for the next steps to give it legal force with just a week left in the transition period.
The Christmas Day meeting with members of the group of EU ambassadors in Brussels updated the alliance on the next steps in getting the deal approved in a tight window, with European Parliament already gone for the holiday season.
Negotiators reached the permanent trade accord on Thursday after months of oft-stalled discussions and in the face of a hard deadline at the end of Dec. 31.
A spokesman for the ambassadors, Sebastian Fischer, said member states could decide on whether to proceed with ratification known as a "provisional application," in the coming days.
Approval allows the trade agreement to be enforced temporarily on Jan. 1, when the transition period ends, without the need for Parliament to return. The deal would then be reviewed in earnest when European Parliament returns next month.
Implementing the trade deal on a provisional basis will prevent British EU businesses from tariffs and limits for what they can export in the interim.
European Parliament decided to go the provisional route instead of holding a vote of consent before Jan. 1 to give members a chance to go over the 1,200-page pact.
Keir Starmer, leader of Britain's opposition Labor Party, said he's urging Parliament members to vote with the Conservatives in favor of the deal. Some analysts expect at least a few Labor leaders might object.
Britain's Parliament has been recalled for Dec. 30, but London still faces a high-level lockdown brought on by a new COVID-19 variant.