EU Leaders. Photo: EUobserver

European Union (EU) leaders have approved an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal and future relations, insisting it is the “best and only deal possible”.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

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The EU officially endorsed the terms of the UK’s withdrawal during a short meeting in Brussels in Belgium, bringing to an end negotiations which began in March 2017.

After 20 months of negotiations, the 27 leaders gave the deal their blessing after less than an hour’s discussion.

They said the deal – which needs to be approved by the UK Parliament – paved the way for an “orderly withdrawal”.

Theresa May said the deal “delivered for the British people” and set the UK “on course for a prosperous future”.

Speaking in Brussels, she urged both Leave and Remain voters to unite behind the agreement, insisting the British public “do not want to spend any more time arguing about Brexit”.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said anyone in Britain who thought the bloc might offer improved terms if MPs rejected the deal would be “disappointed”.

But European Council President Donald Tusk, who broke the news of the agreement on Twitter, said he would not speculate on what would happen in such a situation, saying: “I am not a fortune teller.”