Brits living in Brussels who oppose Brexit hold candlelight vigil outside British embassy as transition period ends in Brussels (Reuters)
LONDON: The UK left the orbit of the European Union on Thursday, turning its back on a tumultuous 48-year affair with the European project for an uncertain post-Brexit future in its most important geopolitical shift since the loss of the empire.
Brexit, in essence, took place at the midnight strike in Brussels, or 11 p.m. London time (GMT), when the UK ended de facto membership, known as the transition period, which lasted 11 months after his formal departure on January. 31.
For five years, the frenzied roars of the Brexit crisis dominated European affairs, haunted the sterling markets and tarnished the UK’s reputation as a confident pillar of Western economic and political stability.
After years of vitriolic Brexit, one of the most significant events in European history since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, unfolded without much fanfare: the UK escaped, serenaded by the silence of the COVID-19 crisis.
Proponents make Brexit the dawn of a newly independent ‘Global Britain’, but it has weakened the bonds that unite England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in an economy of $ 3 trillion.
“This is an incredible time for this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his New Year’s Eve message. “We have our freedom in our hands and it’s up to us to make the most of it.”
As EU leaders and citizens bid farewell, Johnson said there would be no settlement to build a “British Dickensian negotiating basement” and that the country would remain the “European civilization by Excellency”.
But Johnson, the face of the Brexit campaign, lacked details on what he wants to build with ‘independence’ from Britain – or how to do it while borrowing record amounts to pay for the COVID crisis -19.
His 80-year-old father Stanley Johnson, who voted to stay in 2016, said he was in the process of applying for a French passport.
In the referendum on June 23, 2016, 17.4 million voters, or 52%, supported Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48%, supported staying in the bloc. Few people have changed their minds since. England and Wales voted against, but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted.
The referendum showed a UK divided over much more than the European Union and fueled an introspection on everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, the legacy of empire and what it means to be British now. .
Leaving was once the far-fetched dream of a motley crew of ‘Eurosceptics’ on the fringes of British politics: the UK became the ‘sick man of Europe’ in 1973 and two decades ago the Britons were arguing to join the euro. . It never has been.
But the turmoil of the eurozone crisis, attempts to integrate the EU further, fears over mass immigration and leaders’ discontent in London helped Brexiteers win the referendum with a message of patriotic hope. , although vague.
“We see a global future for ourselves,” said Johnson, who rose to power in 2019 and, against all odds, signed a divorce treaty and a Brexit trade deal, along with the larger Tory majority since Margaret Thatcher, in the 2019 election.
Supporters see Brexit as a loophole from a doomed Franco-German project that has stalled as the United States and China moved forward. Opponents say Brexit will weaken the West, further reduce Britain’s global influence, impoverish people and reduce its cosmopolitanism.
When the Great Bell known as Big Ben rang 11 through scaffolding, there was little outward emotion in Britain, as gatherings are banned under restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
Once the UK leaves the single market or customs union, there will almost certainly be border disruptions. More paperwork means more costs for those importing and exporting goods across the EU-UK border.
After months of negotiating a trade deal, the UK government released 70 pages of case studies hours before he left, briefing companies on the rules they should follow at the new UK-UK border. EU.
The port of Dover expects a drop in volumes at the beginning of January. The most worrying period, she says, will be from mid-January to the end of January when volumes pick up.
Support for Scottish independence has increased, partly because of Brexit and partly because of COVID-19, threatening the 300-year-old political union between England and Scotland.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has said an independence referendum is expected to take place in the first part of the decentralized parliament’s next term, which begins next year.
“Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on,” Sturgeon said.