LONDON: The United Kingdom left the orbit of the European Union on Thursday, leaving behind a stormy 48-year link with the European project for an uncertain post-Brexit future in the most significant geopolitical change since the loss of the empire.
Brexit essentially took place at the midnight strike in Brussels, or 2300 London Time (GMT), when the United Kingdom ended de facto accession, known as the transitional period, which lasted 11 months after he officially left in January. 31.
For five years, the frantic shocks of the Brexit crisis have dominated European affairs, haunted sterling markets and tarnished the UK’s reputation as a confident pillar of Western economic and political stability.
After years of Brexit vitriol, one of the most significant events in European history since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, passed with little fanfare: the United Kingdom slipped, quietly silenced by the COVID-19 crisis.
Proponents have called Brexit the dawn of a newly independent “global Britain”, but it has weakened ties between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with a $ 3 trillion economy.
“This is an amazing time for this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his New Year’s message. “We have freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it.”
While EU leaders and citizens said goodbye, Johnson said there would be no regulatory fire to build a “negotiable Dickensian Britain basement” and that the country would remain “the European civilization par excellence.”
But Johnson, in the face of the Brexit campaign, had no details on what he wants to build with Britain’s “independence” – or how to do it while borrowing record amounts to pay for the COVID-19 crisis.
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 June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 52%, supported Brexit, while 16.1 million, or 48%, said they remain a bloc. Few have changed their minds since then. England and Wales voted, but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted.
The referendum showed a much more divided United Kingdom than the European Union and fueled the soul by searching for everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, the legacy of the empire and what it means to be British now.
Leaving was once the extremely straightforward dream of a motley team of “Eurosceptics” on British politics: Britain joined in 1973 as “Europe’s sick man” and two decades ago, British leaders were arguing over whether to join the euro. . He never did.
But the turmoil of the eurozone crisis, further attempts at EU integration, fears about mass immigration and dissatisfaction with London’s leaders have helped Brexiteers win the referendum with a message of patriotic hope, albeit vague.
“We see a global future for ourselves,” said Johnson, who won power in 2019 and, against all odds, concluded a Brexit divorce treaty and a trade deal, as well as Margaret Thatcher’s largest Conservative majority, in the 2019 elections.
Proponents see Brexit as an escape from a doomed Franco-German project that has stalled as the US and China move forward. Opponents say Brexit will weaken the West, further reduce Britain’s global influence, make people poor and diminish its cosmopolitanism.
When the Big Bell, known as Big Ben, reached 11 through a scaffold, there were few outward manifestations of emotion in Britain, as rallies are banned under the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.
After the United Kingdom leaves the single market or customs union, it is almost certain that there will be some border disturbances. More bureaucracy means higher costs for those who import and export goods across the EU-UK border.
After arguing over a trade deal on Monday, the British government published 70 pages of case studies a few hours before it left, informing companies of the rules they should follow at the new UK-EU border.
Port of Dover expects volumes to decline in early January. The most worrying period, it is said, will be in the middle until the end of January, when volumes will increase again.
Support for Scotland’s independence has grown, partly due to Brexit and partly due to COVID-19, threatening the 300-year-old political union between England and Scotland.
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has said an independence referendum should take place ahead of parliament’s next term, which begins next year.
“Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on,” Sturgeon said.