The United Kingdom formally left the European Union (EU) at 11:00 pm (23:00 GMT) on Friday. The much-anticipated moment came 3 years after the process of Brexit had started. The UK which has been a member of the EU for close to 5 decades celebrated the night with symbolic gestures such as illumination of 10 Downing Street and the release of a commemorative 50p coin.
Johnson’s address to the Nation
In an address to the nation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “For many people, this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. ”
Tonight we have left the EU – an extraordinary turning point in the life of this country. Let us come together now to make the most of all the opportunities Brexit will bring – and let’s unleash the potential of the whole UK. ??
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 31, 2020
Johnson argued that Brexit Referendum held in 2016 was a moment of national renewal and change. He promised to use the “recaptured sovereignty of Britain” to control immigration, do free trade and liberate the fishing industry. Johnson envisioned that it would be an era of friendly cooperation between the EU and Britain.
He reiterated that it was his job to bring the country together and take it forward. The British PM also added, “When I look at the potential of this country waiting to be unleashed, I know that we can turn this opportunity into a stunning success”.
The UK will now enter a transition period during which it has to abide by the rules of the European Union. As many as 73 MEPs from the United Kingdom will lose their seats in the European Parliament. The British officials will not attend any EU summits.
The British passports will change to its original blue and gold design from the existing burgundy design. The Department for Exiting the European Union that was established by former PM Theresa May will also be closed down.
During the said transition that will last till December 31, the UK nationals will pay its share to the EU’s budget. The UK nationals can travel hassle-free across the EU’s member countries. Driving licences, pet passports and European Health Insurance Cards issued in the UK will stay valid across the EU States during the transition period.
The formal separation of the UK from the EU will have its ramifications on world politics. The United Kingdom will try to strike a deal with the European Union on a free trade agreement, security cooperation, new fishing arrangements and so on.
The UK will also start holding formal trade negotiations with other countries, something that it has been barred from while it was a member of the EU. Boris Johnson has to become the new power broker between the US and the EU. Favouring any side will strain the relationship with the other.
Boris Johnson had recently allowed Huwaei to build UK’s 5G network, thereby drawing the ire of the White House. A new demand for Scottish independence has been raised at the backdrop of Uk’s separation from the EU. Besides trade and diplomatic relations, the United Kingdom now faces major challenges to maintain its territorial integrity.