After almost half a century, the United Kingdom is finally out of the European Union. The Union Jack has been removed from the regional bloc’s headquarters in Brussels. Now Britain has embarked on an uncertain future outside Europe.
Britain became the first member state to leave an organisation that was established to promote unity after the Second World War and tenhance globalisation through the free movement of goods, money, and manpower. Legally Britain is out and has entered an eleven-month transition period negotiated as part of the divorce agreement. British citizens will be able to work in the EU and trade freely, although the UK will no longer be represented in the bloc’s institutions.
Finally, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson can take a sigh of relief. He will be remembered, for better or worse, as the man who made Brexit happen. The long-stalled departure was finally complete after a divisive election which paved the way for Brexit. There was literally a party at his Downing Street office just as the clock projected outside counted the final moments.
In a televised address to the nation, PM Johnson admitted that this is not an end but a beginning. He hailed it a new era of friendly cooperation while acknowledging that there might be bumps ahead. The atmosphere of uncertainty is still looming but the political gridlock and acrimony are over. Johnson said that Britain can look after itself, and doesn’t need Europe.
More will be known with the passage of time as Britain carves a new path for itself, but what is certain is that Brexit exposed the deep divisions in British society, and the consequences of ending relationships with European neighbours. There are still 3.6 million EU citizens who live in the UK, and millions of Britons on the continent who will still live in fear and uncertainty.
Europe will have to ponder on losing a member with 66 million inhabitants, one of the most powerful economies in the world and considerable diplomatic clout. However, the relationship is not over as yet for both sides will have to agree on future relations and negotiate a trade agreement that will commence right away.
UK is now free to strike trade deals around the world and US President Donald Trump happens to be a keen Brexit supporter. Both Johnson and Trump are immensely polarising figures but have been entrusted the leadership of two of the biggest economic economies. Some considered it an exciting new era but this also provokes soul searching for the future of the world as global order is now under threat.