Four years after the official referendum that favoured Brexit, the UK on Friday finally left the European Union (EU). The UK and the EU will now enter a new phase of negotiations from February 1 to agree on how future relations between the two would turn out to be. During the 11 months transition period, UK will remain in EU customs union and single market.
This comes a week after Queen Elizabeth II approved the Government’s Brexit bill.
“Her Majesty the Queen has now granted #RoyalAssent to the #BrexitBill which therefore becomes the #BrexitAct,” Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay had said on Twitter adding that the accent enables “the UK to leave the EU on 31st Jan.”
For the unaware, the European Union is a pact between 28 European countries. Under the pact, the countries can indulge in free trade and free movement of people, to live and work in whichever partner country they choose.
The UK, which comprises four countries namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, post-Brexit will no more be able to indulge in free trade and free movement of people.
Meanwhile, many countries that together form the European Union are not happy about the UK’s exit. The EU’s most powerful leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron cast Brexit as a sad moment that was a turning point for Europe.
The US, on the other hand, has supported the Brexit. The US Secretary, Mike Pompeo, has said that Brexit is necessary as Britons wanted to escape the “tyranny of Brussels”.
The voting in the UK to decide whether to leave the EU or not was conducted on 23 June 2016. In a tight battle, as many as 52% of citizens favoured Brexit while 48% opposed the same. The referendum turnout was very high at 72%, with more than 30 million people voting.