The United Kingdom finally leaves the European Union

Brexit, United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the European Union (EU), occurred January 31, 2020 after three years of back and forth referendum, a couple prime ministers and 43 years of membership. The UK includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The EU allows its citizens to live or work in any EU country. 

“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 us unleash the potential of the whole UK,” said Johnson on his Twitter January 31. 

Those for Brexit wanted more UK sovereignty and didn’t want the EU regulatory bodies to take away power from the people. Along with sovereignty, they wanted more control over immigration. Many are concerned about the integration of large groups of immigrants into British society. 

Since Brexit passed, the UK is now in an 11 month transition period, also known as an implementation period, that will end December 31, 2020. During this period, the UK will continue to follow the EU’s rules and maintain the same trade relationship. Simultaneously, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will negotiate a new trade deal with the EU. A new deal will allow UK goods to travel freely within the EU without extra tariffs and other trade barriers. Both sides will also need to decide data sharing, access fishing waters, security, aviation standards and safety, regulation and licensing of medicines, law enforcement and more. Johnson wants to complete these talks within the transition period and not extend the time frame, but the European Commission, a branch of the EU that proposes legislation, upholds laws and treaties and manages daily business, disagrees. 

“The UK government, having spent nearly four years deciding what it doesn’t want – to be members of the EU, have now given themselves less than a year to decide what they do want – in the shape of EU and US trade deals. It is a huge challenge, particularly in such a short time,” said David Henig, the UK director of the European Centre for International Political Economy think-tank, to media network Al Jazeera. 

Prime Minister Johnson is hopeful about the outcome of Brexit and the future relationship between Britain and the EU, according to his televised address.