Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Uncategorized

Brexit Finally Went Down — So What the Hell Happens Now?

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.After one referendum, three different prime ministers, two general elections, one shiny new Brexit coin, and 1,316 days, the United Kingdom has finally left the European Union. But rather than a bang, the U.K. left with a whimper. For all the political turmoil…

Brexit Finally Went Down — So What the Hell Happens Now?

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.

After one referendum, three different prime ministers, two general elections, one shiny new Brexit coin, and 1,316 days, the United Kingdom has finally left the European Union.

But rather than a bang, the U.K. left with a whimper.

For all the political turmoil and existential angst that have engulfed Britain over the last four years, in the end, almost nothing will change — for now. Trade and travel will continue as normal. U.K. citizens will still be free to travel around the EU without a visa. London will still be governed by Brussels’ rules, and the European Court of Justice will still have final say over the U.K.’s legal affairs.

Unfortunately for those hoping that Brexit would mark the end of the seemingly never ending drama, Friday starts what’s likely to be years of tortuous negotiations and trade deals as the U.K. attempts to establish links with every other country in the world.

Boris Johnson, who hosted a Brexit party on Downing Street Friday night — one with roast beef, blue cheese, and English sparkling wine on the menu — addressed the nation just before the formal departure at 11 p.m. local time (6 p.m. ET).

“The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” Johson said. “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act. It is a moment of real national renewal and change.”

Muted celebrations went down across Britain on Friday. Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party, organized the highest-profile public event, a “Leave Means Leave” party in Parliament Square in central London. But pro-EU protesters sought to disrupt the event and held up placards saying “We’ll be back.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

In Brussels, lawmakers joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne to see off the departing U.K. members of parliament. They wanted Brexit to happen without much fanfare. The EU, which fought the U.K. on every point of the deal, just lost one of its most important economic, diplomatic, and military powers.

What changes?

For Britons waking up on Saturday morning, life will pretty much continue as normal.

But some things will change. The U.K.’s 73 members of the European parliament are now out of a job, and Johnson and his ministers won’t be automatically invited to EU Council summits.

Most importantly for many Brexiteers, Britain’s passports will now be blue rather than purple.

Saturday marks the first day of an 11-month transition period during which the U.K. remains obliged to follow EU rules and pay into the EU budget. At the end of the period, however, major changes could happen, depending on the outcome of negotiations with the EU and other countries.

Without a free-trade agreement in place, the U.K. would leave the single market and customs union on Dec. 31. That would mean taxes would automatically levied on all goods leaving the U.K. for the EU.

The outcome of the talks will impact how easily Britons can travel and work in other EU countries and whether or not they will need visas. The negotiations will also decide how a wide range of other sectors will work, including fishing rights, regulation of medical products, law enforcement cooperation, intelligence sharing, electricity supply, and crucially, access to the EU’s single market.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Page 1 of 2
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2020 Tribune Media LLC