After many years of debate, the United Kingdom has officially left the European Union. The official departure comes over three years after the referendum that decided the fate of the union, and left many people in the country bitterly divided.
The United Kingdom is the first nation to withdraw from the European Union in the 47-year history of the superstate. Next, the country will go through an 11-month transition period, where trade negotiations with the EU will be finalized. The occasion was a cause for celebration for some, and a moment of despair for others, depending on their political leanings. There was a large Brexit party at Parliament Square in London, although fireworks and live music were banned. Meanwhile, many UK residents sat at home in disappointment for both their government and their neighbors.
In a pre-recorded speech, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama. And yes it is partly about using these new powers – this recaptured sovereignty – to deliver the changes people voted for. Whether that is by controlling immigration or creating freeports or liberating our fishing industry or doing free trade deals. Or simply making our laws and rules for the benefit of the people of this country.”
Johnson went on to say that the current action was the “right and healthy and democratic thing to do,” and that the EU no longer suits the needs of the UK.
The negotiations that will decide the fate of economic relations between the UK and the EU will begin on March 3. The result of these negotiations will have an impact on the entire world’s economy, and an even greater impact within the UK and EU.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, vowed to declare independence for Scotland so it could enter the European Union as an independent country. As expected, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to grant Scotland another vote on independence.
Scotland previously voted against independence in a referendum in 2014, and Johnson wants to continue to honor that vote. However, critics of Brexit in Scotland say that the radical change in conditions for the country justifies a fresh vote.
Nigel Farage, who many consider as the architect of Brexit, celebrated the recent change with a crowd in London’s Parliament Square as the UK officially became its own nation once again.
Farage told his followers that the Brexit vote was “the greatest democratic mandate ever seen in this country.”
“We did it, we did it!! We know that this is the single most important moment in the modern history of our great nation…We will not take orders from them,” he shouted to the audience that assembled in London’s Parliament Square.
What do you think about Brexit? Is it a step in the right direction for the UK, or is it a huge mistake?