There were scenes of celebration in London at 12am on Saturday morning as the United Kingdom officially left the European Union, finally giving effect to the result of the referendum on EU membership held in June 2016.
The UK has been a member of the EU bloc for 47 years, therefore British citizens couldn’t hide their excitement as thousands of people waved British flags in London’s Parliament Square to mark Brexit.
After 31 January 2020, there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period although the UK will no longer be represented in the bloc’s institutions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday morning promised to unite the UK in a new era of prosperity, predicting a “new era of friendly cooperation” with the EU while Britain takes a greater role globally.
“The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end but a beginning,” he said in a televised address.
The European Commission resulting to the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc said;
“We want to have the best possible relationship with the United Kingdom, but it will never be as good as membership,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday morning in Brussels.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said:
The United Kingdom will remain a key partner for the European Union. I look forward to what I hope will be a very close cooperation with our British friends on our common challenges at the regional and global level.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, reacting to the withdraw said:
‘I am pleased the UK and EU have agreed on a Brexit deal that honours the will of the British people. We will continue building upon our strong, productive, and prosperous relationship with the UK as they enter this next chapter.’