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Britain officially leaves the EU

The united kingdom officially left the EU Friday, January 31 6.01 P.M EST,after 47 years of membership.Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, Britain now enters a transition period until the end of 2020, meaning London will abide by most EU laws while their future relationship is hashed out.

Johnson must now achieve a trade deal with the EU – the world’s largest trading bloc – within 11 months but his wider mission will be to find a way to repair the country’s divisions caused by differences in opinions that have sparked ugly protests and clashes between pro- and anti- Europe demonstrators.

According to Scott Lucas,a professor of internal politics at the University of Birmingham, who spoke to Al Jazeera, “We are only going into the tough negotiations with the European Union – on the economic relationship; on the status of Northern Ireland; on industry, agriculture, banking and finance, even on basics such as will Britons have health insurance in Europe? What are the rights of EU citizens living here and of UK citizens living in Europe?”

However, the prime minister Boris Johnson remains hopeful that the exit was the “right, healthy and democratic thing to do”. Mr Johnson addressed the country in a pre-recorded message an hour before formal departure, saying Brexit was not an ending, “but a beginning” for the UK.

Brexit supporters celebrating the exit (Kirsty Wigglesworth)
count down to the exit
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