Britain left the European Union on Friday after 47 years of membership, taking a leap into the unknown
The United Kingdom faces an uncertain future as it left the European Union after years of political wrangling that followed the Brexit vote in 2016. The country now enters a transition period during which it will retain many of the privileges of membership, but have no say on rule-making.
In a message from nearby 10 Downing St., Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Britain’s departure “a moment of real national renewal and change.”
Brexit will reinvigorate the UK’s “power of independent thought and action”, the prime minister claimed.
While Britain’s exit is a historic moment, it only marks the end of the first stage of Brexit. When Britons wake up on Saturday, they will notice very little change. The U.K. and the EU have given themselves an 11-month “transition period” — in which the U.K. will continue to follow the bloc’s rules — to strike new agreements on trade, security and a host of other areas.
French President Emmanuel Macron called Brexit a “historic alarm signal” that should force the EU to improve itself.
“It’s a sad day, let’s not hide it,” he said in a televised address. “But it is a day that must also lead us to do things differently.”