On Friday 31 January 2020 at 23:00 GMT, the United Kingdom left the EU in accordance with the withdrawal agreement, which was signed last week.
The exit is followed by an 11-month transition period so that both London and Brussels can settle pending economic issues, the most pressing of which are future trade relations.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and President of the European Parliament David Sassoli are assuring the audience that Brussels will continue to work together with London on various issues even after Brexit.
During the transition period, the UK will remain part of EU trade deals but will be able to negotiate new trade deals with other countries as well as with the bloc itself.
In addition to trade, the UK and the EU will have to hammer out the details of their relationship in security, fishing and other sectors.
According to Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, 11 months may not be enough to agree on all aspects of the future relationship.
The sentiment among Britons is reportedly mixed, because during the lengthy, almost four-year uncertainty that followed the Brexit referendum, both London and Brussels went from lively interest in withdrawal talks to a sort of a Brexit fatigue.
But the European Parliament on Wednesday bid farewell to Britain with a heartfelt rendition of the song “Auld Lang Syne” after approving the withdrawal agreement.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2020.