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Britain officially leaves the European Union Friday after 47 years of membership

Britain officially left the European Union on Friday after 47 years of membership, according to AP News. This follows a 52%-48% vote to leave the union in June 2016. The historic moment was accompanied with celebration from some and anti-Brexit protests from others. Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Britain’s departure “a moment of real national renewal and change.” He also said “For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss.” There were many symbolic moments on Friday marking the Britain’s exit such as the Union flag being removed from the European Union institutions in Brussels, a 50p coin to mark the occasion entering circulation, and the building of the UK government’s delegation to the EU changed its name and sign.

Although the United Kingdom never seemed to be fully invested in the European Union, leaving altogether did not seem like a realistic option until recently. It gradually gained strength within the Conservative Party, which has a wing of strong opponents of EU membership. Overall, Britain’s big cities voted to stay in the EU, while small towns voted to leave. England and Wales backed Brexit, while Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain. The now 27-member EU will have to bounce back from one of its biggest setbacks in its 62-year history to confront an ever more complicated world as its former member becomes a competitor. French President Emmanuel Macron called Brexit a “historic alarm signal” that should force the EU to improve itself.

Britain and the European Union will now be entering into a transitional phase, with Britain still following most of the Union’s laws until the 31st of December. Britain will most likely enter into a time of bargaining with the Union, according to BBC. The country is aiming to sign a permanent free trade agreement with the Union, similar to the one the EU has with Canada. Many important deals may be made in the next couple of months regarding a free trade agreement, cooperation on security, and new arrangements for fishing are just some of the vital arguments that lie ahead.

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