Britain exits EU's orbit after 48 years

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on January 1, 2021 - Duration: 01:35s

Britain exits EU's orbit after 48 years

The United Kingdom left the European Union's orbit on Thursday (December 31), turning its back on a tempestuous 48-year liaison with the European project for an uncertain post-Brexit future.

Flora Bradley-Watson reports.

Britain exits EU's orbit after 48 years

11pm in London, midnight in Brussels.

Britain's must famous bell rings out on New Years Eve to mark the end of the Brexit transition period, when the UK leaves the EU's single market and custom's union.

Celebrations were rather muted due to ongoing restrictions on gatherings, not to mention the divides in opinion over Britain's course.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his New Years message to hail a new dawn for the UK: "We have our freedom in our hands, and it is up to us to make the most of it.

And I think it will be the overwhelming instinct of the people of this country to come together as one United Kingdom - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland working together to express our values around the world.

But in Scotland, where support for independence has risen partly due to Brexit, First Minister Nicola Surgeon tweeted that they would be back soon and asked Europe to "Keep the Light On".

Meanwhile, across the channel in northern France, the first trucks hauling goods over the new customs border presented their clearance documents to French agents before loading onto a train to pass through the Eurotunnel.

British and European businesses have warned of future carnage at the border, as they learn to navigate a wall of red tape and paperwork that could disrupt the smooth flow of nearly 1 trillion euros in annual trade.

After almost half a century of EU membership, the British public have been told to brace themselves for changes to everything from pet passports and driving license rules to data restrictions.

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