AFP: Divorce has been pronounced between the EU and the UK

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The divorce was pronounced. After 47 years of tumultuous community life, the United Kingdom became the first country to leave the European Union on Friday to write a new chapter, rich in uncertainty, of its history, reports France Presse, according to Agerpres.
This time it’s over, writes AFP. It took three years of disputes for this big leap into the unknown, approved by 52% of British people in 2016, to materialize.
The United Kingdom must now face the difficult task of building relations with the bloc reduced to 27 and amputated by 66 million inhabitants, but also with great powers such as the US.
Among the first foreign officials to respond, US diplomatic chief Mike Pompeo promised in a Twitter post “to strengthen already strong relations” with his historic ally.
In front of the London Parliament, after a countdown triggered 30 seconds before the fateful hour, thousands of people exuded, applauded and sang the national anthem.
“Great”, “incredible”, enthused Karen Ollerton, a pensioner from the north of the country. “We are surrounded by optimism,” she added, expressing her hope that “we will all be able to live in peace” and that the UK will conclude “good trade agreements”.
“I did it,” exclaimed the crowd-pleasing Europhobic Nigel Farage.
In the Eurosceptic north of England, in the town of Morley, which voted 60% for Brexit, the exit was celebrated with great pomp, with British flags and fireworks. “We’ve been waiting for this since 2016,” retired Joshua Spencer, a 25-year-old student.
Shortly before the official exit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson predicted that Brexit would be a “resounding success”, “no matter what the obstacles.”
“The most important thing to be said tonight is that it is not an end, but a beginning. The time of a new dawn and the curtain rising for a new act of our great national history,” he said, promising “the beginning a new era of friendly cooperation “with the European Union.
Trade, security, fisheries … With Brussels, the terms of cooperation must be defined by the end of the year. In the weeks following the negotiations, which are announced very difficult, they will start, and their outcome remains very uncertain.
The event marks a new episode in which everything remains to be defined, but the divisions that have fractured the United Kingdom have not disappeared. The adherents of the EU remain so-called “remainers”, with a bitter taste, especially in the British provinces that have voted for the majority in the EU, such as Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Scotland will return to the heart of Europe as an independent country,” Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter to fight London’s refusal to authorize a referendum on independence.
In Edinburgh, the EU flag will continue to be flown after Brexit in front of the local parliament, where hundreds of people gathered on Friday night to express their opposition to the country’s exit from the EU.
“It is a shame” for Scotland to leave the EU against its will, believes Joe Harrow, a 62-year-old tour guide.
At 55, Boris Johnson can enjoy Brexit as a victory, after being elected by a large majority in December on the basis of this promise. He succeeded where his predecessor Theresa May failed.
Avoiding any triumphalism, the British prime minister insisted in front of his ministers on the desire to “turn the page of divisions” and to work with all the powers to close the country together.
From Brussels to Berlin and Paris, European leaders expressed their regret and determination to reach the “best possible partnership” after the Brexit that struck the European dream. “A historic alarm signal” that must “make us reflect,” warned French President Emmanuel Macron.
Even if it was a historical one, the day will not bring much concrete changes in the next period. In order for the separation to take place quietly, the United Kingdom will continue to apply European rules until 31 December 2020.
But what is more difficult is just following. These are the complex negotiations on the links that will unite London and Brussels in trade, security or fisheries after the transitional period.
London wants to conclude in record time, before the end of the year, and excludes any extension of the transition beyond 2020. A calendar considered very tight by Brussels.
Boris Johnson, who will present his vision early next week, has already made it clear that he wants a free-trade agreement of the same kind as the one signed by the EU with Canada, without complying with EU rules.
Brussels, fearing unfair competition, has already warned: without “fair conditions” in terms of environment, labor or taxation, it will not exist “widespread access to the single market “.

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