The United Kingdom officially exited from the European Union (EU) Friday following a public vote held in June 2016. The 2016 referendum found 17.4 million people, about 52 percent of voters, opting for the exit.
The EU is an economic and political union involving 28 European countries and allows free trade between member countries without any checks or extra charges. The EU also allows free movement of people granting them the freedom to live and work in whichever country they choose.
The UK joined in 1973 when the EU was known as the European Economic Community and it’s the first member state to withdraw.
While the UK agreed to the terms of its EU departure, both sides still need to negotiate on what their future relationship will look like. Decisions will occur during the following 11 month transition period starting today.
The 11 mont transitional period is set to give both sides some breathing space while a new free trade agreement is negotiated.
If a new agreement can’t be reached, the UK faces trade tariffs (taxes) on UK goods travelling to the EU and other trade blockades.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists that this 11 month transition period will not be extended and the European Commission has warned that the timetable will be extremely challenging.
Featured image: Pro Brexit protesters demonstrate with placards outside the Houses of Parliament, Westminster on December 10, 2018 in London, England. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images)