UK Leaves European Union After 47 years

The United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union, a political and economic bloc bringing together 28 member states in Europe. The UK has been a Member of the European Union for 47 years.  

The decision to quit EU followed a referendum, commonly referred to as the EU referendum, or the Brexit referendum held in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016. It was followed by a three-year process which climaxed with the signature of the withdrawal agreement by the EU and the United Kingdom on January 24 January and the European Parliament’s vote of consent on January 29, 2020. 

The withdrawal agreement ensures an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union. It covers citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, a transition period, protocols on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Gibraltar, governance and other separation issues.  

The withdrawal agreement will enter into force upon the UK’s exit from the EU, on 31 January 2020 at midnight. From that time on, the UK will no longer be an EU member state and will be considered as a third country. The exit leaves the European Union with 27 members. 

However, the exit has drawn mixed reactions at the EU headquarters with some describing it as a sad day for Europe. 

Charles Michel, the President of the European Council in a message via Twitter said “It’s never a happy moment when someone leaves but we are opening a new chapter. We will devote all our energy to building a stronger, more ambitious #EU. With 27 strong democracies, strong values, freedoms, 22 million businesses, and the biggest single market. 

While others have hoped that the UK could return to the EU, the leader of the Brexit Party, Nigel Farage made it clear that that won’t in his address to the EU Parliament. 

The UK exit from the EU could have fresh negotiations between the UK and other countries like Uganda. The Germany Ambassador to Uganda, Dr Albrecht Conze in remarks at his residence regretted that the EU was losing one of its members.  

During the transition period, the UK will continue to apply Union law but it will no longer be represented in the EU institutions. The transition period can be extended once for a period of up to one or two years, if both sides agree to this before 1 July 2020.  

The negotiations on the future partnership between the EU and the UK will start once the UK has left the EU. The framework for this future relationship was set out in the political declaration agreed by both sides in October 2019.     

As Britain leaves, the EU is embarking on a new ambitious deal commonly known as the Green Deal for Europe. The EU Commission on Thursday adopted its 2020 Work Programme as part of the efforts to deliver the green deal. The Green deal aims at tackling some of the generational challenges such as climate change, digitization and migration.

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Abitegeka Gerald

The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio

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