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Brexit is official. Here’s what happens next


Brexit finally means Brexit. The United Kingdom has officially left the European Union.

The withdrawal took place at 11 p.m. London time on Friday after EU lawmakers approved a deal in Parliament earlier in the week.

“For many people, this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video address. “And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss.

“And then there’s a third group — perhaps the biggest — who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end.”

The deal was achieved after Johnson’s Conservatives were elected to a majority in the House of Commons in December. It ends a three-and-a-half-year period of political gridlock and pandemonium that was sparked by the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Though the U.K. will no longer be an EU member state or have a say within the bloc as of Feb. 1, the Brexit story is far from over.

In fact, rather than closing the book on the divorce deal, the agreement marks the start of a new chapter in the saga.

Here’s a look at what comes next and the questions that remain:

One of the components of the deal established between the U.K. and Brussels is that there will be an 11-month transition period during which all rules and regulations stay the same while the two parties work to hammer out the rest of the Brexit deal, which will tackle contentious issues such as trade, travel, fisheries and immigration.

They have an agreement to carry forward what the arrangements were between Britain and the European Union for the freedom of movement of capital, goods, services and people,” said Mel Cappe, a former high commissioner for Canada to the United Kingdom.

“But that only lasts until Dec. 31.”

That transition period can be extended by a year or two, if both the EU and the U.K. agree to do so by July 1.

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