The United Kingdom on Thursday exits from the European Union, leaving a 48-year liaison with the European project. It is entering an uncertain Brexit future that will shape the fortunes of its people for generations to come.
In essence, Brexit takes place at the strike of midnight in Brussels, or at 2300 London time (GMT). That’s when the United Kingdom leaves de-facto membership that continued after it formally left the bloc on Jan. 31.
The frenzied gyrations of the Brexit crisis have dominated European affairs for five years. It haunted the sterling markets and tarnished the UK’s reputation as a confident pillar of Western economic and political stability.
Brexit has weakened the bonds that bind England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together into a $3 trillion economy. It is cast by supporters as the dawn of a newly independent “global Britain”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Brexit is not an end but a beginning. This was his statement to the parliament just hours before it approved his EU trade deal.
He said there would be no bonfire of regulation to build a “bargain basement Dickensian Britain”. Furthermore, he assured Europe that the United Kingdom would remain the “quintessential European civilization”.
The face of the Brexit campaign, however, has been short on detail. That is of what he wants to build with the United Kingdom’s new “independence”. Moreover, how to do it while borrowing record amounts to pay for the COVID-19 crisis.
U.S. to Raise Tariffs on Certain EU Products
Meanwhile in other economic news, the U.S. government said Wednesday it would raise tariffs on certain European Union products. Those include aircraft components and wines from France and Germany. It’s the latest twist in a 16-year battle over aircraft subsidies between Washington and Brussels.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in a statement, said it’s adding tariffs on aircraft manufacturing parts. It’s also adding tariffs on certain non-sparkling wines as well as cognacs and other brandies from France and Germany.