An 11-month transition period starts from tomorrow to help London and Brussels define their new business relationship.
At 23:00 on Friday, Jan. 31, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union (EU), an economic integration agreement in which it remained for 47 years. This day will be celebrated by 52 percent of Britons who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum.
For proponents, Brexit is a dream "independence day" for the U.K. escaping what they cast as a doomed German-dominated project that is failing its 500 million population.
However, for 48 percent who voted to remain within the EU, the date represents a cause for discontent, which will be expressed through a march that will take place near Boris Johnson's official residence.
This conservative Prime Minister will try to conjure the division in the country with a speech scheduled for today at 22:00, in which he will give an optimistic note with an appeal to the unity of all Britons.
"The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not an end, but a beginning. A moment of true renewal and change," Johnson will say, according to excerpts from the address released by his office.
PM Johnson will stress that the break with the EU represents "the dawn of a new era" for the U.K.
For his part, Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn warned that his country is at a crossroads in which the way forward must be defined as soon as possible.
"We can build a truly diverse, internationalist and forward-looking U.K. or we can go back and deliver our principles, rights, and standards in exchange for guaranteeing one-sided trade agreements with Donald Trump and others," he said.
His party will ask Johnson's government for accounts on every step the country takes in negotiations with the EU, the U.S. or other countries. That way, Labor will try to protect the jobs and rights of British workers and consumers.
Anyway, the day has come! Special Brexit covers today.
As stipulated by the Withdrawal Treaty, which was approved by the British Parliament and the European Chamber, an 11-month transition period starts from tomorrow and will help London and Brussels define the terms of their new business relationship.
That means that very little will change for the British and Europeans until Dec. 31. Among other things, the U.K. will continue to pay its membership to Brussels, the free movement of people will continue as before, and medical insurance policies will still be valid on both sides of the English Channel.
The only immediately visible sign of the Brexit will be the empty chairs of the British parliamentarians in the Eurochamber and the absence of the representatives of the U.K. in the EU summits.
London plans to put into circulation a 50 pence commemorative coin with the legend "Peace, prosperity, and friendship with all nations" engraved on one of its faces.
Also, the color of the British passport will change because it will be blue again instead of the wine red introduced in 1988.