Brexit: the UK opens a new page in its history, the British divided

The UK has passed the Brexit hour without effusions.


Text by: RFI Follow

5 mins

The United Kingdom permanently cuts ties with the EU on Friday, January 1 after four and a half years of a complicated saga.

This epilogue opens a new chapter in the history of the country facing the Covid-19 health crisis.

The British remain equally divided on Brexit.

If the "Brexiters" are happy to regain their sovereignty, the "Remainers", they express their sadness.


Read more

With our correspondent in London,

Muriel Delcroix

At 11 p.m. this Thursday, December 31 - midnight in Brussels - without the slightest effusion within a massively confined population, the country ceased to apply EU rules, leaving the single market and the customs union.

After 47 years of stormy European integration and after four and a half years of twists and turns following the 2016 referendum, this is the culmination of Brexit, official since January 31 but with the effects postponed by a transitional period intended to cushion the shock.

In an editorial published in the

Daily Telegraph

, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, great architect of Brexit, assures that 2021 will be " 

a year of change and hope

 ", praising the free trade agreement concluded before Christmas with Brussels.

For us, this means the end of the spiteful quarrels over Europe that have poisoned our policy for so long

," he pleads. 

For our friends, that certainly does not mean that they have lost us, let alone our appetite for their Maseratis or their Gewurtztraminer


Very divided Brexiters

The British are still divided.

Overall, Brexiters are happy to regain their sovereignty.


I have always thought since the 1970s

that we should never have joined the European bloc, the European Economic Community yes, but not the EU.

I think it was a disaster and there are a lot of other countries that think the same, so no regrets!

 », Explains this London retiree met by

our correspondent in London

Muriel Delcroix


On Brexit, " 

it's happened, it's time to move on now and we'll see what happens


Each professional sector has to face different challenges every day and must adapt to keep moving forward.

I don't know all the details of the deal, but what's done is done.

I'm sure the fishermen will complain a lot, but the fishery is such a tiny part of the economy, I don't understand why people are so agitated.

And anyway it's like that, life goes on!


►Also read: Brexit: what changes (or not) for trade on January 1

Some Brexiters still bitterly regret their decision like this 30-something Londoner, married to a French woman and father of a binational little boy.

The man struggled to admit at the



 that he had voted for Brexit in 2016. “ 

I believe that communication was very poorly done when people voted and I believe that it has divided people a lot. .

But hey, it's done, 

”he explains.

And on his feelings at the time of the divorce with the EU?


I'm sad because we didn't need to come to this.

I think a lot of sane people realized this was a joke and we voted for something that was not well defined at the start and the result is disappointing, especially for my little boy but at least it will be easier for him because he has a double passport.

 The 30-something says he is worried about the British financial markets “

 which have been an important player



The City is losing employees leaving London and I think it was an extremely confusing vote where no one really understood the stakes, 

” he says.

In catastrophic anti-Brexit

The Remainers, those who were against Brexit, are devastated.

I voted against, I hate Brexit, the majority of our trade is with the EU, it's a stupid idea to want to go back to a 1930s or 1960s UK. It's living in the past to think that we are an isolated and sovereign nation, it's just weird,

 ”said the Londoner, at the microphone of

Muriel Delcroix



Services and finance bring more to our country than any other sector: what is fishing?

0.1% of our GDP is not important.

I am so, absolutely, just plain disgusted with what we voted for.

I really wanted to stay in Europe, that doesn't make sense.

Besides, I think

Scotland should take its independence

and join the EU,

 ”he said.

He also did not hesitate to turn into irony and

so British




But I want something more extreme: I want independence for London!

I would like to go back to an old medieval city-state, build a wall around the ring road and there, we will renegotiate with Europe!

 He declared.

► To read also: Brexit: the House of Commons adopts the agreement by an overwhelming majority


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  • United Kingdom

  • European Union

  • Brexit

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