At 11:00 p.m. on December 31, 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland finally left the European Union, forty-eight years after it had joined its predecessor organization, the European Economic Community. The United Kingdom left four and a half years after the binary referendum of June 23, 2016, when it had voted by 51.9 percent to 48.1 to do so, and eleven months after embarking on a “transition” while the United Kingdom and the European Union sought a post-departure “deal”—a term covering not only tariff-free trade, but also cooperation on matters such as security and crime and regulation. The European Union, which is already economically moribund, was worried that without continuing to impose a level of unnecessary regulation on the United Kingdom, the departing country would obtain a competitive advantage over the bloc. When a deal was finally concluded on...


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