Through the Brexit looking glass: What changes and what stays the same?

LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit is the United Kingdom’s biggest geopolitical move in decades. What will change and what will stay the same when Britain officially leaves the European Union on Friday at 2300 GMT?

FILE PHOTO: British flags are seen in The Mall street in London, Britain January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo


While the United Kingdom remains a member in all but name, it loses its vote in the meetings in Brussels that ultimately decide EU policy on matters ranging from financial services to the definition of a European-made car.

The United Kingdom accounts for about 15% of the EU’s economy and is its biggest military spender, and the City of London is the world’s international financial capital. But the United Kingdom’s economy is worth about $2.7 trillion (£2 trillion) economy, so is much smaller than the EU’s current $18.3 trillion economy.

Brussels will try to discern exactly how Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to overhaul the United Kingdom: will he try to build a competitor just outside the EU by turbo-charging the economy and the City of London?


British and EU citizens will continue to have the right to live and work in each other’s countries until the end of the year because both sides agreed a transition period which preserves membership in all but name until 2021.

The British government has told the estimated 3.5 million EU citizens living in Britain that they have until at least the end of the December to register to retain their rights.

Johnson has said he will introduce an Australian points-based immigration system after Brexit which he says would allow talent


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