New Year brings final UK-EU Brexit split

National

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson signs the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street, London Wednesday Dec. 30, 2020. The U.K. left the EU almost a year ago, but remained within the bloc’s economic embrace during a transition period that ends at midnight Brussels time —- 11 p.m. in London — on Thursday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel signed the agreement during a brief ceremony in Brussels on Wednesday morning then the documents were flown by Royal Air Force plane to London for Johnson to add his signature. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) – Like a separated couple still living together, Britain and the European Union spent 2020 wrangling and wondering whether they could be friends.

On Thursday, the U.K. is finally moving out. At 11 p.m. London time, Britain will economically and practically leave the the 27-nation bloc, 11 months after its formal political departure.

After more than four years of Brexit political drama, the day itself is something of an anticlimax. Lockdown measures to curb the new coronavirus variant have curtailed gatherings to celebrate or mourn.

Friday will bring big changes for businesses and individuals, with truckers and traders bracing for possible gridlock at English Channel ports once Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union.

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