The United Kingdom officially parted ways with the European Union on Thursday evening, bringing a contentious, 11-month transition period to an end and setting the nation on a new, separate path. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a fierce Brexit supporter, called it “an amazing moment for this country.” “We have our freedom in our hands, and it is up to us to make the most of it,” he told the country in a video on New Year’s Eve. The U.K. voted to leave the 27-nation bloc back in 2016, finally reaching a free trade deal on Christmas Eve of this year. The deal—made at the very last minute after months of acrimonious negotiations—allows the EU and Britain to continue exchanging goods without heavy tariffs and quotas. But many specifics of their new relationship still need to be hashed out in the coming months, and rules for some businesses remain unclear.
“The United Kingdom remains our neighbor but also our friend and ally,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address on New Year’s Eve. “This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises.”