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Britain is leaving the EU today. The hard part comes next

London (CNN)After three-and-a-half years, three prime ministers and seemingly endless votes in Parliament since the 2016 Brexit referendum, Britain finally becomes the first ever country to leave the European Union at 11:01 p.m. GMT on Friday.Despite this cataclysmic event, almost all of the immediate changes will be invisible to the public. The United Kingdom will enter the transition period that was agreed between the British government and the EU. And the terms of that agreement mean that for the next 11 months, the UK remains an EU member state in all but name. What actually happens tonight?The UK formally leaves the EU. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will address the nation in what can be presumed to be an optimistic message. Other Brexi ...