Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose Brexit support helped push the country out of the EU, said it was “an incredible time for this country”.
“We have our freedom in our hands, and it’s up to us to make the most of it,” he said in a New Years video message.
The breakup comes 11 months after a political Brexit that left the two parties in limbo for a ‘transition period’ – as a estranged couple still living together, arguing and wondering if they can remain friends. Now the UK has finally moved.
The UK reached a provisional trade deal with the EU more than four years after the Brexit vote. The deal is expected to provide stability as the divorce will become final on January 1. 2:08
It was a day some longed for and dreaded since Britain voted in a 2016 referendum to leave the EU, but it turned out to be sort of anti-climate.
UK lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus have curtailed mass gatherings to celebrate or mourn the moment, although Parliament’s huge Big Ben bell rang 11 times an hour as it prepared to ring the new year at midnight.
A free trade deal sealed on Christmas Eve after months of tense negotiations ensures that Britain and the 27 EU countries can continue to buy and sell products without tariffs or quotas. This should help protect the 660 billion pounds (C $ 1.15 trillion) in annual trade between the two parties and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on it.
But companies are facing new costs and red tape, including customs declarations and border controls. Traders are struggling to digest the new rules imposed by a 1,200-page trade deal that was reached just a week before the split.
The Channel Port of Dover and Eurotunnel’s passenger and freight route braced for delays with the introduction of the new measures, although the coronavirus pandemic and a holiday weekend resulted in light cross-Channel traffic , with only a trickle of trucks arriving at French border posts in Calais at the end of 2020. The vital supply route has been harassed for days after France closed its border to British truckers for 48 hours last week in response to a rapidly spreading variant of the virus identified in England.
The UK government has insisted that ‘the border systems and infrastructure we need are in place and we are ready for the UK’s fresh start’.
But the freight companies were holding their breath. Youngs Transportation in the UK has suspended services to the EU until January 11 “to let things work out.”
“We think this gives the country about a week to get used to all these new entry and exit systems, and we can take a look and hopefully resolve any issues before actually sending. our trucks, ”said company director Rob Hollyman.
The service sector, which accounts for 80% of the UK economy, doesn’t even know what the rules will be for doing business with the EU in 2021 – many details have yet to be worked out. Months and years of further discussion and argument on everything from fair competition to fishing quotas await as Britain and the EU settle into their new relationship as friends, neighbors and rivals.
Hundreds of millions of people in Britain and the bloc are also facing changes in their daily lives. The British and European citizens have lost the automatic right to live and work in each other’s territory. Now they will have to follow immigration rules and obtain work visas. Tourists won’t need visas for short trips, but new headaches – from travel insurance to pet papers – persist for Britons visiting the continent.