Eleven months after leaving the EU, the United Kingdom is now also leaving the EU internal market and the customs union. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of a “great moment” for his country.
Great Britain and the European Union finally divorce: Eleven months after leaving the EU, the United Kingdom is leaving the EU internal market and the customs union. The transition period is now over – “a great moment for Great Britain,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his New Years address. Great Britain can now do things differently – “and if necessary better than our friends in the EU”.
“We have our freedom in our hands and it’s up to us to make the most of it.” Great Britain will in future be an “open, generous” and internationally oriented country that is committed to free trade.
Gibraltar becomes part of the Schengen area
A few hours before the final completion of Brexit, the last stumbling blocks were cleared out of the way. The governments in London and Madrid reached an agreement in principle on the future rules for Gibraltar. The provisions of the Schengen Agreement will apply to the British exclave in the future.
The rules for border traffic for the British exclave Gibraltar in the south of the Iberian Peninsula were controversial to the end. Since the rules of the Schengen area are now to apply, border crossings are still possible without passport control. Without the agreement, the border between Gibraltar and Spain would have become a “hard border” between Great Britain and the EU from January 1st.
French President Emmanuel Macron also addressed Brexit in his New Year’s address. Great Britain will continue to be a close partner of France, Macron said. “The UK remains our neighbor, our friend and our ally.” At the same time, he emphasized that France’s fate lies first in Europe.
No tariffs in the future either
Great Britain had already left the EU at the end of January 2020. The trade and partnership agreement negotiated with the EU at the last minute is now intended to avoid a hard break. The most important point is that no customs duties or quantity restrictions will apply in the trade in goods. In addition, the almost 1,250-page contract regulates many other topics, including fishing and cooperation in energy, transport, justice, and the police.
As a result, Great Britain remains bound by European standards in several areas. Still, there are big changes. In the future, controls will be necessary at borders because standards have to be checked, including for agricultural products. For citizens, the possibility of simply moving is over. The visa exemption for travel will also be limited in time in future.