Brexit / videoNew customs and border measures between the European Union and the United Kingdom began at midnight. The British left the European internal market at 11 pm UK time and are now, four years after the Brexit referendum, are in fact on their feet.
In the port cities of Dover and Calais, the new rules apply to persons and shipping companies who wish to import or export to Great Britain. The UK itself has announced that it is ready to make major changes to the border with the European Union, which will take effect at midnight. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday night that the UK has “freedom in its hands” and should make the most of it.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicolas Sturgeon informed Europe in the middle of the night that he would be back soon. “Scotland will be back soon,” she said on Twitter. The Scottish prime minister wants a second referendum on Scottish independence this year.
The UK’s departure from the European Trade Area was announced at 11 pm local time as Big Ben chimes in London. The agreement between Great Britain and the European Union was approved by the British House of Representatives and the Senate last Wednesday. The Big Ben has undergone a major restoration since 2017, but on this historic day, the bells are hung again.
The United Kingdom did leave the European Union at the end of January, but was bound by existing agreements with the Qatari bloc until the end of this year. The lack of new agreements on trade created major chaos and costly trade barriers after the end of the year. Just before Christmas, Great Britain and the European Union concluded a trade agreement.
The first trucks to cross customs borders
Shortly after midnight, the first trucks in northern France crossed the new customs border. The drivers handed over their customs papers and boarded the train traveling through the Canal Tunnel.
A Romanian driver saw his papers approved in seconds. “I don’t think that will be difficult,” he told Reuters news agency. In the early hours of the new year, there was very little freight traffic through the Eurotunnel in Calais.
British and European companies have previously warned of chaos on the borders due to the abundance of paperwork, which threatens to disrupt a smooth trade flow of about one trillion euros annually. The Getlink manager, who provides transport through the canal tunnel, said Thursday a few hours before the new rules come into effect, the risk of chaos is minimal. According to him, some adjustments will be needed in the coming days and weeks.
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