London (Associated Press)-Just like a separated couple still living together, the UK and the European Union had a dispute in 2020 and wondered if they could keep friends.
On Thursday, Britain is finally moving out. 11 p.m. London time-midnight at Brussels EU headquarters in Brussels-the UK will leave the 27-nation group economically and effectively 11 months after the official political departure.
After the political drama of Brexit for more than four years, the day itself was an anti-climax. The United Kingdom’s lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus have reduced the time for mass gatherings to celebrate or mourn, even though the huge Big Ben of Parliament is ringing as it prepares to ring in the New Year.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This day marks a new beginning in our country̵
He said: “This moment has finally arrived, and it is time to seize it.” After the British Parliament approved an Anglo-European trade agreement overnight, he said that the British side was the last formal obstacle before leaving the country.
It has been 4.5 years since Britain participated in a referendum to withdraw from the European Union in 1973. The United Kingdom left the European Union’s political structure on January 31, 2020, but the impact of the decision has not yet taken place because the economic relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union remained unchanged during the 11-month transition period that ended on Thursday.
After that, Britain will leave the EU’s huge single market and customs union-the largest single economic change the country has experienced since World War II.
After months of intense negotiations, the free trade agreement signed on Christmas Eve will ensure that the UK and the 27-member EU can continue to trade in goods without tariffs or quotas. This should help protect the 660 billion pound ($894 billion) annual trade between the two countries and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on it.
But the company faces a lot of new paperwork and expenses. Traders are working hard to digest the new rules, which were agreed on a 1,200-page exchange that was agreed a week before the change occurred.
Passenger and freight routes at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel in the English Channel are prepared for delays, although the pandemic and holiday weekends mean that traffic across the channel will be less than usual. Last week, France closed its border with British truck drivers for 48 hours in response to a rapidly spreading virus variant discovered in the UK. This vital supply route was trapped for several days.
The British government insists that “the border system and infrastructure we need are in place, and we are ready for a new start in the UK.”
But the freight company held its breath. British transportation company Youngs Transportation suspended services to the EU from Monday to January 11 to “solve the problem.”
Rob Hollyman, the head of Youngs, said: “We think this will allow the country to get used to all these new systems for a week or so, and we can look at and hope to actually deliver trucks. Solve all problems before.”
The service industry accounts for 80% of the UK economy and it is not even known what the rules for doing business with the EU in 2021 will be-many details have not yet been finalized. With the increasingly fierce competition in the UK, everything from fair competition to fish quotas will go through months and years of further discussion and debate. The EU has established new relationships as friends, neighbors and competitors.
Hundreds of millions of Britons and the EU are also facing changes Their daily life. After Thursday, British and EU citizens have lost the automatic right to live and work on each other’s territory. From now on, they will have to comply with immigration regulations and obtain work visas. Tourists do not need short-distance visas, but from travel insurance to pet paperwork, new headaches still plague Britons traveling to the continent.
For some people in Britain, including the Prime Minister, this is a moment, a moment to restore national independence from the huge Brussels bureaucracy.
Conservative MP Bill Cash (Bill Cash) has campaigned for Brexit for decades. He said it was a “victory for democracy and sovereignty.”
For others, this is a lost time.
The House of Lords opposed the Labour Party member Roger Liddle (Roger Liddle) said that Brexit has separated the UK from “the most successful peace project in history.”
He said: “Today, toxic nationalist populism has defeated internationalism based on liberal rules. This is a very bad day. For me, it is a very painful day,” he said.
French European Minister Clément Beaune agreed.
He told broadcaster LCI: “This will be a historic day, and this will be a sad day.”
“But we must also look to the future. I think a lot of lessons must be learned from Brexit. I think this is a lie to the British. We will see what is promised-a complete freedom, lack of restrictions, and impact Force-I don’t think it will happen.”
John Leicester of Le Pecq in France contributed to this story.
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