Brexit will begin to take shape this week
The genuine meaning of Brexit will begin to take shape this week. The trade deal will involve erecting barriers, rather than removing them.
Although the effective departure had taken place on January 31, practically nothing changed in the last eleven months. The most reserved community club member had left Brussels but was obliged to operate as if it still constituted the twenty-eighth state member.
The pact reached on Christmas Eve represents the real incarnation of the European project’s first rupture.
Suppose the withdrawal agreement had established the rules for an amicable separation. In that case, the 1,246-page text agreed upon just one week after concluding the implementation phase stands as the instruction manual that will guide the relationship between partners condemned to understand each other.
Few industries show the consequences of the change foreseen this January 1
The consequences affect practically all the daily areas of the UK.
Reinstating borders entails customs controls and the presentation of documents that were unnecessary until now. Although the United Kingdom has scored the point of not facing tariffs or fees, companies on both sides of the Canal will see how their operations are more complex, by adding an extra bureaucracy burden.
Agriculture is one of the areas in which the agreement sacrifices more access to the community market, to gain the flexibility to negotiate with the rest of the world. Therefore, producers can prepare for veterinary certifications, among other controls, since London and Brussels will not recognize their respective systems of animal and plant protection.
January 1, therefore, will be one of the areas with less immediate repercussions, since the agreement contains the gradual impasse. From the summer of 2026, the new regime will begin, granting the United Kingdom sovereignty access to its waters. From there, the negotiations will be annual, and London can further reduce the margin for European ships, either through quotas or by excluding the number of ships that can operate.
Abolishing freedom of movement had been one of the great promises of the 2016 referendum. A government led by Boris Johnson, the great godfather of Brexit, had no choice but to guarantee it. So, from this Friday, Europeans will see severe restrictions on moving to the United Kingdom and the British to go to the continent.
The possibility of working, studying, or promoting a business freely disappears, and visas will be necessary to stay more than 90 days on British lands. At the same time, UK citizens will have to check the specific rules of each of the Twenty-seven, such as the need to apply for residency or have a job.
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