PM hails UK’s new freedom as EU era draws to close

Posted by News Express | 1 January 2021 | 763 times

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•British PM Boris Johnson


Boris Johnson has said the UK has “freedom in our hands” and must make the most of it as the country prepares to leave EU trading rules at 23:00 GMT.

Historic changes to rules on travel, trade, immigration and security are to come into force as the UK enters a new era of relations with the continent.

UK officials have insisted new border systems are “ready to go” amid concerns about possible delays at ports.

The PM said the UK could now do “things differently and if necessary better”.

The trade deal agreed by the two sides on Christmas Eve, and passed by MPs on Wednesday, avoids the need for import taxes – tariffs – after the UK leaves the EU's internal market and customs union on 1 January.

While fears of giant tailbacks of lorries at Dover have receded, uncertainty remains about new customs rules and the government has warned there will be “some disruption” in the coming days and weeks.

To reduce the risk of delays, the UK is phasing in checks on goods entering the country from the continent over a six-month period up to July 2021.

But some new customs procedures will come into force on the UK-side immediately from 11pm, such as on imports of alcohol, tobacco, chemicals and controlled drugs.

EU member states are introducing full customs declarations and other controls on UK exports from 23:00.

Among the other things that will change from 23:00 GMT:

Free movement of people between the UK and EU countries will end - to be replaced in the UK by a “points-based” immigration system

Anyone from the UK who wants to stay in most of the EU for more than 90 days in any 180-day period will need a visa

Duty-free shopping will return, with people coming back to the UK from the EU able to bring up to 42 litres of beer, 18 litres of wine, four litres of spirits and 200 cigarettes without paying tax

EU citizens wanting to move to the UK (except those from the Irish Republic) will face the same points-based system as people elsewhere in the world

UK police will lose instant access to EU-wide databases on criminal records, fingerprints and wanted persons

Traders in England, Scotland and Wales will have to complete more paperwork when dealing with EU countries

Unlike the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland will continue to follow many of the EU's rules, as its border with the Irish Republic remains all but invisible.

And the UK will gradually be able to keep more of the fish caught in its own waters, while the European Court of Justice will cease to have any role in deciding disputes between the UK and EU. (BBC)

Source: News Express

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