Bexit: UK Begins a New Age as It Separates from EU Today

World | January 1, 2021, Friday // 19:44
Bulgaria: Bexit: UK Begins a New Age as It Separates from EU Today

The UK stopped following EU rules at 23:00 CET as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.

Boris Johnson said the UK had "freedom in our hands" and the ability to do things "differently and better" now the long Brexit process was over.

But opponents of leaving the EU maintain the country will be worse off.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose ambition it is to take an independent Scotland back into the EU, tweeted: "Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on."

There seems to be a sense of relief in Brussels that the Brexit process was over, "but there is regret still at Brexit itself".

The first lorries arriving at the borders entered the UK and EU without delay. Some were turned back for lack of proper documents.

UK officials have warned there will be some disruption in the coming days and weeks, as new rules bed in and British firms come to terms with the changes.

But officials have insisted new border systems are "ready to go".

As the first customs checks were completed after midnight, Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said: "It all went fine, everything's running just as it was before 11pm."

Northern Ireland has different arrangements from other parts of the UK, meaning there will be some customs checks on goods moving between Great Britain and the province.

The UK officially left the 27-member political and economic bloc on 31 January, three and half years after the UK public voted to leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

But it stuck to the EU's trading rules for 11 months while the two sides negotiated their future economic partnership.

A treaty was finally agreed on Christmas Eve, and became law in the UK on Wednesday.

Under the new arrangements, UK manufacturers will have tariff-free access to the EU's internal market, meaning there will be no import taxes on goods crossing between Britain and the continent./Bbc

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