24 days left to Brexit: here is what you should know

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In a matter of days, the United Kingdom will officially end the transition period with the European Union. Here is everything you need to know about Brexit.

EU rules will no longer apply from 1 January 2021

From 1 January 2021 as the Brexit deal becomes official the UK transition period will end, EU Customs Union rules on subjects such as travelling or free trade will no longer apply.

The new rules agreed between the UK, and the EU will affect both the European Union and the UK on living standards, jobs and trade with other European countries.

Time is ticking

The UK has now 24 days to discuss the deal with the European Union, which needs to be further approved by both sides to make sure that deal would come into force after 1 January 2021.

After reaching an agreement, this needs to be approved by the UK government and 27 members of the EU Council. The process of making the agreement official and valid might take a few weeks.

Deal or no-deal

Talks between the UK and the EU are still in progress with EU negotiator Michel Barnier now staying in London to discuss the deal.

If no deal is reached, the UK and the EU will trade and do business on World Trade Organization rules; this will mean that the UK will start paying tariffs (taxes imposed by the Government on exported and imported goods).

Moreover, the imported goods might go through additional checks which will cause delays in supplying certain goods at ports.

Copyright: Unsplash

As time is running short, both sides are now trying to reach a compromise in areas such as trade, fishing and fair competition rules.

According to an EU official, who spoke anonymously to Reuters, an agreement except for last-minute breakdowns in talks, is “imminent” and anticipated before the end of the week.

What will change ?

There are a few changes, which you might expect from 1 January 2021.

  • New travelling rules will apply. You might expect limits to goods you can bring in duty-free after arrival from the EU countries.
  • You will no longer be able to move out from the UK to the EU freely.
  • There will be no difference in maintaining medical supplies between the UK and the EU.
  • If you want to study in a EU country, you will need to contact the university in your chosen destination to check your eligibility to study abroad and check if you meet all visa requirements.
  • EU students will have to apply for the Settlement Scheme to be able to stay in the country, from 1 August 2021 you will not be eligible for student finance (financial support for paying your university fees).

Fishing in British waters

Negotiations around fishing have been one of the main points of contention between both parties for months.

Data from UK Fisheries Statistics.

The Government’s plan for the industry is to:

The EU wants to negotiate a fair right and fair competition for European fishers, but the discussions remain tense.

If the deal is not reached, taxes might increase, and export will be unprofitable for some fishers leading to lower prices of fishes in the UK.

Cod, tuna or haddock are a few examples of imported goods, which were mainly consumed by the English nation in 2019 according to UK Fisheries Statistics.

Travelling abroad

After the 1 January 2021, you would need to prepare yourself for some changes if you are travelling to the EU or countries such as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

Before you jet off for a holiday…

  • Check your passport as you might have to renew it. Your passport should have both 6 months left and less than 10 years old.
  • Get travel insurance, which covers your health care, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
  • During the board check, you might show your onwards and return tickets and that you have enough money to stay in the country. You will be using separate lanes when queueing.
  • In some countries, you will need an international driving licence.
  • If you plan to take your puppy onboard contact your vet four months before your trip.

European Union Leaders and the UK

European Council President, Charles Michel, commenting on Brexit talks, said:

We want a deal but not at any price,” he said. “For the European Union,… the ‘level playing field’ is key.”

Michael added that the next few weeks would determine the future of the EU and the UK relationship. All 27 leaders will meet remotely on 10–11 December to discuss the Brexit negotiations and developments.

“It’s unfortunate that it took longer than planned, but we’re still currently negotiating,” Michel added .“We’ll see over the next few days what the next steps are at this point in the negotiations.”

Copyright: European Union website. From left: Charles Michel, Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen and David Sassoli.

French Europe minister, Clement Beaune, said that the French Government is ready to “veto” Brexit agreement if the deal does not comply with their demands, especially on fishing rights.

He said:

“If there’s a deal that isn’t a good one, we’d oppose it,”.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, from the beginning of the Brexit, claimed that EU “ evolved over 50 years in a direction that no longer suits this country” and he added that his country would focus on “recaptured sovereignty.”

David Frost- the UK BREXIT negotiator


After the last EU summit, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel said that “in some places, there was movement, in other places, there is still a lot of work to do.”

She added:

We have asked Great Britain to continue to be willing to compromise towards an agreement. Of course, this also means that we have to make compromises,” she told reporters.

The third country to leave the EU

On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) after 47 years of membership. The country will no longer be taking part in any EU decision -making.

The UK was not the first country to leave the EU; in fact, the third! French Algeria, becoming an independent country in 1962, was the first one to withdraw from the EU.

In 1982 after a referendum, with 52% votes against membership, Greenland withdrew from European Economic Community.

Saint Barthélemy, the Caribbean island, which was under the influence of France, after obtaining political autonomy in 2007, left the EU in 2012.

Preparing for Brexit

The Government have published a website to help people get ready and support businesses for new rules. 

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Freelance journalist writing stories for Birmingham Eastside

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