UK finally exits EU

1st Jan 2021
UK finally exits EU

LONDON (AA): A new era in the UK-EU relationship has started on New Year’s Eve with an 11-month-long transition period that followed Brexit coming to an end.

With the transition period ending, freedom of movement between the UK and the EU member states also ended as the clock stroke midnight in Brussels.

Government minister Michael Gove said Thursday there will be “bumpy moments” until Britain gets used to new rules with the EU.

“I’m sure there will be bumpy moments, but we are there in order to try to do everything we can to smooth the path.”

“The nature of our new relationship with the EU — outside the Single Market and Customs Union — means that there are practical and procedural changes that businesses and citizens need to get ready for,” he said.

“We know that there will be some disruption as we adjust to new ways of doing business with the EU, so it is vital that we all take the necessary action now.”

End of free movement

British citizens will be able to visit most EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway without a visa for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, but they will have to prove they have enough money for their stay. They will also need to show their return or onward ticket at the entry.

EU citizens will also have the same right when they want to visit to the UK.

British citizens will carry on their visits to Ireland as before.

British citizens planning to move to EU countries after Jan. 1 will apply for residency in line with member states’ immigration rules as the automatic right to live and work in the EU ended.

Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, will be treated as a Schengen area according to an agreement reached by Spain and the UK.

Trade

As the UK and EU signed a post-Brexit trade deal over the Christmas period, trade is expected to continue uninterrupted.

Northern Ireland will remain aligned with the EU for the next four years according to the EU Withdrawal Agreement the parties signed, so trade between the EU and Northern Ireland will remain as before.

The end of the transition period marks the conclusion of Brexit.

British voters decided in a 2016 referendum to leave the European club after more than 40 years of membership.

The long and painstaking negotiations ended in the Withdrawal Agreement almost a year ago and the transition period kicked in on Jan. 31.

[Photo: Big Ben shows 23.00 as UK leaves European Union on New Year’s eve in London on December 31 2020. London Mayor Sadiq Khan cancelled the show and the celebrations this New Year’s eve.  Photographer: Tayfun Salci/AA]

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