Current Affairs

The Brexit effect, a Closer Look into The Details

In a move many have called the largest change to British foreign affairs since the loss of an empire, the coming year is set to be full of turmoil.

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Date 28th December 2020 15:00 GMT

After the Brexit trade deal was struck on Christmas Eve, we are still waiting to see the true impact of the changes, which will take effect on the 1st of January, almost a year after the UK left the EU on the 31st of January and entered the transition period, in which all the laws of the EU stayed in place as they were.

 

The 1246 page article was submitted to the bbc yesterday, and for those looking for some light reading to round off the festive period, it can be found here

 

The Changes to the UK will be significant, with the deal being seen as more on the side of the ‘Hard Brexit’, as it leaves the EU’s single market and customs union. Boris Johnson has said that the deal is similar to the deal between the EU and Canada. The only commitments that are clearly not going to change are on the environment and climate change, as well as workers’ rights.

 

In terms of change, however, the big one for Johnson will be that of sovereignty. The PM has wanted to remove ‘the burden’ of EU law for some time. After all, it was his calls to ‘take back control’ that had such a huge impact on the voters in 2016.

It was Johnson's key demand that Britain were treated as an independent nation, a point which frustrated Michel Barnier deeply. For European leaders it is a foundational principle that countries collect their sovereignty for the benefit of mutual gain, but for the UK, the mutual gain was not enough.

 

 

This won’t be where the changes end, however. Increased red tape on goods moving between Britain and the EU will slow imports and exports and declarations between the UK and Ireland are expected to increase 12-fold.

 

There will also be an end to the free movement of people, leading to more extensive border screening. The UK has already announced its points system, which treats EU and non-EU citizens equally, and ranks people ‘on their skills, not where they come from’.

 

Another huge issue during the talks was on fishing rights, an issue which exploded in the Factortame v Secretary of State Transport case of 1996, which ended in EU law override UK law on the nationality of fishing boats in UK waters.

 

Full access to each other's fishing waters will end after a 5 and a half year transition period. They have agreed that 25% of EU boats’ fishing rights in British waters will be transferred to the UK fishing fleet. Johnson initially wanted 80%, but there will be annual talks to set the amount that EU boats can catch in British waters and vice versa.

 

As for the economic impact, we will, again, have to wait and see. We are yet to know whether the increased sovereignty, new incoming UK laws and the points system will outweigh leaving the single market and customs union. Sunak has said that Brexit can let them ‘do things a bit differently.’ He continued by saying that the deal has, ‘a stable regulatory co-operative framework’ and that it will give people much needed reassurance, but once again, whether this is true or not, only time will tell.

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