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On December 31, 2020, the Brexit transition period ends, at the end of which the new rules of the agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union come into force. France 24 takes stock of the main points of divorce and its consequences.
After four years of negotiations, and an agreement torn off on Christmas Eve, the European Union and the United Kingdom ratify their divorce. From 1er January 2021, European rules cease to apply on British territory and the new agreement enters into force. If everything has been done to avoid a dry exit from the United Kingdom and spare trade agreements, changes will occur for the movement of people, goods or even on strategic cooperation.
- Return of passport. If, as a first step, European citizens can still enter the UK with their identity card, the passport will become necessary from 1er October 2021, visa-free. Stays will be limited to 90 days over a period of 180 days except in special cases (long-term visa or residence permit). The same rule will be applied to the British traveling to Europe. If border controls are restored, the two parties did not want to reduce their air, road, rail or maritime connectivity.
- Constraints for new expatriates. A reciprocity agreement has been validated by the majority of countries to protect British and European expatriates already installed. They can thus continue to benefit from the same social rights (retirement, social security, access to employment). However, new rules apply for future expatriates. Europeans wishing to go to work in the United Kingdom are now subject to many more constraints. They will have to obtain a work visa based on four criteria: having a promise of employment, a salary of more than 28,500 euros gross per year, skills in demand and speaking English. A work visa will also be required for Britons wishing to work in the European Union.
- Erasmus is over. The United Kingdom is withdrawing from the European exchange program for students, deemed too expensive by Boris Johnson. To continue studying across the Channel, European students (there are 150,000 today) will need to obtain a student visa and pay much higher tuition fees. The British Prime Minister has announced the launch of a replacement program in September 2021 but it will be reserved for British citizens wishing to study abroad.
- No taxes but more paperwork. With Brexit, the UK is leaving the single market. However, negotiators have found common ground to avoid taxing trade. There will be no tariffs or quotas for goods. This is good news for key exporting sectors such as automotive, aeronautics and agrifood, which would have been severely penalized. Despite everything, professionals fear that customs controls and the mechanisms put in place to ensure compliance with the new rules will considerably burden the procedures.
- Compromise on fishing. A major subject of contention between Brussels and London, the fishing issue has finally been settled. The EU has pledged to reduce its catches in British waters by 25% by 2026. A concession far removed from Boris Johnson’s initial request, which demanded an 80% drop. In return, the British, who export 70% of their fish to the EU, escape the reinstatement of customs duties, at least during this period.
- End of the “financial passport”. Is Brexit the death knell for Europe’s leading financial center? It is the fear of the City which, deprived of its precious “financial passport” allowing the sale of financial products and services freely throughout the EU, could have to trade according to the individual rules of each state. But if Boris Johnson has himself admitted that the agreement was “not up to its ambitions on financial products”, nothing is played at this stage. A memorandum of understanding on finance must be negotiated between London and Brussels d ‘by March 2020.
- Reduction of strategic partnerships. Redefining the sectors of cooperation was also among the priorities of the negotiations. Brussels and London will continue to work hand in hand in the fields of the fight against global warming, energy, research, nuclear safety and even the fight against terrorism. An agreement was also reached on the social rights of workers to avoid social dumping. On the other hand, foreign policy, defense and development aid did not give rise to negotiations. For example, there will no longer be a framework for imposing common sanctions against citizens of a third country.