2021 is an unforgettable year for Britain after successfully walking out of Europe’s Customs Union and single market bringing an end to almost fifty years of corrosive relationship with her neighbours.
“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson as his country ushered in the New Year.
This entire move means EU rules have become invalid and the free movement of more than 500 million people between Britain and the 27 EU states has suddenly ended.
The EU has lost 66 million people and an economy worth $2.85 trillion, but Brexit, with its appeal to nationalist populism, also triggered fears other disgruntled members could follow suit.
As well as ensuring tariff- and quota-free access to the EU’s 450 million consumers, Britain has recently signed trade deals with countries including Japan, Canada, Singapore and Turkey.
It is also eyeing another with India, where Johnson plans to make his first major trip as prime minister next month, and with incoming US president Joe Biden’s administration.
However, Fear of disruption at the ports has stoked concerns about food and medicine shortages, as well as delays to holidaymakers and business travellers used to seamless travel in the EU.
The British government said some border controls will not be implemented for months as part of Britain’s staged plan, and it was not expecting much disruption around the ports until next week, with traffic light due to the holiday period.
However, it also warned that around 50 percent of small and medium exporters might not yet be ready for the new trading arrangements.
British fishermen are disgruntled at a compromise to allow continued access for EU boats in British waters.