As Sunak plans 'freeports'...
Britons face long list of EU barriers after transition
The EU Commission says there will be ‘inevitable disruptions’
New warnings have emerged of the barriers that will go up between the UK and EU irrespective of the outcome of negotiations on future relations.
A document reveals that Britons will be “subject to thorough checks” at borders when entering EU countries (apart from Ireland) and the Schengen area, as they will be “treated as third-country nationals.”
It was published ahead of a Commons debate on the transition arrangements and as the UK government reveals plans to spend more than £700m on border controls.
The document from the European Commission reveals that UK driving licences will not be automatically recognised but will be subject to the approval of individual countries.
The EU ban on additional mobile roaming charges will no longer be guaranteed for travellers between the UK and the continent, leaving British and EU operators free to slap on extra fees.
Passengers may no longer be protected by EU consumer rights when travelling between the EU and the UK depending on the mode of transport, the Commission says.
The warnings come in a document seen by the website euro news. It says the changes are the consequence of the British government’s choices on future relations, and on the decision not to extend the transition period.
The document says: “These inevitable disruptions will occur as of 1 January 2021 and risk compounding the pressure that businesses are already under due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
UK service providers and professionals will have to demonstrate they comply with EU conditions imposed on foreign firms or individuals. Professional qualifications will no longer automatically be recognised.
The Commission points out that from the end of the transition period, the UK will no longer benefit from several hundred international agreements struck by the EU with third countries in matters such as trade, mutual recognition, veterinary arrangements or aviation.
The British government has argued that the UK’s ability to strike its own trade deals is one of the advantages of Brexit. The latest updates show agreements with 20 countries or trading blocs ready to take effect in January.
The document has emerged as the Labour Party demands that the government answers the claims in a leaked letter from UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss revealing her fears of chaos at Britain’s borders.
The letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, sets out her concerns that ports will not be ready to carry out full import checks.
Border controls and ‘freeports’
Mr Gove, meanwhile, is planning to invest £705 million in new border control infrastructure, jobs and technology and the Home Secretary Priti Patel will be announcing details of the new immigration points system, including details of a scheme to allow international students to stay in the UK for up to three years to secure jobs.
The Chancellor is said to be working on plans for up to 10 “freeports” in his autumn budget backed by generous tax breaks, research and development credits, further cuts to stamp duty and business rates.
These plans, reported by the Telegraph, are likely to be targeted principally at England as planning decisions are devolved matters. There have been previous calls for the Scottish government to take a lead on freeports which are legally outside the country’s customs territory. Goods incur no tariffs until they enter other parts of the economy. This way they can become international hubs, attracting manufacturing and innovation.
The escalation in tensions over Brexit talks come ahead of a debate in the Commons on Wednesday when Mr Johnson will come pressure to accept the EU’s offer of a transition extension.
Europe must and should prepare for a situation in which an agreement does not happen– Angela Merkel, German Chancellor
SNP MPs are increasingly concerned at the lack of any meaningful consultation with the Scottish Government and other devolved nations on the Brexit talks – and say a new “internal market’ bill will amount to a Tory power grab in devolved areas, including agriculture and food standards.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered the EU to prepare for No-Deal, warning Europe “must and should prepare for a situation in which an agreement does not happen” due to lack of progress.
The British Retail Consortium is calling on the UK Government and the EU to negotiate a zero-tariff trade deal to avoid price increases for consumers.
In May, the UK published its new tariff schedule, which will apply from 1 January if a deal is not agreed.
Under the schedule, 85% of foods imported from the EU will face tariffs of more than 5%. This includes 48% on beef mince, 16% on cucumbers, and 57% on cheddar cheese. The average tariff on food imported from the EU would be over 20%.
“Given the highly competitive nature of retail, the industry cannot absorb all these increased costs, meaning the public would face higher prices from 1 January 2021,” says the BRC.