LONDON (AP) – Relations between the European Union and Britain continue to move ferries and trains on both sides of the English Channel on a quiet New Year’s Eve after an overnight earthquake.
The busy freight route between southeastern England and northwestern France is now undergoing changes as the UK has completely abandoned the final phase of Brexit, the economic embrace of the 27-nation bloc.
“For most trucks, they won’t even consider the difference,” said John Keefe, a spokesman for Eurotunnel, which carries vehicles under the channel. “There was always the risk that if this happened at a busy time, then we could face some difficulties, but it’s happening overnight on a bank holiday and a long weekend.”
Britain left the huge single market of European blockchain for people, goods and services at 11pm London time on New Year’s Eve, the only major economic change the country has experienced since World War II. The UK-EU new trade deal will bring sanctions and red tape, but for British Brexit supporters, it means re-asserting national independence from the web of EU and its rules.
British Prime Minister Boris Jones called it “an exciting moment for this country.”
“Our freedom is in our hands, and most of it is up to us,” he said in a New Year’s video message. “
Mass historic moment passed peacefully to celebrate or mourn with UK lockdown action against coronavirus. Brexit, which has dominated public debate in Britain for years, was also pushed to the front pages of some newspapers by news of a major vaccination effort against Covid-19, which is growing across the country.
In the defeated streets of London – which voted strongly to stay in the EU in Britain’s 2016 referendum – there was little enthusiasm for Brexit.
“I think it’s one of the many disasters this year,” Matt Steele said. “It’s a crappy deal. To be honest I don’t really see any positivity in it. ”
But at the English end of the Channel Tunnel in Folkestone, on the seashore, retired bank manager David Binks said he was relieved that the tragic Brexit saga – only presumably – was over.
“It’s been so long that now is the time, I think we should move on and get out of there,” he said.
The break comes 11 months after the political Brexit that left both sides in a “transition period” in which EU rights and regulations continued to apply to Britain.
The trade agreement, which was closed on Christmas Eve after months of tense negotiations, ensures that both parties can continue to buy and sell goods without tariffs or quotas. But companies face new costs and paperwork, including customs declarations and border checks.
The English Channel ports of Dover and Eurotunnel were delayed for a while as new measures were introduced.
A key supply route was cut off after France closed its border to UK trucks for 48 hours during Christmas week in response to a rapidly spreading virus known in England. Some 15,000 truckers needed emergency virus tests to get into some France, a process that left many stuck in their trucks for days.
But the epidemic and cross-channel traffic was low on Friday at the end of the holiday. Britain has also delayed imposing full custom checks for several months so companies can adjust.
Officials in the French port of Calais said the new computer systems were working well and the trucks had the right paperwork.
“Brexit … is not synonymous with congestion, as we say in English, that is not synonymous with traffic disruption, but everyone must do their own thing,” said Jean-Marc Pussyis, president of the ports of Calais and Blog Logan-sur. Mer.
Jean-Marc Thielle, the region’s director of customs, warned that the border faces a “trial by fire” when it comes to holiday weekends.
Brexit also brought a new investigation into the Irish Sea. Before dawn a dozen trucks departed from Wales on the first ferry to reach the port of Dublin, clearing new customs inspections without delay.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Cowan said trade would change “fundamentally”.
“We are now preparing to see a billion billion euros ($ 3 billion billion) trade between Britain and Ireland in the Irish Sea, which will lead to many more investigations and announcements, and bureaucracy and paperwork and costs and delays.”
Millions of people and blocs in Britain also face their daily changes With the new rules of life, work visa, travel insurance and pet paper.
And with Britain and the EU settling into their new relationship as friends, neighbors and rivals, years of debate and argument, everything from fair competition to fish quotas are ahead.
Brexit could also be a major constitutional response for the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland, which shares a border with EU member Ireland, is closely tied to the bloc’s economy under the terms of the divorce. So while goods continue to flow freely across the Irish land border, there are new investigations over time between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which could pull Northern Europe from the rest of the UK and Ireland.
In Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly in 2016 to stay in the European Union, Brexit has backed the UK’s secession. The country’s pro-independence Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: Keep the lights on. ”
Video reporters from Alex Turnbull contributed to England’s Foxton, Joe Kearney and Jason Parkinson, and France’s Castles.
Follow all AP stories on Brexit at https://apnews.com/Brexit