Tag: Britain

Britain leaves the EU tomorrow

By Tom Edgington for BBC News

The UK formally leaves the European Union (EU) at 23:00 on Friday, 31 January. But it will immediately enter an 11-month transition period.

During the transition the UK will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU. Most things will stay the same but there will be some changes:

1. UK MEPs lose their seats
Familiar faces such as Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe are among the UK’s 73 MEPs who will automatically lose their seats in the European Parliament.

That’s because, at the moment of Brexit, the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies.

However, in addition to the UK following EU rules during the transition period, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes.

2. No more EU summits
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to be specially invited if he wants to join other leaders at EU Council summits in the future.

British ministers will also no longer attend regular EU meetings that decide things such as fishing limits.

3. We will be hearing a lot about trade
The UK will be able to start talking to countries around the world about setting new rules for buying and selling goods and services.

It has not been allowed to hold formal trade negotiations with countries like the US and Australia while it remained an EU member. Brexit supporters argue that having the freedom to set its own trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.

There’s also a lot to be discussed with the EU. Agreeing a UK-EU trade deal is a top priority, so extra charges on goods and other trade barriers aren’t needed when the transition ends.

If any trade deals are reached, they won’t be able to start until the transition period ends.

4. The UK’s passports will change colour
Blue passports will be making a return, more than 30 years after they were replaced by the current burgundy design.

Announcing the change in 2017, then Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, praised the return to the “iconic” blue-and-gold design, first used in 1921.

The new colour will be phased in over a number of months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the year.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid.

5. Brexit coins
About three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins bearing the date “31 January” and the inscription: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, will enter circulation on Friday.

The coin has received a mixed reaction, with some Remain supporters saying they will refuse to accept it.

The government had planned to introduce a similar coin on 31 October, the date Brexit was previously meant to happen.

However, those coins had to be melted down and recycled after the deadline was extended.

6. The UK’s Brexit department shuts down
The team that handled the UK-EU negotiations and no-deal preparations will disband on Brexit day.

The Department for Exiting the European Union was set up by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016.

For the upcoming talks, the UK’s negotiating team will be based in Downing Street.

7. Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK
It won’t be possible for some suspected criminals to be brought back to the UK if they flee to Germany. Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited, unless it’s to another EU country.
“This exception cannot apply anymore after the UK has left EU,” a spokesman from the German Federal Ministry of Justice told BBC News.

It’s unclear if the same restrictions will apply to other countries. Slovenia, for example, says the situation is complicated, while the European Commission was unable to provide comment.
The UK Home Office says the European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens.)
However, it adds that if a country’s laws prevent extradition to the UK it “will be expected to take over the trial or sentence of the person concerned”.

Because the transition period begins immediately after Brexit, the vast majority of other things remain the same – at least until 31 December 2020 including:

1. Travel
Flights, boats and trains will operate as usual.
When it comes to passport control, during the transition period, UK nationals will still be allowed to queue in the areas reserved for EU arrivals only.

2. Driving licences and pet passports
As long as they are valid, these will continue to be accepted.

3. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
These are the cards that provide UK nationals with state-provided medical treatment in case of illness of accident.
They can be used in any EU country (as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and will continue to be valid during the transition period.

4. Living and working in the EU
Freedom of movement will continue to apply during the transition, so UK nationals will still be able to live and work in the EU as they currently do.
The same applies for EU nationals wanting to live and work in the UK.

5. Pensions
UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension and will also receive the annual increase.

6. Budget contributions
The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget during the transition. This means existing schemes, paid for by EU grants, will continue to be funded.

7. Trade
UK-EU trade will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.

By Josh Hall for Prolific London

Retail sales rose by just 0.3 per cent in July, their lowest level since records began.

The figure was down significantly on the 1.6 per cent increase seen in the same month in 2018, and follows what was also the worst June on record.

The survey, conducted by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, are based on responses from retailers making up an estimated 40 per cent of all British retail sales. Their records began in 1995.

According to the Consortium, “the combination of slow wage growth and Brexit uncertainty” are to blame for the collapse.

But the group also said that last year’s figures had been inflated by the World Cup.

KPMG head of retail Paul Martin said: “Shoppers are notably disengaged overall. The pressure continues to build between online and physical offerings, costs continue to rise and the demands of consumers continue to grow.”

Meanwhile as we reported yesterday the UK service sector recorded a slight and unexpected growth during July.

The performance put it out of kilter with other UK sectors, in which the outlook remains gloomy.

Britain leaves the EU

Prime Minister Theresa May has signed the Article 50 letter of notification that she will send to the European Union on Wednesday to formally get Brexit underway.

May was pictured in Downing Street on Wednesday evening adding her signature to the historic letter, which will formally notify the European Commission of Britain’s departure from the EU.

The letter will be handed to European Council President Donald Tusk at 12:30 p.m (BST) tomorrow by British ambassador to the EU Sir Tim Barrow, immediately after May finishes debating Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in this week’s instalment of Prime Minister’s Questions.

A two-year process of negotiations will then get underway where May and her negotiating team will try to come to a divorce agreement with EU figures. The discussions are set to cover how much Britain must pay the EU as part of its divorce settlement and what long-term free trade deal — if any — can be finalised before the two-year window expires.

Britain is set to officially drop out of the EU no later than March, 2019.

In an address to Parliament on Wednesday, May is set to call on the country to “come together” and support a “truly global Britain” as the nation braces itself to leave the 28-nation bloc after nearly half a century of being a member.

The prime minister is expected to say:

“When I sit around the negotiating table in the months ahead, I will represent every person in the whole United Kingdom – young and old, rich and poor, city, town, country and all the villages and hamlets in between.

“And yes, those EU nationals who have made this country their home.

“It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country.

“For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together.

“We all want to see a Britain that is stronger than it is today. We all want a country that is fairer so that everyone has the chance to succeed.

“We all want a nation that is safe and secure for our children and grandchildren. We all want to live in a truly Global Britain that gets out and builds relationships with old friends and new allies around the world.

“These are the ambitions of this Government’s Plan for Britain. Ambitions that unite us, so that we are no longer defined by the vote we cast, but by our determination to make a success of the result.

“We are one great union of people and nations with a proud history and a bright future.

“And, now that the decision has been made to leave the EU, it is time to come together.”

Source: www.businessinsider.com

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