What exactly does the completed Brexit mean for the UK and Europe?
Most people took a break for Christmas and Christmas Eve. They spent time together, unwrapped presents, enjoyed their favorite holiday movies, and drank hot cocoa. But while the majority of people spent the time celebrating and taking time off work, politicians didn’t rest in their inexorable power plays.
On Dec. 24th, the UK & European Union finally reached a Brexit deal after more than four years since the subjects of the Queen voted thus.
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. pic.twitter.com/DofRkb4Ivc
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 24, 2020
What is Brexit?
In 2016, a public vote was held which determined whether or not the UK should stay part of the EU, a union made up of twenty-seven European countries. 52% voted the UK should leave the EU.
EU countries’ citizens can live and work in other countries in the EU, and EU companies can buy & sell from each other without any additional taxes (other than the steep taxes already present throughout the union). When the UK became the first country to vote to leave the EU, the move became known as Brexit, a portmanteau of “British” and “exit”.
What’s in the final Brexit deal?
The Christmas Eve accord creates new rules for how the UK & EU will work together. BBC News received a document with 1,246 pages about the deal and reported on some details, while a thirty-four page summary of the deal was published on the UK government’s website.
The European Parliament still needs to vote on and approve the deal on Dec. 30th, 2020 before it becomes official. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video on Twitter he believes the deal will be a “happy and successful and stable partnership” with the EU.
“I have a small present for anyone who may be looking for something to read in that sleepy post Christmas-lunch moment,” said Johnson while picking up a stack of papers. “And here it is. Tidings, glad tidings of great joy, because this is a deal, a deal to give certainty to business and travelers and investors in our country from the first of January, a deal with our friends and partners in the EU.”
How will the the Brexit deal go down?
EU ambassadors received a briefing on Christmas about the post-Brexit trade deal. If it goes through and gets approved, a few things will change. Firstly, those issued with a European Health Insurance Card can use it before it expires. After it expires, the UK will issue citizens a UK Global Health Insurance Card. The new card will cover chronic and existing illnesses, emergencies, and routine maternity care.
Goods can continue to be traded without tariffs nor quotas. The deal also defined how travelers may cross over to and from the UK & EU.
More changes to daily life the Brexit deal will bring
The deal will affect people in their day-to-day lives – such as in fishing. According to BBC News, fishing makes up 0.12% of the UK’s economy. With the new Brexit deal, 25% of EU boats’ UK fishing rights will transfer to the UK fishing fleet.
The UK won’t participate in the Erasmus student exchange, except for Northern Ireland. Instead, the Turing Scheme will take over, which includes universities beyond the EU.
Additionally, citizens with a UK driver’s license won’t need to use an International Drivers License when they drive in the EU.
The current Brexit deal was agreed over Christmas, but it still needs to be voted on officially before any of the changes become law.