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Broadcast: Tagesschau 01/18/2021 8:00 p.m.

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Trade at the Borders: The Bureaucracy Chaos of Brexit

The consequences of Brexit at the borders are becoming noticeable. Drivers who lack the right papers. Companies that learn about new hurdles in the flow of goods every day. Brexit is causing a new chaos of bureaucracy.

By Jenny Beyen, ARD-Studio London

Great Britain has not been part of the EU internal market and the customs union for nine days, and companies and people on the island are clearly feeling this. In supermarkets, shelves remain empty, truck loads are rejected at the border due to missing papers, and the parcel delivery company DPD has completely stopped shipping parcels from Great Britain to the EU for the next few days.

Because despite trade agreements with the EU, British companies have to register their products via online systems – if, for example, food or live animals are concerned, a lot of additional papers are required.

Much more interference expected

The companies only found out how all of this works just before the turn of the year. Much too late, says Shane Brennan of the Cold Chain Federation, an association for frozen food. As a result, there are already problems at the Eurotunnel and at the port of Dover, although not even half of the usual traffic is running.

“Despite this low traffic, there is a lot of confusion and a lot of delays. And the drivers are told that they will be let through this time with their faulty papers, but not next time. And that’s why we believe that there will soon be a lot more disruptions . “

French authorities have already announced that they will be stricter from Monday and no longer make exceptions in the event of missing or faulty papers. The papers are only part of the problem, explains Shane Brennan.

“It’s not just about one person here, just about the driver or the entrepreneur behind it. It’s also about the border staff, the ferry companies and the medical staff at the border. And all of these individual elements are working together for the first time this week – and with little traffic. And experience so far shows that it doesn’t work smoothly. “

Fears of existence because of problems at the borders

It could take months for this to work out. Time that many companies don’t have, especially when they are transporting fresh food. Many Scottish fishermen therefore fear for their very existence. Donna Fordyce of Seafood Scotland told the BBC:

“Seafood and fish are a very complex field: there are over 65 types, and many companies transport different types that come from different fishing boats. And the systems have only been in use since December 29th, they just haven’t been tested For example, different names for the same variety, sometimes in Italian, sometimes in English – it’s just very complicated and complex. “

Similar reports exist for the transport of goods to and from Northern Ireland. To avoid a hard border with Ireland, Northern Ireland is more closely tied to the EU than the rest of the Kingdom. The corresponding controls take place at the ports, the imaginary border with the EU is de facto in the Irish Sea.

Ranks of complaints to MPs

The MPs in London have been complaining about all these problems for days. Although there are special government service points to help with the new bureaucracy, these are completely overburdened, according to the letters of complaint. The British Transport Minister Grand Shapps remains calm. He stated yesterday:

“The government works closely with companies. And trade across borders has not stopped, on the contrary, it is even running smoothly. And there is nothing to be seen of the feared mile-long traffic jams.”

According to many trade associations such as UK Logistics, the reason for the lack of traffic jams is not the well-functioning government system. Rather, all companies are busy understanding and implementing the new requirements and are therefore trying to delay their transports as long as possible.



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▷ Mitteldeutsche Zeitung on Brexit

01.01.2021 – 17:41

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung

HalleHalle (ots)

But soon the mood could look very different. Because now the Brexit on the island will have its full effect. And many Brits should be amazed to find that the opposite of what the Brexit fans promised them often occurs. A reality shock threatens, similar to what many Trump fans in the USA go through. The independence movement is gaining strength not only in Scotland, but for the first time even in Wales. The “national fulfillment” promised by Johnson through Brexit could soon turn out to be a national nightmare. Instead of “regaining control”, London could quickly lose control.

Press contact:

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
Hartmut Augustin
Telephone: 0345 565 4200
hartmut.augustin@mz-web.de

Original content from: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, transmitted by news aktuell

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Great Britain: The Queen enacts Brexit law

It is done: Great Britain has approved the post-Brexit agreement with the EU. After long and difficult negotiations, things moved very quickly in London. That night, the Queen also agreed.

The way is clear for the Brexit trade pact between Great Britain and the European Union. Queen Elizabeth II, as the British head of state, put the ratification law into effect at night, as House Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said. Both houses of Parliament in London had previously approved the document.

The agreement will avoid a hard economic break if Great Britain also leaves the EU internal market and the customs union on Friday night. The EU itself had already left the country at the end of January 2020.

Johnson in great anticipation

“The fate of this great country is now firmly in our hands,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “On December 31st at 11pm (local time), a new beginning in our country’s history and a new relationship with the EU as its closest ally will begin. That moment has finally come and now is the time to take advantage of it,” said Johnson.

The almost 1250-page trade and partnership agreement regulates economic relations after the Brexit transition phase from January 1, 2021. This avoids tariffs and keeps friction losses in retail as low as possible. At the same time, many other issues are regulated, including fishing and cooperation on energy, transport, justice, police.

Lots of new restrictions

Still, there are big changes. In the future, controls will be necessary at borders because standards have to be checked, including for agricultural products. For citizens, the possibility of simply moving is over. The visa exemption for travel will also be limited in time in future.

The EU leaders had already signed the Brexit trade pact this morning. After EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel had signed the document, it was flown to London on a plane belonging to the British Air Force. Prime Minister Johnson signed the agreement there. Great Britain had already left the European Union at the end of January 2020. The Brexit transition phase agreed at the time is now ending.

The Tagesschau reported on this topic on December 31, 2020 at 4:48 a.m.


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Brexit trade pact: provisional with an uncertain future

Today the Brexit deal is likely to be waved through in the British Parliament. Hardly anyone there is likely to have checked it carefully. The relief of an agreement could soon be followed by disillusionment.

By Annette Dittert, ARD-Studio London

This deal was argued in Great Britain for more than four years. Friendships broke, and nervous breakdowns in parliament were followed by the ultimate decline of the island’s reputation as a sanctuary. In the end there is an exhausted country – and this deal, which was triumphantly welcomed by large parts of the British press as Boris Johnson’s victory over the EU. So far, so predictable. But was it really worth it?

On paper, the British have regained the sovereignty that Johnson repeatedly invoked in many areas. The European Court of Justice is hardly mentioned, the British will be able to determine their own laws in the future and theoretically enter into new trade agreements with third countries without having to adhere to EU customs tariffs. And: The movement of goods between Great Britain and the European continent remains duty-free for the time being.

Reality can hardly withstand the Brexiteers’ enthusiasm for victory

That’s the page. And it sounds so good that even the Brexit hardliners will agree to Johnson’s deal today. Who likes to read annoying analyzes by British trade experts who have been tirelessly pointing out since Christmas Eve that this deal is nothing more than a temporary arrangement that binds the British far more closely to the European continent than Johnson is currently admitting publicly? Hardly anyone. Especially not at Christmas. At least that was certainly Johnson’s calculation as he delayed the conclusion of this deal until the very last minute. Because reality can hardly withstand the current victory frenzy of the Brexiteers.

A reality that Johnson should catch up with very soon. In fact, the ties to European social or environmental standards and subsidy rules remain much closer than with other EU free trade agreements. Future disputes will no longer be resolved by the European Court of Justice, but in arbitration tribunals or working groups that have yet to be established. If one side should resort to distortion of competition, the other side can impose trade sanctions. Not automatically, only with a delay, but still.

Bureaucratic flood of paper as an obstacle to trade

And the great relief about the continued duty-free movement of goods should soon give way to deeper disillusionment. Because from January 1st, British products can only be exported with a flood of customs papers. Many companies still do not know exactly what papers they need and where they can get them. And in everyday life, too, Brexit will hit the British harder than many wanted to admit: trips to other European countries are limited to 90 days from January. If you want to take your pet with you, you need vaccination papers like in the 1960s. And studying at EU universities will no longer be so easy in the future.

Many Britons are only gradually beginning to realize all of this. For small and medium-sized businesses in particular, the bureaucratic flood of paper is becoming an increasing barrier to trade and sooner or later the Johnson government will also find that closer cooperation with European databases is beneficial for them. In the medium term, it will therefore mean that Great Britain will continue to negotiate with the EU for an indefinite period of time. Just as Switzerland has been in permanent talks with Brussels since the 1970s, the Brexit referendum will also end as a “neverendum”.

Big deal with the US is a long way off

And so back to the initial question: Was it worth it? Yes, will exclaim Brexiteers who value the mantra of sovereignty over the welfare of the British economy. And then always like to refer to the future: to all the trade agreements that “global Britain” can now independently conclude with the whole world. The big deal with the USA that has been invoked again and again, however, is likely to have moved a long way off with Joe Biden.

And so Johnson has yet to demonstrate the economic benefits of Brexit to his people. It is unlikely that he will be able to do that anytime soon. According to even the government’s own calculations, this deal will lead to a significant reduction in the gross national product.

At least two winners of Brexit

But for whom was this Brexit really worth it? Without a doubt for Boris Johnson himself, who, however, has always been less interested in the process of leaving the EU than in the fact that it was for him a vehicle at the center of power. That he pushed the conservative party to the right beyond recognition? So be it. That he is risking the future of the UK? No matter.

Which brings us to another winner of Brexit: Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, whose passionate advocacy for Scottish independence has been given a boost by Johnson’s unmistakable British nationalism. But this is another story. Also one that will drag on for many years. Brexit is far from over, not even with this deal.


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Gibraltar and Brexit: The Forgotten Overseas Territory

One part of Britain is not mentioned in the Brexit treaty that Parliament is voting on today: Gibraltar. There they are hoping for a last-minute agreement to keep the uncomplicated border traffic going.

By Oliver Neuroth, ARD Studio Madrid

Juan José Uceda calls it the “eye of the needle”: The border between Gibraltar and Spain, over which more than 15,000 people commute every day. It is mainly Spaniards who work in Gibraltar. In the morning they drive to the peninsula and back again in the evening.

Juan José did this for four years. Most of the time he just had to hold up his ID and was waved through, he says. But this transition is not designed to become a border with a third country. “There aren’t even enough lanes to ensure a reasonably flowing traffic when people entering and leaving have to have their passports stamped.” Juan José fears the long lines of cars. It would take hours to get to work in Gibraltar.

Long lines of cars feared

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzáles Laya outlines a similar scenario. The lines at the border would be as long as we would have seen in Dover in the past few days, said the politician. Around 200 trucks drive to Gibraltar every day; they would have to be extensively checked if Spain, Great Britain and the overseas territory did not agree on an agreement on border traffic by Friday.

Because between Gibraltar and Spain there is an EU external border. According to the Spanish Foreign Minister, it could be Britain’s toughest border. “It would be the only place where we would experience the hard Brexit, which we all always wanted to prevent,” said Gonzáles Laya in an interview with the radio station RNE. If necessary, negotiations between the participating countries ran until the last second, according to the minister, until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday evening. Earlier this week, Gonzáles Laya also used the word “ultimatum” to be given to Great Britain.

Much is at stake

Much is at stake – for both sides: Without an agreement, the citizens of Gibraltar would no longer have access to the Spanish health system, to specialists there. Your cars might no longer be insured on European roads. And: Gibraltar would be outside of the European sky.

The Prime Minister is cool: “We didn’t go into negotiations and said: ‘Please, please, we need a deal'”, Fabian Picardo said in an interview with Gibraltar’s public broadcaster GBC. “If you do that, you end up being a loser.” The head of government makes it clear that Gibraltar is ready for a no-deal scenario with Spain. According to him, the prosperity of the peninsula would not be in danger.

Gibraltar wanted to remain part of the EU

But the residents of Gibraltar know what they have in their Spanish neighbors and the EU. In the 2016 Brexit referendum, almost 96 percent of them voted for Great Britain to remain part of the European Union. And so Prime Minister Picardo also admits: “We want a deal. We are optimistic that it will come to that.”

This is also the opinion of Juan José Uceda, the long-time commuter from Spain who is now committed to an organization for Spanish workers in the British colony. He thinks there is just too much going on to let the whole thing fail for a short time. “I don’t understand that all of this is being negotiated two days before Brexit when there was four years time,” the Spaniard added.

After all, there is already an agreement: workers who cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar every day can still get a special ID until December 31st. Its purpose is to ensure that it will continue to go from one direction to the other in an uncomplicated manner and without major controls. However, anyone who starts a job in Gibraltar in the New Year has to be prepared for a lot of passport stamps – as of now.


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Space projects 2021: Mars, the moon and traces of the big bang

Insights into the formation of stars, new knowledge about Mars and the moon and another German on the ISS: ambitious space projects are to be started and driven forward in 2021.

By Ute Spangenberger, SWR

The white dome is reminiscent of the figure R2-D2 from the “Star Wars” films. And indeed: there is a bit of a science fiction atmosphere in the air on the Bundeswehr site on a hill in Koblenz. The new and ultra-modern space radar GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance) is hidden under the dome.

Gerald Braun from the German Aerospace Center points into the mist-shrouded sky and explains: “This surveillance radar places a search screen into space, observes objects that are flying through and – thanks to the completely new antenna technology – can track individual objects at the same time.”

There is enough to monitor in space: several thousand satellites, space vehicles, but also space junk orbits between 300 and 3000 kilometers. The goal: to avoid collisions, for example with the International Space Station (ISS).

Next German on the ISS

Getting through space accident-free – that’s what the next German astronaut hopes to do on the ISS next year: ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is scheduled to take off into space on board the SpaceX Crew 3 flight in autumn and then live in orbit for about six months work.

This would make Maurer the third German astronaut on the ISS after Thomas Reiter, Hans Schlegel and Alexander Gerst. He says, “I’m really looking forward to building on the curiosity and knowledge of those who traveled to the ISS before me, as well as sharing my own experiences as a European ambassador in orbit.”

James Web Web Telescope

In addition to manned space travel, there are also several ambitious science projects on the agenda in which ESA and NASA are working together.

The new James Webb telescope is being launched into space from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana. The joint project of NASA, ESA and the Canadian space agency CSA is to be positioned about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Its scientific tasks are complex: Among other things, it will search for the light of the first stars and galaxies that arose after the Big Bang.

Mars-Mission

Was there life on Mars? The researchers hope to find out more about this question. After three Mars missions started in July – from the USA, China and the United Arab Emirates – they will reach Mars in February.

There the Americans will use two robots for the first time in the history of space travel. A small 1.8 kg helicopter is supposed to fly over the surface of the red planet. And the rover “Perseverance” (stamina) is supposed to examine and collect rocks on the Martian soil. These samples are then to be brought back to Earth by ESA in another mission.

NASA Science Director Thomas Zurbuchen speaks in an interview tagesschau.de of an “incredibly” complex mission. He explains: “There are different take-offs, three from Earth, one from Mars and in between ‘handshakes’, that is, handing over of material. ESA is our most important partner. Of all the missions we do, this is the one with James Webb largest and most important. ” The entire Mars mission is scheduled to last at least a decade.

Artemis program

In the next year, NASA will continue to advance its lunar program and plans to launch an unmanned test flight with the Orion space capsule into lunar orbit. As early as 2024, the Americans would like to land again on the moon, with the first woman in human history. At least that is what the incumbent US President Donald Trump had announced. With the moon landing, he could have crowned his hoped-for second term in office.

The future president Joe Biden will also stick to the so-called Artemis program, believes space expert Kai-Uwe Schrogl, but not necessarily to the tight schedule: “There are no indications that the Biden administration is running the lunar program with Gateway, the station in the Lunar orbit, and Artemis, the use of the lunar surface, is canceled. Important partners such as Europe, Japan and Canada are already contractually involved and are working on their provision. However, one can expect that the time frame will be more realistic and in stages. “


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Brexit trade deal: fishermen accuse Johnson of fraud

After the agreement between the EU and Great Britain, the allegations of the British fishermen do not want to fall silent. They received only a fraction of the fishing rights that Prime Minister Johnson promised them.

British fishermen feel betrayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. “Boris Johnson promised us the rights to all the fish swimming in our exclusive economic zone, but we only received a fraction of it,” said the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Organizations (NFFO), Andrew Locker, on BBC Radio 4. “I am angry, disappointed and feel betrayed.”

“Many are far worse”

Johnson had promised that no fisherman would be worse off. But now there are “a considerable number” who are far worse off than before the deal.

When the UK was still a member of the EU, fishermen could have traded with the community. “We traded things we didn’t need for fish they didn’t need. And that enabled us to set up an annual plan,” said Locker. Now the British fishermen would have to fight hard to keep their livelihoods.

At the weekend, other representatives of the fishing industry had expressed criticism of the agreements in the British media. The Guardian reported that the chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations, Barrie Deas, said his industry had been betrayed in order to win a major deal. Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said that promises made to her country’s fishing industry have been broken.

Minister of State Michael Gove disagreed. Rather, Britain will be in a much stronger position than the EU, Gove told the BBC. Under the EU’s common fisheries policy, British fishermen would only have access to 50 percent of the fish in British waters. That number will now rise to two thirds by 2026, said Gove. The country will invest in the fleet and infrastructure and can further increase its share.

Fishing – a sticking point in negotiations

Fishing plays only a minor role for the British economy, but it was symbolically heavily charged by Great Britain and France on the EU side and one of the most difficult points in the negotiations on the Brexit trade pact.

Ultimately, London made concessions. European fishermen initially only have to forego a quarter of their catch quotas – over a period of five and a half years. From June 2026, annual negotiations on catch quotas will take place. A permanent cut of 80 percent was called for. Should London later further restrict access for foreign fishermen, Brussels could respond with tariffs.



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Trade, tourism, justice: the main consequences of the Brexit trade pact

The trade agreement is intended to regulate the most difficult hurdles of Brexit. What does the 1200-page document mean for companies, employees and travelers? Answers to important questions.

Is this a soft Brexit now?

No. The soft landing, which many in the EU had long hoped for, was no longer off the table with Boris Johnson’s election victory last year. Great Britain is leaving the EU internal market and the customs union and is significantly further away from the orbit of Brussels than Norway or Switzerland, for example.

Business associations on both sides of the English Channel had hoped for significantly more. Cooperation is limited to a minimum. So Brexit is rather tough. But it is not a fall over the cliff with chaotic consequences for the economy and people.

What does that mean for retail?

Trade between Great Britain and the EU states will be considerably more difficult than before. Companies on both sides will have to deal with significantly more formalities. Although the trade pact does not impose any customs duties on British goods in the future, British exporters to the EU have to laboriously prove from the turn of the year that their products were actually mainly manufactured in their own country. Evidence of compliance with EU food safety rules and compliance with product standards will also have to be provided in future.

The British government has announced that it will initially wave through everything that comes from the EU. Only gradually should papers have to be presented and controls take place.

But things are different on the EU side. The French government announced that it would “massively” inspect British goods from the turn of the year. For the service industry, too, which accounts for around 80 percent of UK gross value added, access to the European internal market will become considerably more difficult with the end of the Brexit transition phase on December 31.

Why was the subject of fishing so difficult?

Although fishing is of little economic importance, it was the most difficult issue to solve. This has to do with the strong focus the UK government put on sovereignty and control in the negotiations. Great Britain must regain its independence – that has been the mantra of Brexit supporters since the referendum in 2016. Control over its own fishing waters has become the most powerful symbol of this.

Even so, London made great concessions in the negotiations. European fishermen initially only have to forego a quarter of their catch quotas – over a period of five and a half years. Should London later restrict their access further, Brussels could respond with tariffs.

What was the last problem?

Another tricky topic was the question of a level playing field. Brussels wanted to prevent the British from lowering their labor rights and environmental protection standards and thereby gaining an unfair competitive advantage. The risk of London “freezing” standards as they continue to rise in the EU over the years should also be averted.

Whether this is the case should now be checked by an independent party. If necessary, the EU could react with tariffs to protect its market.

What do the British expect from leaving the EU?

The exit from the customs union allows Great Britain to conclude free trade agreements with third countries such as the USA, India or China on its own initiative. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wants to make the country the world’s leading location for future technology. The UK should become a “Saudi Arabia of wind power” and a “superpower for science and research”, he announced.

Electric mobility and artificial intelligence are areas that London wants to subsidize heavily. This is probably the reason why the British government has steadfastly resisted submitting to the EU rules on state economic aid. However, the British still have to adhere to a common framework.

The bottom line is that the economic damage caused by Brexit cannot be repaired by anything, according to experts. Brexit is therefore primarily seen as a political project driven by a longing for the golden age of the British Empire. In addition, the exit from the EU was the vehicle for a fundamental change in the political landscape in Great Britain, in which a group within the conservative ruling party, marginalized until the referendum, took over the helm.

What will change for Germans who travel to or emigrate to the UK?

The free movement of people between the EU and Great Britain ends on December 31, 2020. This means that anyone who wants to work and live in Great Britain in the future must apply for a visa. This is to be regulated by a points-based system in which factors such as the level of income and the industry play a role. There will be no visa requirement for tourists on shorter trips.

The good news is that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) remains valid for the time being with the deal. In the future, travelers should also be able to make use of their health insurance cover in their home country in an emergency. Not regulated in the agreement, but still important for tourists to the UK, it is likely that the major telephone providers do not want to charge any roaming charges.

Will Brexit endanger peace in Northern Ireland?

The risk of having to introduce border controls between Northern Ireland, which belongs to the United Kingdom and the EU member state Ireland, was actually already averted in the exit agreement. This gives Northern Ireland a special status and remains more closely linked to the EU than the rest of the Kingdom.

What does the deal mean for police and judicial cooperation?

The cooperation of the British authorities with the EU agencies Europol and Eurojust is to continue. But London can no longer help shape the rules for these agencies. There are also provisions for close cooperation between the British police and judiciary and those of the EU countries.

In the future, the British will no longer have access to certain EU databases – such as the Schengen information system, in which, among other things, people who have been put out to be searched are stored. However, the UK can still access the EU database for storing passenger data, vehicle registration data or the EU criminal record. Cooperation should also continue in the case of cross-border health risks (such as the corona pandemic) and the exchange of secret information.

Which areas are not regulated in the Brexit trade pact?

The subject of foreign and security policy was excluded from the negotiations at the request of the British government. “From January 1st, there will be no framework between Great Britain and the EU to develop and coordinate a coordinated response to foreign policy challenges,” reads an overview by the EU Commission. This applies, for example, to sanctions against individuals or the economy of third countries.

There is also no longer any automatic recognition of professional qualifications. For example, doctors, engineers and architects and many other professional groups will have to prove their qualifications according to the rules of the place of work. Great Britain will no longer participate in the European Erasmus student exchange program.

What happens now?

Due to the time pressure you have to improvise. The trade pact will initially be applied provisionally from January. All 27 EU states and some national parliaments must agree to this. The European Parliament will then examine the treaty retrospectively in January – and could theoretically reject it. The British Parliament is due to wave the agreement on December 30th.

Source: dpa

The Tagesschau reported on this topic on December 25, 2020 at 6:24 p.m.


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