Europe

Brexit next steps: The five big holes Britain needs to fill to make Brexit work

Alastair Campbell clashes with Anita Boateng on Brexit

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The Government realised its Brexit deal on January 1 this year, prizing the UK from the EU’s remaining rules after years of negotiations. People have since felt the sting of leaving the bloc, however, with arguments developing over fishing quotas, countrywide shortages, and more. These make up a significant portion of the issues now plaguing several sectors in the UK, and it could take some time to smooth them over.

Supply chain

Brexit, combined with the Covid pandemic, has introduced a significant strain on the British supply chain.

A new shortage of HGV drivers has come amid testing stalled by COVID-19 and EU-based hauliers choosing to stay in their home countries after Brexit for the same reason.

Estimates show 14,000 left the country following Brexit, only 600 of whom have opted to return.

Many employers now face the need to raise salaries of their existing drivers to avoid losing more, and the Government must attempt to fast-track incoming applications.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland, a UK home nation that borders independent and the EU-based Republic of Ireland, was subject to the Northern Ireland Protocol post-Brexit.

The protocol allowed the nation to exit the EU alongside the rest of the UK and avoid a hard land border that risked upsetting an already fragile peace upheld by the Good Friday Agreement.

Riots have since broken out in some parts of the country, and Northern Ireland’s local government has come out against the latest arrangement.

The Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) latest leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, has called on ministers in Westminster and Brussels to drop the protocol.

He has previously proposed removing the protocol to “protect the internal UK market” it splits via the Irish Sea.

Diplomacy

Cutting ties with the EU was a question of giving the UK some independence, Brexit advocates have declared.

But the vote has led to growing animosity across the English Channel, with lingering aggression complicating remaining negotiations.

Chief negotiator Lord Frost wants the bloc to accept a “substantial and significant change” to the deal.

He told attendees at the British-Irish Association conference in Oxford that the current negotiating process could cause a “cold mistrust”.

The fraught state of the relationship is “holding back the potential for a new era of co-operation between like-minded states”, he added.

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Fishing

Fishing has anchored many Brexit voters since 2016, with many fishermen decrying quotas they believed skewed in favour of the EU.

But industry bodies have since declared the resulting fishing deal “sold out” British fishermen.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, argued it had triggered a “fall from grace” for the industry.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, Mr Deas said quotas had changed, but only “at the margins”.

He added the ultimate deal offered to fishermen landed far away from the “sea of opportunity” sold to those in his organisation.

Travel

One of the EU’s best-known advantages was Freedom of Movement, which allowed near-frictionless travel between nations within its bounds.

Since the UK has left its sphere, people travelling to EU destinations including Spain, Italy, or Greece must secure travel visas.

These apply to holidaymakers and those looking for permanent stays.

British students have had a tough time recently, with many of those on foreign language courses struggling to get visas approved for the move across the channel.

Their applications have seen significant delays, with little explanation as to why.

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