Agreement entered into force provisionally on January 1
The trade and partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom entered into force, provisionally, on January 1st and will be maintained until the last day of February. Until then, the European Parliament will have to analyze, supervise and approve so that, in March, the document signed by the two parties starts to definitively manage relations between the 27 countries of the bloc and the United Kingdom.The agreement applies to all relations that have been established between the EU and the United Kingdom since the first day of this year. This detail makes a difference for those who already worked and lived in the United Kingdom and those who intend to do so now, for example.
The head of the secretariat of the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs, José Luís Pacheco, spoke about some of the main issues that arise from now on.1 – The situation of Europeans who work or want to work in the UK
For citizens who are already in the UK and have applied for resident or permanent pre-resident status, there will be no changes, because their rights were safeguarded by the withdrawal agreement that came into force a year ago.
For now, 328 thousand Portuguese have applied for the right of residence in the United Kingdom, which they must obtain, definitively, by June this year. From that date, those who do not have this status will be in an irregular situation in the country.
The agreement does not establish specific rules for Europeans who now want to go to work or reside in the United Kingdom. London did not accept that there was an understanding for the future regarding this issue. For those who want to go to work in the UK, the emigration rules of that territory will apply. Among other things, it will be necessary to obtain a visa while in the country of origin. The worker must prove that he / she has a job offer and that he / she has the necessary qualifications to perform the functions that he / she will perform. You will also need to prove that you will receive payment compatible with the country's salary scales.
2 – Access for European students to education in the United Kingdom
The UK decided to leave the Erasmus program, claiming that there are more European students in the country than there are British students in Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was difficult to maintain this partnership economically.
However, Erasmus students who are already in British territory and included in the program can continue until the end of the exchange, because these trips and stays have already been duly authorized and financed from the previous Community budget, the last of which the United Kingdom was a part. .
London now wants to create its own student exchange program, so it will be necessary to wait to know the rules and conditions. For European students participating in the Erasmus exchange program, the United Kingdom was the fourth most sought after destination.
From now on, Europeans who want to go to study in the UK, other than through an exchange program, need to obtain a visa in the country of origin and prove that there is a place at the university they intend to attend, that they speak English and who have means of subsistence. It is that studying in the UK will become more expensive.
If until now any European student on British soil could not be discriminated against and was treated as a citizen of the Union with the same rights and financial charges as a British citizen, from January this year they will have to pay the tuition and costs of a third-country national, which in most cases can mean double what they have paid so far
3 – European fishermen's access to UK waters
This was one of the areas that most divided the two parts. The European Union defended the European fishermen's right of access to British waters as one of the counterparts of access, without quotas and customs fees, from the United Kingdom to the market of 450 million consumers out of 27.
In the agreement now in force, it is established that European fishermen will gradually lose over 25 years of fishing quotas in British waters over five years. After these five years, the possibilities of capture will be negotiated year by year.
If it is a fact that European fishermen fish more in the United Kingdom than British fishermen in Europe, it is also true that London exports about two thirds of the fishing products it produces to the European Union market.
The issue of fishing was important, not because of the economic value it represents – close to 700 million euros a year when the total trade between the two parties is 700 billion – but because of the importance it has for European coastal communities.
Portugal is not one of the European Union countries with the largest fishing activity in UK waters. The Minister of the Sea, Ricardo Serrão Santos, admits interest in the exchange for the capture of other species.4 – Access to health care for Europeans in the United Kingdom In short visits, the European health card remains valid to allow Europeans receive health care in the UK and the British on European soil.
The settlement of accounts will be made later between the social security systems of the countries involved.
The situation will be different for those who are going to work or reside in the UK. In that case, British national rules on social security and access to health care will apply.
This is one of the areas where, in the future, it is accepted that the two parties can move towards more specific agreements and define situations that are not covered by the trade and partnership agreement.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, affirmed, after the agreement was signed, to wait for a close cooperation between the two parties, to face the covid-19 pandemic and even a treaty for cooperation in the area of health issues.
5 – The confidence of European consumers in the quality of products arriving from the United Kingdom
At the moment, there are no reasons for European consumers to be suspicious of the quality of products imported from the United Kingdom, because health control conditions, for example, must always respect the requirements of those who import.
The agreement found ways to simplify trade, so that excessive sanitary control did not block the flow of goods.
An increase in this type of inspection can, however, occur at any time, if the European Union's customs services register consequent non-compliance with the established rules.
6 – What will be required when traveling to the UK
The United Kingdom, when it was part of the European Union, did not integrate the Schengen area, and the rules that were in force until now will be maintained.
Those traveling to and from the United Kingdom will continue to have to present documents, on departure and arrival and, in the case of airports, in areas other than those intended for citizens of countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement, which allows free movement of people within the signatory countries, without the need to present a passport at the borders. However, it will not be necessary to obtain a prior visa for short trips – up to 90 days – for tourism or business.
Until October of this year, however, the presentation of the citizen card will be sufficient, but from that date onwards it will be required to show a passport.
7 – The question of competition and companies in the European Union and the United Kingdom
Achieving fair and free competition between the two parties has always been one of the European Union's priorities. The chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has always insisted on the need to apply level playing field criteria, creating the conditions so that everyone can have the same possibility of success in the market, without rules or support that can distort fair competition. State support and subsidies to companies must be adequate and not allow advantageous situations in the market.
If one of the parties considers that the aid that is being granted to companies is contrary to what has been agreed, it can appeal to an arbitral tribunal and, as a last resort, impose sanctions that may include the ban on imports of products from the industry that is to be subsidized by Brussels or London.
The United Kingdom wanted to impose its own rules, but the European Union understood that access without tariffs, customs duties and import limits would be necessary so that there would be no market distortion rules or, alternatively, the imposition of customs taxes or a limit on imports. In the agreement now reached, it was decided to create fair basic situations with the definition of State aid that is compatible with healthy competition.8 – Future bilateral agreements and banking and financial services
From now on, European Union countries can develop bilateral or multilateral agreements with the United Kingdom in areas that are not covered – or are only on certain issues – by the agreements already signed. But the most significant of these areas is that of financial services.
With the end of freedom of services between the two parties, British banks and insurance companies that want to provide services in the EU must necessarily establish themselves in one of the Member States. Thereafter, a Member State can conclude bilateral agreements that address how these services operate.
Another area in which bilateral agreements may be signed in the future is that of emigration. The requirements to work, reside or study can be defined on a case-by-case basis between the United Kingdom and one of the countries of the European Union.9 – The transport of people and goods between the European Union and the United KingdomThe agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom provides for the transport of people and goods by land, sea and air to be maintained, but with some changes.
In the case of passenger air transport, it is possible for a British airline to fly from a point in the United Kingdom to a country in the European Union, but it will no longer be able to stop in one Member State and travel to another and only then return to an airport. country of origin.
In the case of freight transport, it may be possible to make stops, even to prevent the vehicles from returning empty, which would have an ecological and environmental cost that both parties want to avoid.
10 – Cooperation with the UK in research and science programsThe UK has moved away from most European programs – some very significant ones like Erasmus – but close cooperation in other areas will be maintained. Examples are the Horizon Europe program, the Science Innovation and Research Program, the Copernicus program and the Earth Observation Program, with great relevance in the study and fight against climate change. The joint work between Europeans and Britons can extend to other areas.
It is already possible for other States to participate in European Union programs, as long as they also contribute to financing. The same will have to happen whenever the United Kingdom wants to be an integral part of a European project / program: it will have to finance it in the amount and in the defined form.
Experts consider it desirable that this also happens in areas such as security, defense and foreign policy, where objectives are common. Political will will be needed between the two parties.
Source: Agência Brasil.
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