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- Londoners react as UK starts its new post Brexit era
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Londoners express their relief and sadness as the Brexit transition period has ended and the UK has left the European Union's single market. The United Kingdom's 48-year obligation to follow Brussels' rules has ended and so has free movement for over 500 million people between Britain and the 27 EU states. IMAGES AND SOUNDBITES - Ron Withers,London resident
- Lisa Rouse,London resident
- Steve Whittaker,London resident
- Julian Clarke,London resident
LONDON,UNITED KINGDOMJANUARY 1,2021SOURCE: AFPTVIMAGES (01:01)1. Wide shot Westminster parliament2. Mid shot Westminster parliament3. Mid shot A woman running next to red phone booths4. Close-up Westminster tube station entrance5. Mid shot buses in the street6. Wide shot people in the street7. Wide shot people running in a park8. Mid shot cars in the street9. Mid shot people riding bikes10. Wide shot horse mounted police11. Mid shot horse mounted police12. SOUNDBITE 1 - Ron Withers,London resident (male,English,16 sec): "I just think it’s been a long time coming,I think it’s been a long journey to get to here,I think the people wanted to leave so we finally left,and I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference actually,I think we will still going to be good friends with our neighbours across the sea. "13. SOUNDBITE 2 - Lisa Rouse,London resident (female,English,17 sec): "I think it will be a little tough for a while,maybe a couple of years,but UK will win in the end and they will do very well because it’s a great country and it has got a wonderful feeling and wonderful nature. "14. SOUNDBITE 3 - Steve Whittaker,London resident (male,English,30 sec): "I have a feeling not great. It’s a decision that the people of the UK made,I wasn’t one of those people that wanted to get out because I’m a strong believer that we,at this day and age,you cannot work well on your own,you have to have a team,or countries around you,so not great. You never know what the future brings,apparently I’m hearing things from yesterday like ‘the doors are still open for the future’,things can change again and I hope that happens. "15. SOUNDBITE 4 - Julian Clarke,London resident (male,English,29 sec): "Really sad to not be European anymore. I think it was a really awful decision that we made as a country,and I wish that we weren’t,I wish that we were European to be honest. I feel we are much better as part of a bigger project if you like. I think we’ll lose a lot of rights,a lot of benefits,and I’m not sure how we’ll get those back."
///AFP TEXT STORY:
New Year,new rules: UK begins post-Brexit future By Phil HAZLEWOOD and Joe JACKSON in Dover
ATTENTION - ADDS colour from Dover/Calais and Edinburgh ///London,Jan 1,2021 (AFP) - Britain on Friday began a new year and life outside the European Union after leaving the bloc's single market,with the first trucks crossing the Channel by ferry and rail reporting largely plain sailing despite new customs rules.Brexit,which has dominated politics on both sides of the Channel since 2016,became reality an hour before midnight,ending the United Kingdom's 48-year obligation to follow Brussels' rules.Free movement of over 500 million people between Britain and the 27 EU states ended.More rigorous customs checks returned for the first time in decades,despite the hard-fought brokering of a tariff- and quota-free trade deal.But the approach to key port Dover,where ferries to and from northern France dock,was quiet as dawn broke."It's good to see the port's done its job and there's no backlog," said Alan Leigh,52,of nearby Folkestone,taking an early morning stroll on the cliffs above Dover's docks.Scores of heavy goods vehicles also passed through the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France by train "without any problem" early Friday,its operator said.However,the British government,which is implementing a phased introduction of checks,expects next week to be the true test,once the quiet holiday period is over. New Year's Day newspapers reflected the historic but still deeply divisive change,which will have repercussions for generations to come.The front-page photograph on the pro-Brexit Daily Express showed the White Cliffs of Dover an enduring symbol of Britishness with "Freedom" written on a Union flag."Our Future. Our Britain. Our Destiny," said the headline.The pro-EU Independent was less sure: "Off the hook or cut adrift?" it asked,reflecting widespread uncertainty at the path the country had now chosen.Whether the United Kingdom will even stay united was also exercising minds as the pro-EU Scottish National Party steps up calls for a second referendum on independence."It's a very sad day. Brexit puts a barrier in between my ability to be Scottish and my ability to be British," retiree Bruce Borthwick told AFP in Edinburgh.
- Practical changes -
The Road Haulage Association,an industry body,estimates that some 220 million forms will now need to be filled in every year to comply with the new rules for transporting goods to and from mainland Europe,including permits to even drive on the roads leading to ports like Dover.Ferry group Stena Line tweeted on Friday that six freight loads bound for EU member Ireland were turned away at Holyhead port in north Wales for not having the correct paperwork.Practical changes include how long Britons can visit their holiday homes on the continent,to travel with pets,and an end to British involvement in an EU student programme.Holidaymakers and business travellers used to seamless EU travel could face delays,although fears Britons will have to get international permits to drive in Europe were averted by a separate accord.British fishermen are disgruntled at a compromise in the free trade agreement to allow continued access for EU boats in British waters,which has raised fears of clashes at sea.The key financial services sector also faces an anxious wait to learn on what basis it can keep dealing with Europe,after being largely omitted from the trade deal along with services in general,which account for 80 percent of Britain's economy.In Northern Ireland,the border with Ireland will be closely watched to ensure movement is unrestricted key to a 1998 peace deal that ended 30 years of violence over British rule.
- 'Unknown opportunities' -
Despite the uncertainty,Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bullishly optimistic,writing in Friday's Daily Telegraph that Brexit presented "opportunities unknown to modern memory".He said "the world has changed out of all recognition,and so has the UK" since the country joined the European Common Market in 1973."We need to keep pace with developments on the west coast of America and in the Pearl River delta," he added."We need the Brexit-given chance to turbo-charge those sectors in which we excel." Divisions over Brexit,both political and social,remain deep and are likely to last for years,despite a muted end to the saga overshadowed by the global health crisis.Opinion polls indicate that most Britons want to move on and are far more worried about the worsening coronavirus pandemic,which has left more than 73,500 dead in Britain alone.Johnson,who survived several days in intensive care with Covid last April,warned of tough times ahead but said a UK-developed vaccine offered grounds for hope.phz-jwp/jit/bp
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