By Anne Hernandez
THIS past week, apart from the excitement of a vaccine becoming available for use in the UK, intense talks between the EU and the UK have been taking place with not much being reported which was seen to be a positive outcome.
That old adage ‘no news is good news’ though seems to be in question as talks look to be on the verge of collapse with the countdown stopwatch being paused while David Frost and Michel Barnier report back to their principals that the ‘conditions for an agreement are not met’.
Neither side wants to compromise although a no deal could spell problems for both the UK and the EU.
The fishing industry is one stumbling block as France, in particular, wants to continue to fish in British waters but Britain is digging its heels in and part of its ‘taking back control’ wants to control that access and, with the last EU summit this year on 10 December, France could veto any deal it doesn’t like. We wait with bated breath as to the outcome but, as has been predicted by many since the referendum back in 2016, it has certainly gone to the wire!
Meanwhile, the haulage firms are left unable to plan for any new rules because that information, due in August, is still not forthcoming. So, as previously reported, delays at customs and queues regardless of any deal, might mean food shortages in the UK which, in turn, will likely lead to price increases as the extra tariffs and costs of delays are offset. 26% of the UK’s food imports come from the EU, produce like fresh fruits, salad vegetables, meat and wine could become scarce and unbelievably, even most of that very British Cheddar cheese comes from Ireland!
And, of course, the site in Ashford, Kent where all these lorries are due to be held while the paperwork is checked, is still under construction. Rain has stopped work there for some time but the construction wasn’t even started until late summer. Nothing like leaving things to the last minute!
Spain has announced the requirements for visas for Brits visiting after 31 December. The 90 days in any 180 days Schengen rule still stands but longer stays will need a visa being granted in advance upon application for those Brits who, as non EU citizens, wish to come to reside, work or study here.
Spain continues to try to meet our increased and late demand for those residencies and exchange of driving licences but, with appointments being few and far between, many Brits are very worried for their residential status here come next year.
We, at Brexpats in Spain, are doing our best to help but 24 hours in a day at the moment frankly do not seem enough! The EU is interested in our plight with TV and radio wanting interviews and talks with our members over the next couple of weeks but, disappointing though not surprising, nothing requested from any British-based press!