Editorial: Ciao, Adios, Goodbye

(source: Pixabay/Daniel Diaz)

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At the stroke of midnight on 31 December, Brexit finally kicked in with full gusto, with the UK unshackled from a tumultuous relationship dating back to 1973. What it precisely means in the long run for Britain and its former counterparts is well and truly speculative; it’s believed it may take up to a decade to establish both the economic strong and weak points. Right now, we are assured the deal is a good one, the best it could be given in the scenario, and quite frankly it is, after all, Boris did promise he would deliver a result on that front.

Logistics businesses are experiencing some teething issues according to reports from Maltese with trade in the UK, such as importers and exporters. Simultaneously, Malta’s many British expats have their livelihoods reassured under last year’s withdrawal agreement. The incoming new residency card will rightfully be theirs – providing one ticked all the right boxes.

However, one cannot deny over in the UK the proverbial economic waters have been muddied with the Covid-19 pandemic in combination with the cherry on the cake of the tremendous Brexit exit; let’s hope the UK doesn’t feel the hit of both in tandem-not forgetting a recent national lockdown throw into the mix. Whilst London may remain one of the world’s top financial hubs, we must not overlook the fact London isn’t the whole of the UK.

Cast your mind back to 2016 and you may recall a whole host of claims and counter-attacks which were fired in the run-up to the referendum, especially with regards to who Britain would have the upper hand to strike deals with. While agreements have emerged across the globe, some analysts state these are not different from the deals with the EU.

Over the pond, as Trump exits the Whitehouse, for the time being so do talks of US-UK trade agreements fade into the ether. Though one rabbit pulled out of the hat in recent weeks has to be the 11th hour “Canada plus” free trade deal agreed with the EU on Christmas eve.

Fervent Brexit stalwarts, such as David Davis, always noted the deal would come right down to the nitty-gritty, the “proverbial wire”, of course, and he was proved correct. Davis was the first secretary of state for “Exiting the European Union”. As much as he was right, he and the rest of the Cabinet have no magical powers to see into the future’s economic impact of Brexit. We also must not neglect the notion both Northern Ireland and Scotland have expressed interest in re-joining the bloc.

Right now, we have to take it day by day, look at the facts and the great reassurance coming from the British High Commission here in Malta who are doing a sterling job in communicating effectively. It’s to Malta’s credit they want trading and visitors as usual, and the British tourists to resume in the post-pandemic world. Though how will those very tourists react to the absence of pet passports, the need for international driving permits to rent a car on our local roads, stricter passport checks and a limit of 200 cigarettes upon return to the UK? No doubt the ones that grumble the most were the very same ones who championed to leave.

Happy New Year.

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