While 2020 will forever be known as the year COVID-19 entered our world, it was also a period of many other significant events. One of these of course is Biden’s presidential triumph. However closer to our shores were the consequences of another vote; Brexit.
The 2016 referendum determined that the UK would leave the EU and this officially occurred on December 31st 2020. Brexit is a topic that has dominated headlines for over four years and while it had to fight for relevance recently, you have probably still heard plenty of coverage about what will happen now that the UK has left the world’s largest trading bloc.
To help you try to decipher the drama, we have put together this simple list of some of the ways that Brexit might impact you (and your online shopping habit). And don’t worry there are no technical or complicated legal terms here!
The restrictions on the free movement of goods also extends to limits on the free movement of people in and out of the UK. Don’t panic! This does not mean you will need a VISA to visit Britain next time it is safe to travel. Instead limits are imposed on the duration of your stay in a 180 day period. You can only spend 90 accumulative days in the UK in a 180 day period. This is likely to affect only those who live between the UK and elsewhere and will have no impact on any of your short breaks like summer or mid-term holidays.
It may also take slightly longer to get through the airport in future due to having an EU passport when you enter a non-EU country.
Chances are that if you have recently ordered anything from the UK, you have already worked this one out! Due to new rules and customs checks, orders that come from or through the UK will now take longer. This is unavoidable due to the additional checks situated at borders and ports. Try to keep this in mind when placing orders, particularly if they are for birthdays or required for particular dates. Alternatively, a great way to combat this is to order from an Irish website where possible. We have a great list of Irish retailers if you are stuck for some inspiration!
This is possibly another feature that you have noticed during any recent forays into the online shopping sphere after Brexit. As of December 31st 2020 the UK have left the European Single Market. This means that there is no longer free travel of goods from the UK to other EU countries. Some retailers are passing off percentages of the extra costs incurred onto the consumer. To avoid any nasty shocks to your bank account keep an eye on the total amount of your basket. The charge will likely be added to the total as a delivery cost and not to each individual product.
A huge amount of Irish trade takes place with the UK. In fact in 2019 alone we exported €13.5 billion (yes billion!) to our nearest neighbour. In the same year we received €18.7 billion worth of imports from the UK too. Our interdependent trade relationship has hit a Brexit shaped obstacle and some Irish supermarkets are experiencing shortages of UK produced products. It is hoped that this will only be short term and many firms are already looking at Irish alternatives. But in the meantime it may result in temporary absences of your favourite food or brand.
The UK are no longer part of the EU’s Erasmus+ programme. This means that you will not be able to study in a UK institution as part of the Erasmus programme. However, the Irish government aim to introduce a scheme that would allow students from Northern Ireland study in the Republic on an Erasmus basis and vice versa. The British government are believed to be preparing to introduce their own exchange programme although this is likely to take some time. It is still possible for Irish students to undertake a degree in a UK institution although the precise fees that students will have to pay may increase.
For more information on what Brexit means for you see Citizen Information.
Has Brexit affected you (and your online shopping) yet?