The UK has begun a new future outside the European Union’s trading structures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it offers the chance to “transform our country”.

The UK has begun a new future outside the European Union’s trading structures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it offers the chance to “transform our country”.
Mr Johnson said the UK has “taken back control of our money, our laws and our waters” after the Brexit transition period with the European Union came to an end at 11pm last night.
Disruption is expected as a result of the increased bureaucracy between the UK and its largest trading partner.
Lower trade volumes on the New Year’s Day bank holiday could mean the full impact of the new regime is yet be felt, but freight appeared to be moving freely at the borders with Ireland and France under the new arrangements.
Mr Johnson said the decision to leave the single market and customs union ended a “47-year experiment” of European Union membership.
He said the EU had provided the UK with a “safe European home” during the 1970s, but the country has now “changed out of all recognition” with global perspectives.
The UK is “free to do things differently, and if necessary better, than our friends in the EU” in 2021, he said in a video message to mark New Year.
As well as the Christmas Eve deal with Brussels, the UK has reached several agreements with non-EU countries – such as Japan – to ensure continuity of trading arrangements for British companies from 1 January.
Under the new arrangements, freedom of movement rights end and, while UK citizens can still travel for work or pleasure, there are different rules.
Passports must be valid for more than six months, visas or permits may be needed for long stays, pets need a health certificate and drivers need extra documents.
The automatic right to live and work in the EU also ceases, and the UK will no longer take part in the Erasmus student exchange programme.
However, third-level students from Northern Ireland will retain access to the Erasmus programme.
Northern Irish citizens who hold Irish passports will also be able to work freely in the EU.
Travel from the UK to Ireland does not change, but the Northern Ireland Protocol means Northern Ireland remains in the EU single market for goods and will apply EU customs rules at its ports, even though the region is still part of the UK customs territory.
The protocol will also see Northern Ireland follow certain EU rules on state aid and VAT.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the change in trading arrangements with the UK will inevitably cause disruption.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We’re now going to see the €80bn worth of trade across the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland disrupted by an awful lot more checks and declarations, and bureaucracy and paperwork, and cost and delay.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the EU should be ready to welcome an independent Scotland back into the bloc.
“Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on,” she said.
Scottish voters did not back Brexit and the First Minister views it as a major issue in her campaign to break away from the UK.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who played a key role in the 2016 referendum, said: “Yes, we spare a thought for Northern Ireland and our fishermen, but this is a moment to celebrate 2021 as an independent United Kingdom. It’s a shame the pubs aren’t open.”