Brexit restrictions have started, and it did not take customs officers long to be strict on what is allowed across the border. On January 12, a customs officer confiscated a ham sandwich wrapped in tinfoil, stashed inside the car he pulled over.
Effects of Brexit Deal
The footage broadcast by Dutch TV network NPO 1 showed a convivial Dutch border official say, “Welcome to the Brexit, sir, I’m sorry!” as he chuckled and confiscated the illicit snack.
However, the customs official only followed the new rules that came into force after the post-Brexit UK stopped using European Union regulations that took effect on January 1, 2021.
Before Brexit, the United Kingdom was part of the European Union’s single market that allows people, goods, services, and money to go back and forth between continents with fewer restrictions; sometimes, there were no checks made at all.
In December 2020, both the UK and the EU agreed on a new trade deal that replaced their old partnership. Since then, businesses and travelers felt the new system’s nuisances and its potential to inflict severe disruption.
The driver in the viral video had traveled from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands, which is still one of EU’s 27 member countries.
The driver looked surprised at having his sandwich confiscated and asked in disbelief, “can’t I just take off the meat and leave the bread?” But unfortunately, he couldn’t.
British government guidance warns people that they can’t carry in their personal luggage “products of animal origin such as those containing meat or dairy,” just like a ham sandwich.
The EU is worried that anything imported from the UK, which they just departed with and follows different regulations, could have a real threat to animal health.
This news isn’t the first time that it happened.
The Netherlands’ customs agency posted on their official Facebook account a picture showing a pile of food, including cereal, a box of oranges, and a carton of orange juice. These are custom’s confiscated items from drivers who arrived at the border ferry port in Hook of Holland.
However, while confiscating food may seem like a trivial thing, the real and more severe impact of Brexit is being felt by businesses.
A government watchdog called the Office for Budget Responsibility says that the deal negotiated by the UK British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to weaken the UK’s economy by 4% compared pre-Brexit.
Financial firms are also feeling the effects of Brexit, and the confusion brought by the new border checks has seen delays in their products.
John Ross Jr., a Scottish salmon producer, wrote in an open letter that “it feels as though our own government has thrown us into the cold Atlantic waters without a lifejacket.”
Brexit has also disrupted the United Kingdom. More paperwork meant longer delays and food shortages in Northern Island, a part of the United Kingdom but is treated “differently” for trade under the Brexit deal.