Brexit: Lia Nici slams EU export process at borders
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a Brexit trade deal with the European Union back in December and as of January 1, the UK left the Single Market and free movement stopped. EU citizens who moved to the UK before the end of the transition period are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Italian ambassador Raffaele Trombetta has admitted there were some difficulties for companies to adjust to the new regulations.
But Mr Trombetta praised the Brexit deal for creating the “largest free trade area” in the world.
He said: “This agreement has undoubtedly created the largest free trade area in the world.
“It is true the first weeks have shown us that our companies and the British ones engaged in exports have encountered difficulties linked above all to customs processes, VAT, sanitary controls.
“But our commitment has been and will be to inform our companies and continue to assist them as the ICE office is doing with its own Brexit Desk, which receives dozens and dozens of requests for clarification a day, and as we do on a daily basis in the Italian Embassy in the United Kingdom.”
According to Marco Villani, Consul General of Italy in London, the mass counterexodus of Italians due to Brexit has not happened, despite many claiming it would be expected.
During a live stream on II Sole 24 Ore website, Mr Villani said: “There does not seem to be any preparation for an exodus of our citizens to Italy due to Brexit.
“Most of those who moved here did so with the intention of staying, with or without Brexit.
“In practice, a counterexodus of Italians from the United Kingdom to Italy was expected, which did not happen.
“This indicates a moderate trust and expectation of our citizens.”
Mr Villani went on to explain how the inflow of Italian citizens into the UK has more than doubled in the space of seven years.
He added: “At first it does not seem that Brexit has stopped the arrival of our citizens in this country.
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“Rather, citizens registered in the Registry of Italians Residing Abroad (Aire) in England and Wales have more than doubled in the space of seven years.”
Following the UK’s departure from the bloc, eurosceptism across Italy has grown with many urging Italy to follow Britain and leave the EU.
Earlier this month, Italexit founder Gianluigi Paragone said his party would not support the new Prime Minister Mario Draghi in the upper house of parliament, and added “this is the time” for Italy to leave the EU.
This comes as Spanish eurosceptics have officially launched a campaign for Spain to have a referendum on its membership of the EU.
The Spexit referendum campaign was launched by left-wing eurosceptic party SOMOS España but aims at a cross-party solution to Spain’s subjugation to the Brussels bloc.
Its leader Luis Carlos Nogues has also teamed up with Mr Gallois, Italexit leader Mr Paragone and former Brexit Party MEP Alexandra Phillips for a continental campaign to leave the EU.
The cross-border eurosceptics launched their Eurexit Movement campaign last month.
The UK voted to leave the EU back in 2016 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson cinched a trade deal on Christmas Eve, days before the end of the transition period.
Announcing the deal, a Downing Street source said: “We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU.
“We have delivered this great deal for the entire United Kingdom in record time, and under extremely challenging conditions, which protects the integrity of our internal market and Northern Ireland’s place within it.
“The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU, we are not bound by EU rules, there is no role for the European Court of Justice and all of our key red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved. It means that we will have full political and economic independence on January 1 2021.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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