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BREXIT

Can I take French meat, cheese and wine into the UK in 2022?

It's hardly unknown for holidaymakers to stock up on a little French cheese, wine and sausage while they're here - but what does the end of the Brexit transition period mean for travellers wanting to take food back into the UK?

Can I take French meat, cheese and wine into the UK in 2022?
Want to take a little French cheese into the UK? Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, travellers who want to bring British food products into France have faced strict controls and outright bans on certain substances, from a ham sandwich for the journey to bringing in a little gift of chocolate or your mum’s home baking.

READ ALSO Bovril, tea and ham sandwiches – what are the rules on taking food from the UK into France?

But taking French produce to those in the UK has been unaffected.

This was originally set to change in 2022 and British authorities set a series of deadlines for imposing controls on imports from the EU, beginning in July.

However, the British minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has now announced that the checks will not begin until 2023 at the earliest.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, he said: “No further import controls on EU goods will be introduced this year – businesses can stop their preparations for July now.”

This is the fourth extension to a deadline for import controls from the British government.

It’s not immediately clear whether the UK government intends to just delay its original timetable or come up with a totally new plan in 2023.

Since January 1st 2022 full customs declarations and customs controls has been imposed at the UK border – but this affects only business imports, not private individuals such as returning holidaymakers.

The introduction of checks on specified products including meat, meat products, dairy products, certain types of plants and fish products have been delayed.

These products will require veterinary certification and physical checks will be introduced at the border.

The rules as written refer to all imports – not only those for commercial purposes – so would cover holidaymakers taking home a little French paté as a souvenir, or Brits living in France taking saussison sec or confit de canard as a gift for friends and relatives back in the UK.

Wine, beer and spirits

French wine, beer and spirits are not affected by the latest announcement, but have since January 2021 been subject to new limits.

Bringing to an end the cherished tradition of the booze cruise, there are now strict limits on the amount of wine, beer, spirits and tobacco that can be brought into the UK from the EU.

The amounts still allow for bringing a few gifts into the UK, but gone are the days of taking the car over to Calais and loading up the boot in one of the many French wine warehouses.

You can find full details on allowances HERE

Member comments

  1. It’s a shame . The EU was offered full mutual recognition for these food products but refused as they’re desperately trying to demonstrate there’s any benefit to EU membership.

    1. There obviously IS benefit to EU membership – the Single Market – which the UK government opted to leave, in a hard brexit, so it can hardly expect to keep the benefits of it. Johnson explicitly proposed ‘cakeism’ for the UK (eat your cake/cheese and keep it). The EU was never going to give it to him, and didn’t. IMHO All these problems are due to the disingenuous Leave campaign and then the UK government opting for a hard brexit, that few voted for. Recent polls of UK opinion show considerable ‘buyers regret’ in those who voted Leave.

      1. This is not a ‘hard brexit’ by any stretch of the imagination. The unfortunate thing is that this a typical Politicians mess.
        We have ended up with the worst of both worlds, still paying for the EU and without the ‘Benefits’ of membership.
        I voted to leave, but to me, Leave meant Leave totally, and not this Halfway house. It was pie in the sky to imagine that the EU would wave us a fond farewell. Their aim is to protect the Eurocrats self interest at all cost and that is expansionism at any cost.
        The regret we feel is that we have been sold down the river by our Political rulers which was inevitable once our High Court decided that our democratic vote should be further scrutinised by the House of Parliament

        1. What on earth made you think that leaving a major trading block with a set of rules we helped formulate was going to be any different? I have no idea what you expected to happen. Brexit was never going to work. We could have stayed in the SM and CU but that was May’s red line. It’s not the EU’s fault that it’s applying the rules to us. We’re just another third country.

  2. Another cock up from the Brexit Team – There was absolutely NO benefit in leaving the EU, but I am sure someone is making a tidy profit out of everyone else’s misery.

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BREXIT

‘Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed’ – How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

A new in-depth survey on British nationals living in the EU has revealed the impact that Brexit has had upon their lives, and their attitudes to their country of origin.

'Ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed' - How Brits in the EU feel about the UK

The study, conducted by academics at Lancaster and Birmingham universities, provides a snapshot of how Brits in the EU live – their age, family, work and education – and how they feel about the UK in the six years since the Brexit vote.

Unsurprisingly, it revealed that Brexit has had a major practical impact on the lives of Brits living in the EU – who are now subject to third-country rules and require residency cards or visas and face restrictions on voting and onward movement within the EU.

But the survey’s 1,328 respondents were also asked about their emotions towards the country of their birth.

Eighty percent of respondents said it had changed their feelings towards the UK.

A British woman living in Norway said she felt: “Deep, deep shame. Embarrassed to be British, ashamed that I didn’t try hard enough, or appreciate my EU citizenship.”

“Since Brexit I am disappointed in the UK. I am worried, and no longer feel like I have the same affinity for the country. It’s a shame because I love ‘home’ but the country feels so polarised,” added a British woman in her 30s living in Denmark.

An Austrian resident with dual British-Irish nationality said: “I feel disconnected, like it’s a completely different country from how I left it.

“So much so I feel more connected with my second nationality (Irish) despite the fact I never grew up in Ireland. It’s embarrassing what’s happened in the UK and what continues to happen. It’s like watching a house on fire from afar.”

The experience of living abroad during the pandemic also affected people’s feelings towards the UK, with 43 percent of people saying the UK’s handling of the Covid crisis affected their feelings towards the county.

A British woman in her 50s living in Spain said: “It was shambolic. Too late, too little, mixed messaging, lack of seriousness. So many deaths after what should have been a head start.”

A British man living in Greece described it simply as “a shit show”.

In addition to the Brexit effect, the survey also provided interesting and detailed data on the lives and profiles of Brits who live in the EU;

  • 69 percent had degree-level education
  • 77 percent worked in a professional or managerial role
  • 53 percent are of working age
  • 59 percent have been living in their country of residence for more than five years
  • 78 percent said it was very unlikely that they would move countries in the next five years 
  • The most common reasons for moving country were retirement (40 percent), family reasons (35 percent) and work (30 percent)

Almost all respondents said that Brexit had impacted their lives, with the loss of freedom of movement being the most common effect mentioned.

One man said: “My original plan (pre-2016) was to move to France on retirement, due in 2026. Brexit caused me to move sooner, in order to retain my European citizenship rights. The pandemic helped (indirectly) in that I got locked down in France in 2020, which enabled me to earn residence under the pre-Brexit rules. I had been talking to my employer about doing something similar before the pandemic broke.”

“I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100 percent a result of Brexit,” said one American-British dual national.

Other respondents talked about the post-Brexit admin necessary to gain residency status in their country, financial losses due to the weakening of the pound against the euro and the loss on onward freedom of movement – meaning that Brits resident in one EU country no longer have the right to move to another.

The report also highlighted that only 60 percent of respondents had changed their legal status by security residency since Brexit.

For some Brits in the EU this is not necessary if they already have citizenship of their country of residence (or another EU country such as Ireland) but the report’s author highlighted that: “It may also offer an early indicator that within this population there are some who may find themselves without legal residence status, with consequences in the future for their right to residence, and access to healthcare, welfare and work (among other services).”

READ ALSO What to do if you have missed the Brexit deadline in France 

In total 42 percent of respondents were completely disenfranchised – the 15-year rule means they can no longer vote in the UK, while the loss of EU citizenship means that they cannot vote in European or local elections in their country of residence.

The British government has recently announced the ending of the 15-year rule, giving voting rights to all UK nationals, no matter how long they live outside the UK. 

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