A strange surprise awaited Eurostar passengers from London on Friday when they arrived on the platforms of Gare du Nord: the first customs inspection of the goods, one of the consequences of the Brexit, lasting from midnight.
“In the early days of Brexit, there was a lot of teaching and explanation. We will gradually train travelers to these services and these restrictions, ”explains Jean-Roald L. Hermite, International Regional Director of IL-D-France Customs.
Controls tobacco and alcohol
If the trade agreement between London and Brussels, which ended in terrorism, does not pay any quota or customs duty, and the devastating “no deal” is avoided, the agitation is real. Free movement of goods and people across borders without hindrance – except between Spain and the British Enclave of Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Therefore, from January 1, travelers arriving from the United Kingdom may be subject to restrictions on the amount of alcohol and tobacco and the value of other goods.
“But these restrictions will not lead to a major slowdown in flow,” assures Jean-Rold El Hermit, making it clear that they are not targeting every passenger. British residents leaving Paris can benefit from a tax refund on goods purchased in the European Union (EU), exceeding the 100 euro limit by refunding VAT on their purchases. With the new missions linked to Brexit, 15 customs officers are coming to strengthen the cross-channel internal surveillance brigade, bringing the total to 125.
“We are beginning to feel Brexit.”
Fifteen minutes before the first Brexit Eurostar enters the Gare du Nord, at 12:47 pm in Paris, about a dozen of them are busy: a little impatient, smiling, and setting tables to control passenger luggage. The first passengers rush out of the TGV, some have to stand at the customs stand, where they explain the new rules.
“When I arrived they asked me if I had any groceries, food up to 300 euros. In that case, I would have to pay taxes, “said Stephanie Baps, a 35-year-old French woman living in London. “Like all French people, I bring meat, cheese or wine when I return to London. Now, meat will be banned in the luggage, we will pay attention to what we bring back and check the government website. For the return, I will not bring anything immediately, it will get worse, ”she sighed.
Many products are prohibited from traveling
In addition to meat, milk and dairy products will be banned. Flowers, fruits, vegetables and plants are subject to phytosanitary control when entering the European Union. “I come home once a year and I don’t have to come home on holidays. I had an emergency. At the last minute I took a test (for Kovid) for 200 pounds (approximately 225 euros) and with a ticket that costs blind and customs… ”, Stephanie Baps summarizes. “There, we begin to experience Brexit.”
In London, the passengers of the first train from Paris, which arrived at 2:39 pm, were quietly leaving a St. Pancras station with the shops closed. “Knowing what needs to change” sums up Mathilde Allemond, 35, a pediatric nurse in London, where she has lived for seven years. Before leaving, he said, “It took me an hour to check everything out, because there is a pandemic and Brexit.”
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