The heat has been turned down on UK’s EU divorce, but trade expeditions such as Liam Fox’s meeting with the Philippines’ leader pose awkward questions
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A single financial settlement, as a result of UK commitments to the EU, and the EU commitments to the UK – there your resolution is very clear. We do not seek to punish the UK, but simply ask the UK to deliver on its commitments and undertakings as a member of the EU.
In 1999, Vladimir Putin was angling to become president, a complex task considering the amount of money and violence in Russian politics at the time. He needed to talk to all the players and needed to do so somewhere unobtrusive, so he convened a meeting at an oligarch’s Mediterranean villa. This, however, caused a problem: how could he travel to southern Spain without alerting the Spanish, who might monitor the conversations and learn what was going on?
Fortunately, there was a solution: Gibraltar. The then-FSB chief flew into the British territory, hopped on a boat and entered Spain illegally, on perhaps as many as five occasions.
This is where trucks from non-EU countries arrive to clear customs. About 500 come here daily, from the Dover ferries and the Channel tunnel, and their clearance is rather less seamless.
Drivers have to park and fill in a form at the freight clearance office. A computerised system known as the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief) logs details automatically, indicating what the goods are and what the import duty might be, but it has to be checked.
Let’s pay tribute to Britain’s immense contributions: a staunch, defender of free markets & civil liberties. As a liberal, I’ll miss that. pic.twitter.com/2HbAVk2HKI