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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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POLITICS

British PM Boris Johnson’s dad becomes French

The Brexit-supporting father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acquired French citizenship, a French justice ministry source told AFP.

British PM Boris Johnson's dad becomes French

A Conservative who once worked for the European Commission in Brussels, Stanley Johnson opposed Brexit at first but swung behind the EU departure project following 2016’s narrow referendum vote that was championed by his son.

The elder Johnson’s ties to France are through his French mother, and he speaks the language.

The 81-year-old filed his citizenship application at the French consulate in London in November last year, with a six-month deadline for the justice ministry to object elapsing on Wednesday.

“Based on the facts in his application, and without a refusal by the justice minister, Mr Stanley Johnson acquired French nationality on May 18 2022,” the ministry told AFP.

READ ALSO Am I eligible for French citizenship?

“This decision concerns only Mr Stanley Johnson and does not extend to his descendants,” it added.

The most common ways of acquiring French nationality are through residency in the country or marriage to a French citizen.

However it is possible to become French through family connections, although France accepts only a French parent – not a grandparent like Ireland or a great-grandparent like Italy – in these types of application.

READ ALSO How to obtain French citizenship through ancestry

French law normally prevents children of its citizens from claiming nationality if their family has been abroad for more than 50 years without making use of their rights.

But their applications can still be considered if they can prove “concrete ties of a cultural, professional, economic or family nature” with France — a clause Stanley invoked in his application.

“I’ll always be European, that’s for sure,” Stanley Johnson told RTL radio in French in a December 2020 interview.

He had come under fire at home for his plans, announced at the same time most Britons were losing the right to travel freely across the European Union as a post-Brexit “transition period” ended.

“It’s not a question of becoming French. If I understand correctly I am French! My mother was born in France, her mother was completely French as was her grandfather,” Stanley said.

“For me it’s a question of obtaining what I already have and I am very happy about that,” he added.

Around 3,100 British people acquired French nationality in 2020, according to the latest figures available from EU statistics agency Eurostat, making France the second most popular choice for acquiring European citizenship, after Germany.

Stanley Johnson has become a public figure in Britain following his son’s political rise, appearing on a celebrity reality TV show in 2017 and appearing regularly in the media.

His ex-wife Charlotte Fawcett — Boris’s mother — told a biographer recently that Stanley had beaten her many times, breaking her nose on one occasion.

Last year two women, a Conservative MP and a journalist, accused him of groping or touching them inappropriately.

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