Ad recruiting drivers in an English supermarket. Photo taken by Inés in London, December 2021
The withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU) also implies an exclusion from the single market all the 27 countries have access to.
As a reminder, thanks to the single market all the goods and services are ensured freedom of movement within the EU by respecting high safety standards. Moreover, people benefit from the right to movement from one country to another, by erasing the borders between them.
Leaving the EU and the effects of the pandemic have created an important food shortage in the UK. This is due to the current customs control at the borders of this country. Although the controls are mostly just on food, as from July 2022, health and environmental procedures will also be essential to validate a product to be sold in the UK.
Inés is a 20-year-old Spaniard finishing her degree in London. According to her, it is not likely to find certain products in the supermarkets in the afternoon, such as meat or milk. This is because 80% of food consumed in the UK is produced in the EU. Besides supermarkets, these shortages also apply to foreigners who wish to work in the UK and to petrol stations. Inés told us she has also seen ads in supermarkets hiring lorry drivers in order to Make Christmas happen.
Not being able to take an Uber because of the petrol shortages due to a lack of lorry drivers and having a limited selection of food goods have been reasons for Inés and her Spanish friends to value their European citizenship by being Spain part of the EU.
Photo from BBC – food shortages in the UK