Brexit: Radio caller reveals daughter can’t receive wheelchair
Ireland’s fishing industry chiefs are bracing themselves for a 15 percent reduction in their annual permitted catch as they bear the brunt of the return of EU quotas to Britain under the Brexit trade deal. Former state marine scientist Peter Tyndall said it was now time for coastal states to take back control of their own waters while allowing Brussels to manage any shared and migratory stocks under a « more honest » Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Dr Tyndall said: « Ireland’s leaders should have the courage to initiate this conversation with our European partners in the knowledge that it can lead to a fairer system and healthier stocks which would be more in keeping with the stated aspirations of European partnership. »
He said the CFP, which is due for review in 2023, was « clearly a failure » and urged Dublin to « engage the best legal minds » to challenge the system which he claims is « in breach of the Treaties of Europe on the rights of fishing communities to an income ».
A fresh row is brewing over EU fishing quotas
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Dr Tyndall said: « The CFP is rife with injustices and the British Tory party actively worked this emotive subject to influence votes in the Leave campaign.
« The effect that the CFP has had in Europe is totally disproportionate to its economic contribution. Norway rejected EU membership on two occasions while Iceland decided not to join. Greenland, a home rule dependency of Denmark, pulled away.
« Even with the new agenda of reducing carbon emissions there is a strong argument that those closest to the resource should access them proportionately. »
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04.54am update: Here we go! UK eyes ultra-lucrative deal with UAE fund to ‘turbocharge’ industry
THE UK is in talks with a United Arab Emirates (UAE) sovereign wealth fund as part of ultra-lucrative plans worth hundreds of millions of pounds that would « turbocharge » the British life sciences industry.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is in the process of finalising a proposal to launch a new public-private investment fund to back fast-growing businesses in biotech and life sciences, according to a report in The Financial Times. The plans could be announced as early as the crucial Spring Budget on March 3, providing a much-needed boost to UK industry as it looks to rebound quickly from the damage inflicted from the coronavirus crisis.
The Life Sciences Investment Programme would see the UK Government commit £200million, with this then being matched with up to £400million in external financing that would either be invested directly into firms in the sector or via existing biotech funds managed by specialist managers.
03.25am update: Brexit deal sabotage: No10 rages at EU over plot to hamstring firms with finance demands
BRUSSELS has been accused of sabotaging businesses with its refusal to grant UK financial firms access to trade with the bloc.
Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the EU’s refusal to give so-called equivalence to the UK was having a damaging impact. The procedure involves Brussels admitting Britain’s rules and regulations are similar to the bloc’s own, allowing firms to therefore trade with the continent.
The No10 official said it was in « no one’s interest » to not grant equivalence to the UK.
He blamed Brussels’s refusal to give the UK such privileges for Amsterdam overtaking London as Europe’s biggest share trading centre.
02.17am update: Businesses offered £20m Brexit fund after border trade disruption
Small British businesses are being offered access to a £20m Brexit support fund from the government to help them with new trade rules following border disruption in the first few weeks since the UK left the EU.
In response to mounting criticism from business leaders over the impact of the new arrangements, the Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, said the funding would help businesses adapt to the changes.
Traders will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,000 each to pay for practical support for importing and exporting, The Guardian reports. The grants will also help companies prepare for additional import controls that are due to come into force from April and July.
12.36am update: Brexit trade deal leaves Welsh fishermen ‘devastated’
Wales’ £39m commercial fishing sector will be « devastated » by changes under the Brexit trade deal, fishermen have warned.
New rules to replace the EU Common Fisheries Policy mean 76 French and Belgian trawlers can fish within six miles of the Welsh coast until 2026.
It means many Welsh fishermen may struggle to survive, the Welsh Fishermen’s Association said.
The UK government said it protected fishermen’s rights.
10.36pm update: Gove and Sefcovic reiterate « full commitment » to Good Friday Agreement
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic have reiterated their « full commitment » to the Good Friday Agreement following talks in London.
A joint statement released by the Cabinet Office said Mr Gove and Mr Sefcovic had a « frank but constructive discussion » in which they reiterated their commitment to implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
It said the two had agreed to « spare no effort » to implement solutions mutually agreed on December 17 and to « intensify the work » of the Specialised Committee on the Protocol in order to address all outstanding issues.
The statement said they had agreed to: « Reiterate their full commitment to the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement, and to the proper implementation of the Protocol – protecting the gains of the peace process, maintaining stability, avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland and impacting as little as possible on the everyday life of communities in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
« Spare no effort to implement solutions mutually agreed on 17 December, as they form a foundation for our cooperation;
« Intensify the work of the Specialised Committee on the Protocol in order to address all outstanding issues, with the shared objective to find workable solutions on the ground,
« Underpin this work by further joint engagement by the UK and the EU with business groups and civic society in Northern Ireland; and convene the Joint Committee no later than 24 February to provide the necessary political steer and approval to this work in the spirit of collaboration, responsibility and pragmatism. »
9.38pm update: Biden turns to Amsterdam for key link to EU
Joe Biden is expected to replace London with Amsterdam after an expert claimed Netherlands role in EU affairs « has never been more important ».
Anthony Gardner, former US Ambassador to the EU, said transatlantic priorities from the US will fall on the Netherlands.
He explained the UK used to be America’s « megaphone » to the EU before Brexit.
Mr Gardner told the Centre for European Reform: « The role of the Netherlands has never been more important especially now the UK has left the EU.
« I say more important than ever before to promote key transatlantic priorities from climate change to trade, digital economy, reforming the WTO, promoting humans rights, dealing with China.
« In the old days when the UK was a member, our life was easy in the United States because the UK was our megaphone to some extent within the EU.
« Now they’ve left and the Netherlands will play an absolutely critical role. »
EU chiefs said they had positive, early contact with the Biden administration on trade, but will need to wait for a new US trade representative to be in place for real talks to begin.
Joe Biden will replace London with Amsterdam for his main link to the EU
8.40pm update: Foster warns Northern Ireland Protocal lacks consensus
DUP leader Arlene Foster has warned more rigorous implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol is not going to work because there is not the neccessary consensus to secure progress.
Mrs Foster said Northern Ireland should not be used as a political football and told Boris Johnson he had to « step up » to deal with the problems arising for the country.
She said: « I am just sorry that the EU have decided the answer to the difficulties is more protocol and more rigorous implementation.
« I think that is not going to work.
« We all know in Northern Ireland that relationships are balanced and if we are to get progress on these issues there has to be consensus and there simply is not consensus in Northern Ireland. »
Arlene Foster said tighter implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol would not work
7.33pm update: Food industry chiefs brand Brexit a « disaster »
Food industry bosses have condemned Brexit as an « unmitigated disaster » and claimed the cost of disruption has caused some firms to shut for good.
Sector leaders also told MPs on the International Trade Select Committee that companies will struggle to recover lost exports as a result of Brexit.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said food exports have been cut by at least half since the start of January despite the Government’s last-minute Brexit deal.
He told the committee: « We agree with other trade groups that food exports to the EU have declined by 50-60% in January.
« That may be because companies have stockpiled three or four months of goods on the other side of the Channel and they may bounce back, but that is a big number to recover in the next few months. »
He stressed that he was « particularly concerned » about uncertainty among officials overseeing new trade checks.
And he warned the UK could be « 50,000 customs agents » short of what is needed when import regulations are enforced from April.
6.51pm update: French MEP admits concern over EU shellfish ban
Bussels insiders have rejected any chance of overturning a ban on British shellfish imports in a further move likely to sour UK-EU post-Brexit relations, despite fears from MEPs.
Such is the dire situation for British shellfish exporters, they have warned the industry faces annihilation if the ban continues.
Even French MEP of the En Marche party Pierre Karleskind, has called on Brussels to find a resolution to the ban.
Speaking to the EU Parliament’s fisheries committee, he said a temporary legal framework must be created before a long-term solution is found.
He said: “This is a very problematic issue for export companies in the UK and retailers in the EU.”
5.38pm update: Brussels « absolutely committed » to Northern Ireland Protocol
European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic has insisted Brussels remains « absolutely committed » to making the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol work.
Mr Sefcovic made the comments as he arrived in London for talks with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.
The protocol requires regulatory and customs checks on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but it has caused disruption to trade since it came into force on January 1, with various grace periods in operation.
Unionists in Northern Ireland are deeply concerned about the arrangements, insisting they have driven an economic wedge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
They have called on the UK to trigger a mechanism within the protocol – Article 16 – which enables the Government to unilaterally suspend aspects it deems are causing economic, societal or environmental problems.
Mr Sefcovic, making a statement to reporters outside St Pancras station, said: « The EU is absolutely committed to making the protocol work, and we see this as the only way to protect the Good Friday Belfast Agreement protecting peace, stability and prosperity for the island of Ireland. »
The EU Common Fisheries Policy is once again under the spotlight
4.06pm update: Barnier breaks rank to attack Von der Leyen over Brexit threat
Michel Barnier has condemned his boss Ursula von der Leyen’s decision to create a vaccine border on Ireland.
The EU’s chief negotiator publicly branded the move « irresponsible » at a business summit in Brussels.
His intervention came ahead of tonight’s crisis talks between Michael Gove and Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic over the Northern Ireland border row.
Mr Barnier insisted the decision to trigger the Brexit deal’s Article 16 to impose hard border was a “clear mistake”.
He said: “It’s clear that it was a mistake. But it was immediately corrected three hours afterwards.
“Both parties must be conscious of their responsibilities in applying this protocol.
“The situation has never been easy in Ireland and everything is complex. So I recommend personally everybody on both sides be responsible and take care.”
3.15pm update: EU watchdog sees shift in share trading from London as ‘permanent change’
The European Union’s securities watchdog said a post-Brexit shift in share trading to the bloc from Britain appears to represent a permanent change after Amsterdam displaced London as Europe’s biggest share trading centre today.
Steven Maijoor, chair of the European Securities and Markets Authority, told an online conference: « I would suspect that this is going to be a permanent change in terms of movement of trading from the UK to the EU.
« We have seen that most of the trading has gone to Amsterdam.
« The numbers are quite significant, at the same time we should realise that some of this trading is done by subsidiaries of UK market infrastructures but we have also seen increased trading in Europe not linked to London trading venues. »
2.33pm update: Boris told to join Canada, Australia and NZ to form £2.5tn post-Brexit superpower
Britain could form a special alliance with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all predominantly English-speaking nations with historic links to the UK, under a radical post-Brexit proposal.
The plan, known by the acronym CANZUK, would see the four countries agree to free trade, reciprocal migration and foreign policy cooperation.
This would allow citizens of the four CANZUK nations to move freely between each other, provided they don’t have a serious criminal record.
CANZUK International, which advocates for the scheme, was founded by Toronto based James Skinner in 2015.
Explaining the policy to Express.co.uk he said: “The vision for it is really founded on the principle of these four countries working together as sovereign independent nations for the betterment of their economies and opportunities for their citizens. »
2.00pm update: Michel Barnier warns EU won’t rush to give UK extra financial market access
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has warned the bloc won’t rush to give British financial firms open access to the bloc’s single market.
Speaking at the European Business Summit in Brussels he said: « Equivalence decisions are, and will remain, unilateral of each party and aren’t subject to negotiation.
« We will take no risk about financial stability. »
1.34pm update: EU snub pushes Serbia ahead of bloc in vaccine delivering race ‘Took care of ourselves’
SERBIA’s President Aleksandar Vucic praised his country’s vaccination programme as the nation was able to secure agreements with America, Russia and China to navigate around the EU’s failing jab rollout.
Speaking to Euronews about Serbia’s programme, Mr Vucic explained how the nation was able to have a population vaccination rate over twice as high as the EU’s total.
He said: “Many EU countries got their vaccines, so far we haven’t had a single one the Covax programme. “We got them from our bilateral arrangement with Americans, with Pfizer, we got it from China, we got it from Russia but we didn’t get it from the European Union.
“Hopefully, and I am not criticising anyone, I hope we are going to get a real (supply) from the EU and that would be very helpful and supportive to us in this period of time.“But we needed to take care of ourselves.”
Michael Gove is set for a crunch meeting on the Northern Ireland backstop
12:35pm update: Boris told to ‘terminate’ Brexit deal as Britons still paying £80m into EU defence fund
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib insisted that despite Brexit the UK has agreed to continue paying £80 million a year into the European Union’s defence fund.
While speaking on the think tank Bruges Group’s Youtube channel, Mr Habib insisted that either Boris Johnson or his successor needs to ensure the UK stops paying. He added the UK should scrap the entire Brexit trade agreement to ensure freedom from the EU’s rules on the level playing field and fishing.
« We need to get out of the level playing field, the fishing arrangements.
« We also need to get out of the contributions to the European defence fund.
12:01pm update: Survey finds half of UK exporters to EU facing difficulties
A comprehensive business survey by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found half of British companies that export to the EU reported difficulties with new post-Brexit rules.
Now Britain has left the European single market firms trading with Europe face extra red tape and regulatory hurdles.
Based on a study of 470 companies the BCC found 49 percent of UK exporters have faced problems since the new Brexit deal came into effect.
11:26am update: Amsterdam tops London as Europe’s share trading hub after Brexit
Amsterdam overtook London to become Europe’s largest share trading centre last month as the impact of new Brexit restrictions began to bite.
The value of shares traded in the Dutch city rose more by a factor of more than four from December, when Britain was still in a Brexit transition period.
By contrast London’s share slumped to €8.6bn.
The EU has refused to recognise UK financial exchanges as having equivalent rights to its own preventing EU-based financial institutions from trading shares in London.
11:00am update: Hard to imagine EU’s future ‘as democratic’ as reason for bloc’s existence questioned
The EU will struggle to ever become a democratic outfit as the bloc’s true political ambitions were unravelled by a leading academic.
The EU threatened to block vaccine supplies leaving Europe, while triggering Article 16 of the Brexit deal which effectively erected a hard border on the island of Ireland – both of which Ms von der Leyen has since reversed.
Member states did not agree to this, which was quickly passed through Brussels, a point that the renowned British historian Robert Tombs told Express.co.uk highlights the bloc’s aversion to democracy.
Describing the EU Parliament as a « facade » of democratic governance, Professor Tombs said it was « hard to imagine » democracy ever befalling the EU.
He explained: « While the future is always a mystery, there’s nothing on the horizon at the moment that suggests the EU will become democratic.
« It’s always been run primarily by France and Germany, and you could say more and more by Germany.
« I find it very hard to imagine a democratic EU, or an EU in which all countries would have not an equal say but at least genuine influence on policy rather than it being in effect imposed on them by the bigger countries. »
Furious unionists are demanding the Northern Ireland protocol is scrapped
1.01pm update: EU at risk as China’s Xi ‘biding time to make Brussels consumer bloc by 2049’
THE EU’s economy is heading into dangerous territory with its new China deal as Beijing intends to reduce it to a consumer bloc in just three decades, a commentator told Express.co.uk.
Former Washington aide Peter Rough warned: “Europe has grown so dependent on the Chinese market, but really what they’re doing is taking from a poisoned chalice.
“They’re taking this large gulp to keep themselves healthy in the short term, but in the long term, the Chinese are using all of these subversive methods to build up their own home industries.
“So by 2049, the goal will not be interdependence with Europe but autarky, where the Chinese companies hold all the risk to these high-end manufacturers.
“Then Europe is reduced to basically being a consumer market and rather than exporting to the Chinese consumer market, it will be China exporting to the EU.”
10.15am update: Brexit warning as UK’s shellfish industry dubbed ‘hidden secret’ in talks with EU
Brexit fishing disputes over shellfish may have been a long time in the making as an expert warned the industry was a « hidden secret » during negotiations with the EU.
Sam Baron, owner of Baron Shellfish Limited, announced on Saturday that he was shutting down his 40-year-old family business after years of exporting lobsters and crabs to customers across the English Channel.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to rule out a trade war over the issue, while Government minister George Eustace condemned the EU’s action as « indefensible ».
Labour (Co-operative) MP Luke Pollard warned in March last year that UK shellfish will suffer « disproportionately » under Brexit.
He wrote for The House magazine that shellfish was a « hidden secret » as the vast majority (80 percent) are exported to the EU.
08.52am update: Joe Biden ‘ready to support UK’ over EU’s Northern Ireland blunder ‒ ex-White House aide
Joe Biden « would have supported the UK » if the EU had not backtracked on its astonishing decision to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol, a former White House aide told Express.co.uk.
Peter Rough, former director of research to George W Bush, told Express.co.uk that Mr Biden would have sided with the UK if the recent spat with the bloc over the Northern Ireland Protocol had escalated.
He said: « Had Article 16 been invoked on the vaccine border between the Irish and Northern Ireland, just as the Biden team warned Great Britain on a hard border in the withdrawal agreement, I suspect that they would have supported the UK over the EU had the EU actually gone for it.
“That’s my sense and feel within Washington.”
07.39am update: Bank of England Governor lashes out at EU after demanding too much from UK in finance feud
The EU has been sent a stern warning by Bank of England Governor Andrew Baily who said now is not the time to pick a fight with the UK on finance.
Mr Bailey urged Brussels to back away from a spat with Britain concerning trade in financial services after Brexit. He accused the bloc of levelling greater demands against London than other partners.
He that the EU has granted long-term market access for securities clearing houses from the US but not for their UK counterparts even though they comply with the same rules.
07.35am update: Ursula von der Leyen admits NI coronavirus vaccine row was ‘mistake
Ursula von der Leyen admitted « mistakes were made » by the EU in trying to secure coronavirus vaccines, after causing a row in Northern Ireland after trying to override the Brexit trade deal.
Speaking in a plenary debate in the European Parliament, the European Commission President launched a defence of the EU’s approach to coronavirus vaccines.
Ms von der Leyen was blasted by Irish officials for the Commission triggering Article 16 of the Brexit trade deal’s Northern Ireland Protocol to stop vaccine trade between the Irish states.