Netherlands: Erasmus to attract ‘more EU students’ post-Brexit
Speaking in The New European, Irish politician Neale Richmond has said: “Britain’s loss of easy access to the single market is now potentially a gain for Ireland. We need to aggressively pursue opportunities for Irish producers to replace British suppliers in EU market places.”
The Irish TD warned that Brexit had created a major shift for Irish business. He maintained that there “has been a move away from the use of the UK landbridge to move goods to continental Europe”. Mr Richmond: “Though there was huge relief in the securing of an eleventh-hour trade agreement between the UK and the EU on Christmas Eve, avoiding tariffs on our exports to the UK, the seamless Ireland-UK trade we once knew is a thing of the past.”
Speaking about the increase of Irish direct trade to Europe, avoiding the UK as a landbridge, he added: “Rosslare, Ireland’s closest port to the mainland, has seen a 446 percent increase in freight volumes on their direct shipping routes compared to last year. Rosslare now offers 30 direct sailings per week to the continent, compared to 10 per week in 2020.”
Meanwhile, MEPs are plotting to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK with a last-gasp push to allow students north of the border to retain access to its Erasmus exchange programme in a move certain to test the patience of Boris Johnson. The agreement is currently being scrutinised by both the trade committee and the committee on foreign affairs, and the Parliament could vote as early as February 23 – although it still has to option to ask for an extension. Erasmus is a European Union student exchange programme which was established in 1987.
Neale Richmond has argued that Irish companies should pursue opportunities in the wake of Britain’s
Speaking in December, Mr Johnson announced the UK would instead set up its own scheme, to be named after UK computing pioneer Alan Turing, with “the best universities in the world”.
However, MEPs are pushing for last-minute changes, with Terry Reintke, a member of the Green Party from Germany, tweeting: “Together with 144 colleagues – I have sent this letter to the Commission:
“To explore ways for Scotland and Wales to stay in Erasmus.
“For me, it is also a tribute to all the wonderful people who made me feel welcome and at home in Edinburgh during my own Erasmus year.”
In a separate comment piece posted on the EU Observer website, Markus Gastinger, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Austria’s University of Salzburg, argued the assembly should go even further.
Terry Reintke’s tweet
He wrote: “There is one last chance to save Erasmus. The European Parliament still has to give its assent to the deal. It could make this assent conditional on the UK’s full participation in Erasmus.”
He added: “It would be perfectly within its gift to demand that Erasmus continues uninterrupted for all EU and British students.
“It would not be the first time that the EP requires changes to an agreement already negotiated by the Commission and Erasmus really should not be sacrificed on the altar of Brexit.”
At present, the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement is subject to “provisional application”. The original cut-off point for approval is set at February 28 – but this could be pushed back, with insiders telling Express.co.uk’s Brussels correspondent Joe Barnes Brussels needs more time to translate the trade and security treaty into the EU’s 24 official languages.
(This is a liveblog. Scroll down for regular updates)
02.00am update: Calls for post-Brexit reforms of UK competition law
The government should launch sweeping reforms of competition laws to improve consumer confidence, lower costs for businesses and boost the UK economy after Brexit, according to a leading Tory MP – The Guardian reports.
John Penrose, a prominent backbench MP commissioned by the government last year to explore post-Brexit opportunities for UK competition policy, said ministers needed to launch a new parliamentary act to update Britain’s consumer institutions to reflect the rise of the digital economy.
Calling for the changes in a report published on Tuesday, he said the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator needed more power to be given tougher penalties to companies that do not cooperate fully in investigations. The watchdog should also work out a way that lets customers easily compare the “price” of free online services.
BREXIT Britain could become a world financial technology hub if it fully embraces bitcoin trading and “positively engages with climate change finance and cryptocurrencies” claims expert.
In January, London lost its claim as Europe’s largest share trading centre to Amsterdam. However, the City of London still oversees almost half of the world’s currency trading.
Post-Brexit digital currency pioneers and financial experts are now urging the UK to embrace bitcoin and become the world’s first hub for cryptocurrency trading and mining.
The foreign secretary urged businesses to take a “10-year view” on current Brexit struggles.
Speaking to Andrew Marr today he said: “I think if you take a 10-year view, actually the growth opportunities in the future are going to come from emerging and developing economies around the world.”
He added: “The growth economies are going to come from the Indo-Pacific region.”
9.00 pm update: The Night Time Industry Association (NTIA) has welcomed Boris Johnson’s statement that rapid turnaround coronavirus tests could see industry reopen.
NTIA CEO Michael Kill said in a statement: “Finally we have some acknowledgement from the prime minister and Government on the existence of late night economy businesses, including nightclubs, theatres, casinos and late bars, particularly as they are some of the hardest hit since the start of the pandemic.
“We have been lobbying Government with a strategy for the safe opening of these important cultural institutions for some time now, using lateral flow testing has been a consistent narrative, and feel now with this acknowledgement we will be given the opportunity to deliver pilot schemes which will substantiate the ability for this sector to open safely at the appropriate time, but more importantly we will be able to plan and prepare for that opportunity.”
A Green- Brexit Britain has been boosted after car manufacturer Jaguar confirmed plans to move to electric-only vehicles by 2025.
Speaking about the announcement, Sepi Arani CEO of Carwow told Express.co.uk: “The biggest shift from today’s announcement lies in the significant future that JLR clearly envisions for Jaguar in repositioning itself as an all-electric brand to give the historic British make a new vision and purpose for this decade.
“Most manufacturers opting to create ‘all-electric’ model families vs that of entirely dedicated brands as part of wider groups.
“This is a bold move for Jaguar, but one that we no doubt will prove fruitful as consumers look to reposition brand loyalty against the vastly changing backdrop of continued innovation.”
7.00 pm update: DUP members warn they will bring down Northern Ireland government if Brexit deal is not scrapped
The DUP Party leadership urged Boris Johnson to trigger Article 16.
DUP politician Jonathan Buckley said collapsing the Stormont power-sharing administration was “on the table”.
The news comes as ex-DUP leader Peter Robinson suggested that collapsing the Northern Ireland government was the only alternative to accepting the current situation.
The latest funding from the UK’s Treasury now brings Scotland’s total to £9.7billion.
Alister Jack, secretary of state for Scotland, said the boost from the UK Government demonstrated the “strength of the union”.
However, despite the Covid pandemic raging above the border, Mrs Sturgeon is stepping up drive for independence.
Coronavirus figures as of yesterday
5.00 pm update: Economists warn trade disruption seen in the first weeks of Brexit cannot be dismissed as ‘teething problems’.
Andrew Goodwin, chief UK economist at Oxford Economics, said that Brexit-based “non-tariff barriers” of additional form-filling, queueing and regulatory obstacles to trade are now hitting sectors from fisheries to parcel delivery to financial services.
The UK has announced a crackdown on bottom trawling in the Dogger Bank conservation area.
The Government are also piling pressure on the EU to adopt a similarly tough approach, a UK-based expert has said
Senior Conservative MP, Simon Hoare, referring to Doctor Doolittle tweeted: “The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of unicorns overseen by stern, officious dodos.
“A PushmePullYou could be the senior guard, and Puff the Magic Dragon the inspector”.
Finance expert Professor David McMillan has suggested that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could boost the UK’s status as a financial hub.
He said in his article for The Conversation: “No longer having to coordinate and agree with 27 EU countries should enable the UK to be more nimble… which could be a big advantage in attempting to corner emerging areas such as green investment and fintech.
“This could include developing and regulating new financial products that allow investors to positively engage with climate change finance and cryptocurrencies.
“This would be a more beneficial approach to taking the financial sector forward than to focus on deregulation in a ‘big bang 2.0’.
“The unavoidable reality is that financial services business and jobs will continue to be lost as a result of Brexit. But with a thoughtful, future-focused approach to managing the sector, there is also plenty of scope for it to rebound.”
UK fishermen are facing a string of challenges as a result of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, a fishing chief has warned, coupled with a new Scottish task force threatening to further complicate matters.
Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), has been an outspoken critic of the post-Brexit trade deal which Boris Johnson signed at the end of last year, arguing it fails to make good on the Prime Minister’s vow to take back control of UK waters.
In addition, he is unhappy at the current export ban on raw shellfish into the EU, which poses a grave threat to the livelihoods of numerous small companies as things stand.
Mr Deas told Express.co.uk: “Our concerns about the double-whammy of failing to achieve the rights associated with our legal status as an international coastal state and loss of frictionless trade into the EU remain very acute.”
London has been overtaken by Amsterdam as Europe’s largest share trading centre – but trading volumes in the capital are still five times larger than the whole of the EU combined, a think tank has claimed.
In January, Amsterdam overtook London as Europe’s largest share trading centre.
An average €9.2billion (£8.07bn) shares a day were traded on Euronext Amsterdam and the Dutch arms of CBOE Europe and Turquoise in January, a more than fourfold increase from December.
The surge came as volumes in London fell sharply to €8.6billion (£7.5bn), removing the UK from its historic position as the main centre for the European market, according to data from CBOE Europe.
The pound surged above $1.39 for the first time in almost three years today, lifted by rising Brexit optimism, broad-based dollar weakness and hopes for the end of a third national lockdown.
And the currency could even push past $1.40 soon, experts are predicting.
The pound has been a key gainer against the dollar this month as the aggressive rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the United Kingdom raised hopes that the UK economy will be able to recover more swiftly than some countries within the EU.
Chris Skidmore says the space sector must not be forgotten
Brexit offers Britain a golden opportunity to forge an enduring, mutually beneficial partnership with India, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has said.
And one analyst has said the £23billion trade deal which Mrs Truss signed off on during her recent Indian trip will help power Boris Johnson’s Global Britain vision – as well as helping the UK bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Truss, MP for South West Suffolk, struck a confident tone during a comment piece from the Sunday Express in which she hailed the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) as a “new chapter in the UK’s national story”.
She explained: “We are seeing the strength of our partnership – built on our common values – in our steadfast support for each other in the fight against coronavirus.”
The European Union’s disastrous Covid-19 vaccine programme will see more member states following Britain out of the bloc, an Express.co.uk poll has indicated.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is facing calls to quit amid fierce criticism of the slow roll-out of vaccines and a plan to curb exports that initially sought to set up a hard border on the island of Ireland, causing an outcry in London and Dublin.
Ms von der Leyen admitted failings in the EU’s centralised system of vaccine approval and rollout but has showed no signs of bowing to pressure to stand down.
But the fall-out could spark a wave of anti-EU sentiment across the bloc and even the departure of some disillusioned member states.
10.36am update: Sterling soars to three-year high against the dollar
Brexit optimisim has pushed the pound above $1.39 for the first time in almost three years.
Chris Turner, Global Head of Markets at ING, said: “GBP continues to reap the dividends of a successful vaccine roll-out and momentum is building towards a re-opening of the economy – probably starting with schools on March 8.”
Britain’s Brexit deal with the European Union has also removed some pressure from the currency.
The reopening of the economy following the post Brexit re-rating could likely support sterling towards $1.40, ING told clients in a note.
Boris Johnson is likely to take a dim view of any European Parliament meddling
10.10am update: Take space sector seriously, urges Skidmore
Britain most look to the heavens now it has quit the EU, former Science Minister Chris Skidmore has said.
Writing on the Conservative Home website, Mr Skidmore, MP for Kingswood, said: “Post-Brexit, 2021 is the year when the UK has the opportunity to establish itself as an independent sovereign nation on the international stage.
“Our Presidency of the G7 and hosting of COP26 provide no better chance than to outline how we intend to achieve this.
“If we are seeking agendas for post-Brexit Britain, then we must not forget to look up beyond the sunlit uplands and into the skies and beyond. It is time that we took the UK’s involvement in space seriously.
“By seizing our moment in space, there is no better way of the UK demonstrating its belief in those famous words, per ardua ad astra.”
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has hailed Britain’s £23billion trade deal with India as proof of Britain’s post-Brexit potential.
In a comment piece for the Sunday Express, Mrs Truss wrote: “This week, I have been in India marking a new chapter of the UK’s national story, deepening our relationship – worth £23 billion a year of trade in 2019 – with the world’s biggest democracy.
“We are seeing the strength of our partnership – built on our common values – in our steadfast support for each other in the fight against coronavirus.
“Living up to its reputation as the “pharmacy of the world”, India has kept supplies of critical medicines and medical-grade PPE flowing to the UK. Meanwhile, the Serum Institute – which I visited on Monday – is set to produce over a billion doses of our life-saving Oxford vaccine.
“There are few markets around the world that offer greater potential than India. This huge market of 1.4 billion people is already emerging as the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is expected to become the second biggest in the world by 2050, making it a crucial long-term trading partner.”
Liz Truss factfile
London has been advised to embrace Bitcoin post-Brexit as the UK looks to find new ways to thrive outside of the EU.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said last week that the EU won’t be Brexit Britain’s main competition. He said EU financial capitals may “nick a bit of business here and there from the City”, but that they will not challenge London’s status as Europe’s global financial capital.
His claim came as Amsterdam surpassed London as the largest share trading centre in January.
But Mr Raab remained certain that the EU in undermining its own competitiveness and that London financial hubs from outside of Europe will be the capital’s main competitors.
Brexit Britain is fighting back against the EU’s bid to shackle the City of London with the launch of a new campaign group which will underline its role as one of the world’s most important financial institutions.
Spearheaded by David Jones MP, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), Sir Bernard Jenkin MP, former Chancellor Lord Lamont of Lerwick, Lord Hannan of Kingsclere and Anne Marie Morris MP, as well as other high-profile industry leaders, The CityUnited Project was launched today.
Organisers stress the Government must now accept the bloc has effectively denied normal cooperation with the City and its associated financial services, even though they say it represents one of the “powerhouse engines” relied on by the Eurozone itself, as well as by the wider European economy.
8.57am update: Retailers facing “perfect storm”, warns trade chief
Retail bosses have warned the sector faces a “perfect storm” as new border regulations come into force in April with a raft of retailers still unable to serve customers in Northern Ireland.
Trade bodies and firms have called on the Government to extend the current grace period amid continued uncertainty over the level of checks which will then be introduced.
It comes as a number of major UK retailers – including Halfords, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and AO – remain unable to deliver products to customers in Northern Ireland, more than six weeks after the Brexit deal was agreed.
Aodhan Connolly, director for Northern Ireland at the British Retail Consortium (BRC), warned: “We need time. In an ideal world we would have an extension and retailers would have more time to prepare for what needs to be a long-term sustainable solution that allows us to continue giving Northern Irish households choice and affordability.
“Retailers have been making the situation work because they are bending over backwards to make sure they can serve people here.
“But they know that change is coming in April, and then we could have a perfect storm.”
Brexit: EU ‘have shown their true colours’ with UK says host
With Brexit delivered, billions of pounds of private sector investment could be unlocked in the North of England and create an economic “Big Bang”, a major new report says today.
By making the region attractive to investors the Centre for Policy Studies study predicts the effect could be comparable to the dramatic financial boom in London under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
New investment incentives, planning reforms and other pro-growth measures would help create thousands of high-quality jobs, the report argues.
A Place In The Sun presenter Laura Hamilton has revealed how Spain’s property market has become “more buoyant” since Brexit. The property expert said the market has remained “bubbling along”.
The UK leaving the EU led many to believe that Britons would suffer when it comes buying property in Europe.
Tax hikes and other financial implications were just some of the many concerns on home buyers’ minds.
However, since leaving the EU, there have actually been very little changes when it comes to purchasing a property in Europe.
8.09am update: Small manufacturers are feeling the pressure
Brexit issues are causing England’s smaller manufacturers significant disruption as they look to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis, research suggests.
A survey of almost 300 small to medium-sized firms (SMEs) which manufacture goods found that half reported problems with exports and imports since the start of the year.
South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) and the Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP) said their study showed that almost two thirds of companies have seen negative price changes within their supply chain since leaving the EU.
Fewer than a third of respondents said they were getting the right support and guidance from the Government on how to navigate changes caused by Brexit.
The EU is still paying the price for mistakes made in the Maastricht Treaty negotiations as integration was “rashly entered into” and expert analysis suggests it left the bloc with “sufficient competence to attract the blame for failure, while lacking the ability to actually solve complex problems”.
The EU has attracted widespread criticism for its handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout as Brussels has been accused of being too slow. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen even admitted that the EU is a “tanker” compared to the UK’s “speedboat” when it comes to immunisations.
The bloc finds itself in an identity crisis in the wake of Brexit, as many of its structural failings have come to the fore.
Even in the early days of the pandemic crisis, institutional squabbling threatened to destabilise the EU as states clashed over the so-called coronavirus recovery fund.
Mr Biden has been an outspoken critic of Brexit and many observers believed the 78-year-old would favour strengthening ties with Europe during his Presidency.
Less than a month into his term, officials in the Biden-administration are understood to be annoyed at the position taken by the EU in terms of its relationship with China and Russia.
One foreign policy adviser to Mr Biden said his team had grown “irritated and frustrated” by decisions made by Brussels.
7.45am update: MEPs unveil Erasmus plot
MEPs are plotting to drive a wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK with a last-gasp push to allow students north of the border to retain access to its Erasmus exchange programme in a move certain to test the patience of Boris Johnson.
The agreement is currently being scrutinised by both the trade committee and the committee on foreign affairs, and the Parliament could vote as early as February 23 – although it still has to option to ask for an extension. Erasmus is a European Union student exchange programme which was established in 1987.
Terry Reintke, a member of the Green Party from the Netherlands, tweeting: “Together with 144 colleagues – I have sent this letter to the Commission:
“To explore ways for Scotland and Wales to stay in Erasmus.
“For me, it is also a tribute to all the wonderful people who made me feel welcome and at home in Edinburgh during my own Erasmus year.”
— to www.express.co.uk