Brexit deal ‘needs a robust government to work’ says Oulds
The EU has discovered not all member states are subject to the same rules and fees when applying for post-Brexit work visas in the UK. Five EU countries face more expensive charges than other member states, which has prompted an outcry from impacted countries.
Having left the EU, the UK is no longer part of the bloc’s freedom of movement, which allows EU nationals to look and apply for jobs in another country without the need for a work permit.
As a result, EU nationals must now apply for a work visa in order to take up a job in the UK.
However, European countries have been furious to find the fees charged are not the same for all members of the bloc and have demanded the rules be changed.
Under current rules, the citizens of 25 countries, including 21 in the EU, are subject to a £55 discount in fees when applying for jobs in specific areas, just as health care staff, researchers, charity workers and temporary workers such as fruit pickers.
Employers recruiting from these countries are also eligible for a discount, as companies are not required to pay the £199 fee needed to issue a certificate of sponsorship to hire them.
Five EU countries are not eligible for the reduced fees: Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia.
Brexit news: EU countries are already demanding the UK change some of its new post-Brexit laws
Irish citizens do not require working visas, as they form part of the Common Travel Area with the UK.
In response, the countries affected are demanding Brussels step up as they believe the UK is discriminating among member countries.
One diplomat told Politico: “In our view, this is a differentiated treatment that needs to be carefully scrutinized. The issue is not about the additional £55 that the five member states citizens will need to pay compared to other EU citizens, but clearly about the differentiated treatment that they are faced with.”
A second diplomat said: “People across the EU will feel they are being treated differently and that will raise lots of questions.”
The UK Government has said the visa rules are based on the signatories of the Council of Europe’s Social Charter (CESC), an international treaty dating back to 1961 adopted by 26 countries including the UK.
They argue that reducing visa fees for any country where this is not related to an international obligation would itself raise questions of discrimination.
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9.15pm update: Sir John Curtice explains why Remainers would not vote to rejoin EU
Most people who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum would not vote to rejoin the European now the UK has left, according to polling guru Sir John Curtice.
Anti-Brexit campaigners who attempted to ignite a Rejoin movement in the immediate aftermath of Britain’s departure from the EU on New Year’s Eve face an uphill struggle with opinion polls suggesting most Remainers now accepted the situation.
Sir John said there were no signs that Remain voters had changed their minds and fallen in behind the decision to Leave.
But he suggested they would see little point in questioning Brexit now Britain’s departure from the bloc had been completed.
8.39pm update: EU’s ‘mad bureaucracy’ blamed for UK fish chaos
A former Brexit Party MEP has blamed the EU’s “mad bureaucracy” for disrupting fish exports to Europe.
Seafood exporters have complained of complex paperwork, with up to 71 pages per truck, now being required for exports to the continent.
Lance Forman, who runs a smoked salmon delivery company, said the extra red tape was “why the EU economy is dying”.
He said: “How is it on 31/12 our fish is ok to eat yet on 1/1 it is unfit?
“How is it that the EU fishermen are desperate to fish our ‘uncertified’ waters?
“This mad bureaucracy is why the EU economy is dying.
“We need to lead the world in deregulating & FREE TRADE.”
Some port officials have returned to work in Larne
7.23pm update: Northern Ireland port official return to work
Some officials withdrawn from Brexit inspections at Larne Port amid safety concerns are returning to work.
Mid and East Antrim Council has said its staff would return to work at Irish Sea trade check facilities tonight following the completion of a threat assessment by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and its own subsequent risk assessment.
A council spokesman said: “The health and safety of our staff remains our top priority.”
Inspectors employed by Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs were also withdrawn from duties last Monday. That move impacted both Larne and Belfast.
The department has not yet made a decision on their return.
A spokeswoman said: “The department has received the findings of the formal threat assessment from the PSNI and is currently considering it alongside its own internal risk assessment.
“Any decision to recommence full checks will be informed by both documents.”
Britain’s vaccine success has made it ‘hugely attractive’ to Joe Biden
5.23pm update: Ben Habib rejects EU ambassador claims
A European Union bid to force Britain to recognise its London representative as a full ambassador indicates the bloc’s “direction of travel” and its ambitions to build an empire, according to a former Brexit Party MEP.
Ben Habib said: “The EU is not a country and it should not have a national anthem, it should not have a government and it certainly should not have ambassadors.
“And the notion that their representative in London is an ambassador is a fundamentally flawed one.
“But it does absolutely reveal the direction of travel of the EU and its own sense of importance and its aims as a supra-national institution, which are nothing short of imperial.”
4.27pm update: EU explores all ‘flexibilities’ within Northern Ireland Protocol
The European Commission has said it is exploring all “flexibilities” available within Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit trade deal.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen said she recognised particular concern around the health certification of imported food products.
The DUP has vowed to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol, which keeps the Irish land border open since the country follows EU regulations, following disruption to some supplies from the rest of the UK earlier this year.
Ms von der Leyen told Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey: “I can assure you that the Commission has been exploring all flexibilities available under the applicable rules of Union law and within the framework of the protocol, in order to facilitate the implementation of the protocol, whilst fully protecting the integrity of the Union’s single market and customs union.”
3.42pm update: UK ‘hugely attractive to US’ after Brussels vaccine farce
A former US foreign policy adviser has suggested the the UK had become “hugely attractive to the US” in the wake of the EU vaccined debacle.
Peter Rough, a former aide to George W Bush, said while the EU’s lack of success may not impact its relationship with the Biden administration, the UK’s efficiency with the vaccine rollout may make it a more appealing partner to the States.
Mr Rough said: “The vaccine imbroglio showed how the EU can be lumbering and bureaucratic; by contrast the UK has a real opportunity to unleash its economy and innovation now that it’s left the EU.
“This buccaneering spirit would make the UK a hugely attractive partner.”
Brexit news: The exports of shellfish are subject to ongoing restrictions
The European Union has been accused of “declaring war on itself” after Brussels launched legal action against 24 of its 27 member states for breaching obscure telecommunications regulations.
The Commission yesterday opened infringement procedures against the countries – with together represent 94 percent of the EU’s total population – for failing to enact new rules under the European Electronic Communications Code.
In theory, the rules – with which the UK is fully compliant, despite having quit the bloc – are supposed to modernise the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications to ensure, among other things, higher standards of communication services including more efficient and accessible emergency communications.
However, Leigh Evans, spokesman for Facts4EU, suggested the draconian approach adopted by Brussels was highly indicative of its autocratic approach.
He told Express.co.uk: “Just when the EU Commission is under attack from all sides for its disastrous vaccination programme, and when its President’s job is under threat after her temporary closure of the Northern Ireland border last Friday, it goes to war with 24 of its 27 member countries by taking legal action against them. Quite extraordinary.
“The peoples of EU countries are united in wanting to protect their populations and getting back to normal life as quickly as possible. Across Europe there’s huge concern at the EU’s woeful performance on vaccinations, compared to the UK’s stellar results.”
Boris Johnson is facing growing calls to scrap the Northern Ireland protocol, with Arlene Foster’s online petition surging towards 100,000 votes, at which point it will trigger a debate in the House of Commons.
The petition was launched against a backdrop of rising tension as a result of checks being made on goods passing to and from Great Britain, which critics claim amounts to the imposition of a border down the Irish Sea.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is among those who have already added their names, with the current total passing 85,000 just after 9am today, and should hit six figures by the end of the morning.
A Brexiteer has urged UK supermarkets to buy the British shellfish the EU are refusing to import, in a bit to defeat the “devastating” Brussels move.
The ban has infuriated British fishermen, with the exports of live mussels, oysters, scallops and certain other shellfish subject to ongoing restrictions.
In response to the news, the MP for Wokingham wrote on Twitter: “Will the supermarkets buy the shellfish the EU will not take and work with our fishing industry to sell it to UK buyers?”
Several Twitter users responded and welcomed the idea.
Brexit news: Liz Truss has secured a trade deal with Ghana worth £1.2billion
Boris Johnson has been urged to immediately invoke Article 16 and suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol because it breaches a fundamental principle of the Good Friday Agreement by foisting arrangements on the people of the North without their consent.
However, former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib fears comments made by the Prime Minister earlier this week suggest he does not understand either document well enough to realise the impact the Brexit agreement which he signed at the end of 2019 has on the landmark treaty, also known as the Belfast Agreement, which was signed in 1998.
Mr Habib was speaking at a time of rising tensions after the EU itself triggered Article 16, preventing the import of coronavirus medicines into Northern Ireland, before reversing its decision after vehement protests from London.
He told Express.co.uk this morning: “I was watching the House of Commons two days ago and Ian Paisley asked Boris Johnson to intercede in the Northern Irish Protocol, and he also mentioned the EU.”
10.45am update: EU chief accidentally explains EXACTLY why UK quit bumbling bloc
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has inadvertently set out set out the case for Brexit while defending the bloc’s shambolic vaccine scheme.
The European Commission President blamed Brussels bureaucracy for the EU’s sluggish roll-out of Covid jabs. And attempting to justify her shortcomings, she conceded independent Britain had been nimble like a “speedboat” and able to administer vaccinations at breakneck speed.
With the EU slipping almost five weeks behind vaccination schedule, Mrs von der Leyen faces growing criticism of her handling of the pandemic.
“Alone, a country can be a speedboat, while the EU is more like a ship,” Mrs von der Leyen told a group of European newspapers.
“Before concluding a contract with a pharmaceutical company, the 27 member states had five full days to say whether they agreed or not.
“This naturally delays the process. Indeed, we must constantly put pressure on ourselves so that each step of the decision-making process is as fast and efficient as possible
Britain has secured a trade deal worth £1.2billion with Ghana, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced.
A joint statement from the two countries said: “Today Ghana and the UK are pleased to announce that they have finalised negotiations on a new Interim Ghana-UK Trade Partnership Agreement.
“This Agreement will provide for duty free and quota free access for Ghana to the UK market and preferential tariff reductions for UK exporters to the Ghanaian market.
“The Agreement will enter into effect following the completion of relevant internal procedures required in both Ghana and the UK.”
Ms Truss’s department has signed more than 60 trade deals over the past 18 months, more than any country has ever achieved within the same time period.
The European Parliament’s most powerful committees are set to back the Brexit deal, Express.co.uk can reveal.
This website has seen a leaked draft of the “legislative resolution” that will eventually write MEPs’ approval of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement into law.
Drawn up by the Parliament’s international trade and foreign affairs committee, the legislation “gives its consent to the Conclusion of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of one part, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of the other part”.
It will be accompanied by a report from Brexit rapporteurs Luxembourger Christophe Hansen and Dutch Kati Piri.
The pair are due to unveil their recommendations of the 1,246-page trade and security treaty to committee members later today.
8.40am update: VDL forced to make humbling admission over vaccine chaos
Ursula von der Leyen has admitted Brussels “underestimated” the challenges of the coronavirus vaccine rollout across the bloc.
In a bitter concession, the Commission President said manufacturing of the jabs will continue to be uneven and slow in the coming months.
She said: “A start of vaccination does not mean a seamless flow of vaccine doses coming from the industry. This is a bitter learning part, and this we certainly have underestimated.
“Had I known what difficulties we have now with the Schwankungen, with the fluctuations in the beginning period, yes, we should have warned that this goes not seamless and smooth and in a straight upward movement at the very beginning.”
She said Brussels now expects to receive about 100 million vaccine doses in the first three months of this year, with deliveries increasing month by month.
She said: “It shows the direction of the delivery is the right one. It’s going up but we have now learned that there will always be ups and downs.”
8.05am update: Barclays CEO says UK should try to compete with US and Asia – not Europe
The UK’s financial services industry should focus on taking on New York and Singapore rather than the EU post-Brexit, the chief executive of Barclays has said.
Jes Staley, who has led the bank since December 2015, told the BBC that UK fostering co-operation and trust with the EU was important in the wake of the divorce, but not at the cost of being uncompetitive.
He told the broadcaster: “What the UK needs and London needs, is to make sure that the city is one of the best places, whether it was regulation or law or language, or talent that manages these flows of capital well.
“I think what London needs to be focused on is not Frankfurt or not Paris, (it) needs to be focused on New York and Singapore.
“Brexit gives the UK the opportunity to define its own agenda, and in defining that agenda around financial services, staying competitive with other markets outside of Europe is really what the Government here should be focused on, and I think that’s what they’re focusing on.”
— to www.express.co.uk