Brexit may ‘ignite true reform’ in the EU says MEP
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Brexit Britain is now set to grant full diplomatic status to the European Union’s ambassador to the UK. It comes after the Government pointedly challenged whether EU officials should be automatically granted the benefits which come with the role.
The move appeared a purposeful effort to assert the UK’s new sovereignty outside of the bloc.
With the message delivered, No10 now appears happy to grant the EU’s ambassador full status.
Some Foreign Office insiders warned the move had had an “unhealthy, chilling effect” on relations between the UK and the EU, The Times reports.
João Vale de Almeida took up the position as EU ambassador in February 2020, shortly after the Brexit withdrawal agreement was sealed.
The European Parliament has formally ratified the Brexit trade deal (Image: GETTY)
João Vale de Almeida and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič (Image: GETTY)
He was not granted the same privileges afforded to diplomats under the Vienna Convention – sparking a row between London and Brussels.
Brussels previously said the EU’s 143 delegations and staff around the world had been accorded a status equivalent to countries’ embassies.
Without the protections of the Vienna Convention diplomats do not benefit from immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation.
A senior Government source said this week: “I think it will be resolved sooner rather than later.
Michel Barnier and Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament (Image: GETTY)
“It is a silly dispute but has had a corrosive effect.”
The change in status comes as MEPs formally ratified the Trade and Corporation Agreement.
The European Parliament announced on Wednesday that MEPs have finally approved the trade deal which was agreed by both sides last December.
Five key moments that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the deal “marks the foundation of a strong and close partnership with the UK”.
Boris Johnson added: “This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.
“Now is the time to look forward to the future and to building a more global Britain.”
Follow Express.co.uk for live Brexit updates:
BORIS Johnson has welcomed the “final step” in the UK’s journey out of the EU after MEPs backed his Brexit trade deal.
The agreement, thrashed out by the Prime Minister and Brussels over months of difficult negotiations, was approved by 660 votes to five in the European Parliament.
Final formalities are now set to be completed before the deal struck on Christmas Eve last year is finally ratified.
Mr Johnson said: “This week is the final step in a long journey, providing stability to our new relationship with the EU as vital trading partners, close allies and sovereign equals.”
BREXIT is over, despite lingering political agreements, but some people wish to keep its memory alive via a solid entity. When will the Museum of Brexit open?
The Museum of Brexit is one of several proposed vehicles to remember the 2016 referendum and its eventual fallout.
Backers hope to use the site, which is yet to begin construction, to celebrate the movement to “sovereignty”. Fans will be happy to hear it has now secured its first few items.
Writing in the Evening Standard, Times Radio Chief Political Commentator unveiled the museum’s first two collection items.
THE European Union has completed the final steps in the UK’s journey out of the bloc.
Completing a 1,492-day journey since Article 50 was triggered, the Brexit trade agreement thrashed out by Boris Johnson and Brussels was approved to enter into force.
The European Council rubber-stamped the Trade and Cooperation Agreement after MEPs backed it in a crunch vote earlier this week.
With the final formalities now complete the future relationship pact struck on Christmas Eve last year will enter into force on May 1.
EU rubber-stamps UK’s Brexit trade deal (Image: Getty Images)
Oliver Trapnell takes over from Bill McLoughlin
10.47pm update: Liz Truss to meet WHO chief to reform organisation
British trade minister Liz Truss will on Friday press the case for sweeping World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms aimed at countries who distort trade with state subsidies when she meets the trade body’s new head in Geneva.
The meeting will be her first face-to-face encounter with recently-elected WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has committed to reform the organisation.
As Truss looks to remodel post-Brexit Britain as a guardian of free trade and the rules-based international system, she has repeatedly called for a tightening of WTO rules and stricter enforcement.
A trade department spokeswoman said: “The WTO needs to modernise and tackle big global issues like climate change and technological advancement.”
Boris Johnson has been urged not to grant ambassador status to the EU’s UK representative after rumours of a U-turn.
The EU was outraged earlier this year when Britain said it would not give full ambassadorial status to the bloc’s representative in London.
The Government argued the status would not be appropriate as the European Union is not a sovereign state.
However, according to a report in The Times, the UK is understood to be preparing to backtrack as the move meant Britain was frozen out of some discussions in Brussels.
Tom Harwood, political correspondent for GB News and former national chair of the pro-Brexit Students for Britain, urged the Prime Minister to stick to his guns.
He tweeted: “Weak move. The EU isn’t (yet) a country and we shouldn’t act like it is.”
Brexit: Manfred Weber insists the EU ‘did our job’
8.57pm update: Brexit fishing fury as UK criticised for being “national embarrassment”
The owners of a supertrawler have hit out at the collapse of fishing talks with Norway, which has left hundreds of crewmen without work.
Its giant vessel Kirkella, which normally catches around 10 percent of all the fish sold in the UK’s chip shops, is now tied up in Hull without any viable long-term opportunities.
But to provide British fish for chippies, the Kirkella needs access to quotas from the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Norway.
UK Fisheries chief executive Jane Sandell said Environment Secretary George Eustice owed an explanation to the industry.
Sandell said: “This is a very black day for Britain.
“George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades, never mind land the boasts of a ‘Brexit bonus’, which has turned to disaster.”
Angela Rayner and Labour’s remaining Corbynite MPs are “responsible” for pushing away the party’s Red Wall, it has been claimed.
Ms Rayner and the other Corbynites in the Labour Party are “responsible” for pushing the North of England’s Red Wall away from the party, Express.co.uk was told.
Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, said big-name Corbynites like Ms Rayner, Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery, and Mr Corbyn himself were “responsible” for the dilemma the party has in seats like Hartlepool.
Talking about the dissent that stirred before this year’s Budget announcement, Mr Embery said: “The hard left element, the far left element, whatever you want to call it, in many respects, we shouldn’t be too unduly concerned with what they’re demanding because let’s be honest many of them were the architects of Labour’s annihilation at the last general election.
“They’re the people who have helped to deliver and add more to the Tories because of their ideology, because they’re just not in touch with millions of working class people, their priorities are just out of kilter with those working class communities.”
Brexit live: MPs have urged the Prime Minister to tackle the EU over fishing (Image: GETTY)
Arch-BBC critic Sir Robbie Gibb has been appointed to the broadcaster’s board of directors.
Sir Robbie was formerly communications director at No10 when Theresa May in No10 and was an eager supporter of Brexit, often pushing the Prime Minister to be tougher in negotiations.
He is also the brother of the current schools minister, Nick Gibb.
Sir Robbie spent 25 years at the BBC before taking up the Government role but has been an outspoken critic of the national broadcaster ever since.
He has accused the corporation of failing in its duty to remain independent and for not reflecting the UK as a whole.
Since leaving frontline politics, Sir Robbie has written articles criticising the broadcaster, particularly about its supposedly “woke” staff.
PMQs: Boris Johnson slams Keir Starmer over Brexit stance
6.19pm update: Brexit fisheries warning: Boris urged to be pragmatic with EU over exports
A group of MPs have called on the Government to make improvements on EU checks on fish and meat exports.
MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Neil Parish said: “The Government must be pragmatic in seeking an agreement with the EU to reduce the red tape that harms both sides, and in the meantime, crack on with giving practical support to small British businesses to sell their produce abroad.
“By the end of the year, the Government must have developed a digital system for certifying EHCs for imports from the EU, enabling it to then negotiate a reciprocal arrangement.”
The EU has been labelled an “anti-democratic” organisation to its core by a German MEP, who revealed three reasons why Berlin must leave the bloc.
Such is his hatred for the bloc under Ursula von der Leyen, MEP Gunnar Beck warned Germany needs Dexit as the “EU is finished financially” following the coronavirus pandemic.
With Germany being the powerhouse of the bloc, Mr Beck warned the state can no longer be part of the crumbling EU project.
While the EU has insisted member states remain unified in prolonging the project’s future, Mr Beck claimed leaving the bloc is now a “necessity” for Germany.
Brexit live: Ursula von der Leyen has been criticised for the vaccine rollout (Image: GETTY)
Brexiteers Baroness Kate Hoey was met with outrage in the House of Lords after accusing Leo Varadkar of exploiting the threat of IRA violence to “advance political objectives” in Brexit talks.
The non-affiliated peer accused the Northern Ireland Protocol of disrupting trade from Britain.
Launching a furious attack on the conduct of Ireland during Brexit negotiations, Baroness Hoey accused the then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar of using the threat of the return of IRA terrorism to force the Protocol’s implementation.
She said: “There are already serious societal difficulties in Northern Ireland.
“Every night now across the province there are dozens of mostly peaceful protests with many feeling ignored and betrayed.
“They’re not reported of course because they are not violent.
“This direct action is going to increase over the next few months with the worry in many communities there is a feeling that the only way to advance political objectives is with the threat of violence, just like the threat of IRA bombs was unfortunately used by Taoiseach Varadkar as political leverage which led to the Protocol.”
Brexit news: A timeline of events leading to the UK’s exit (Image: Express)
Ursula von der Leyen has been skewered by Lord Frost as the peer called on the EU to “tone down their language” used towards the UK.
Lord Frost addressed the House of Lords following the historic decision of the European Parliament to ratify the UK/EU trade deal.
The passing of the trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) by Brussels on Wednesday was welcomed by Brexit supporting peers Lord Frost and Lord Lamont.
However, both members of the House of Lords struck out at the “disappointing language” adopted by EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen ahead of the deal passing.
Britain’s Trade Bill has officially become law today, implementing the agreements stuck by Liz Truss across the globe.
The Queen has given Royal Assent to the Trade Bill which gives Britain the freedom to implement deals struck around the world now the UK is freed from the EU.
Deals covering 67 counties have already been negotiated by Ms Truss’s department.
Following Royal Assent, Ms Truss said: “The passing of this Act into law is a landmark moment for the UK.
“For the first time in nearly half a century, we are free to pursue an independent trade policy and put the interests of the British people first.”
Brexit live: David Frost has been biding his time it has been claimed (Image: GETTY)
Lord Frost has been “biding his time” before launching Britain’s “fightback” against the European Union, it has been claimed.
The Brexit Minister was reportedly waiting for the post-Brexit trade deal to finally be ratified before retaliating to a series of provocative moves by Brussels following the UK’s departure from the bloc.
Writing for the Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph editor Allister Heath said: “Given all of this, why has our supposedly fearless Government stood by so uselessly?
“The answer is that Lord Frost was biding his time, a necessary and disciplined strategy.”
Bill McLoughlin takes over from Luke Hawker.
Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP slamming Boris Johnson and Brexit throughout their 2021 Scottish Parliamentary campaign has been a “mistake”, according to the former leader of the Scottish Conservative Party.
Jackson Carlaw told Express.co.uk that Nicola Sturgeon‘s SNP are re-running their 2019 general election campaign ahead of the crucial May Holyrood election.
The former Scottish Tory leader added that the SNP campaign has been a mistake and as a result, he does not expect the party to be able to secure a majority in Holyrood on their own.
Brexit: MEP warns ‘EU will not hesitate to take necessary action’
Joe Biden will be watching Boris Johnson carefully and “may seek to intervene” on any Brexit changes if the Northern Ireland Protocol breaks down.
The protocol was agreed by the EU and UK during the Brexit negotiations last year in a bid to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
It was designed to keep trade flowing smoothly on the island and to avoid a hard border and checkpoints.
Now, Allister Heath, editor of the Sunday Telegraph, has claimed US President Mr Biden “may intervene” if the protocol breaks down.
Brussels has been warned a referendum on the Netherlands’ membership to the EU could be a “very close call” for the future of the bloc.
According to Rutger van der Noort, founder of the Nexit Denktank, Dutch people are increasingly growing tired of the EU and its shackles.
Mr Van der Noort claimed it will not be long before his country, together with Finland or Denmark, will leave the Brussels bloc and the EU will “implode”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “I think others like the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark for example, should also leave.
Rejoiners are plotting to reverse Brexit (Image: GETTY)
Brexit can still be reversed according to Rejoiners in the UK who are still hoping for an EU return.
Remainers-turned Rejoiners are still vocal in their support for the UK’s EU membership nearly five years after the 2016 referendum.
As the European Parliament ratified the Brexit trade deal this week, Labour peer Lord Adonis vowed to undo the UK’s departure from the bloc.
He said: “The European Parliament just ratified the Brexit agreement with Britain.
“Our mission now is to reverse this and get Britain back into Europe, where we must be for our prosperity and security.”
The UK Government has failed British fishermen, an industry leader has said after the publication of a new Parliamentary probe into the ongoing ban on shellfish exports to the continent.
And the Shellfish Association of Great Britain (SAGB) has highlighted systematic failures by the Department for Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (Defra), which it says has left it struggling with the post-Brexit reality.
In the report ‘Seafood and Meat Exports to the EU’, which has been published today, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee highlights urgent concerns for exporters of highly time-sensitive fresh and live seafood and meat shipments to the EU, especially small- and medium-sized businesses.
The committee warns new barriers which small seafood and meat export businesses face could render them unviable, and factories and jobs may relocate to the EU.
Mr Percy, chairman of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUFTA), told Express.co.uk: “’Dog’s breakfast’ sums it up really.
“The whole EU Exit with regard to fisheries has been a complete debacle from beginning to end.
The Brexit trade deal was agreed last December (Image: GETTY)
Europe is facing a wave of bankruptcies with the rate of firms going under likened to a “tsunami” by a leading economic watchdog.
The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) has delivered a damning assessment of the economic crisis in Europe as much of the continent continues to battle a third wave of coronavirus infections.
The finance body, chaired by European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, warned firms may struggle to stay afloat as they continue to rely on emergency life-support funding from the state.
The dire outlook from the ESRB comes despite firms across the bloc claiming grants, tax breaks and loans to the tune of £1.3trillion.
The latest report by the ESRB said: “In a worst-case scenario, the postponed insolvencies would suddenly materialise and trigger a recessionary dynamic, potentially causing further insolvencies.
“The current low rate of insolvencies would then be similar to the sea retreating before a tsunami.”
9.15am update: MPs issue warning over Brexit ‘competitive disadvantage’
Delaying checks on European Union food coming into Great Britain has put domestic businesses at a “competitive disadvantage” after Brexit, MPs have warned.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has recommended ministers keep to their plan to start border inspections on meat and seafood coming from the bloc in January in order to level the playing field between Britain and the EU.
In its Seafood and Meat Exports to the EU report, the Commons committee criticised the decision to delay controls on imports from January as “originally planned” to October 1, with checks at the border only commencing from next year.
The committee said: “This has placed British businesses at a competitive disadvantage and reduced the incentive on the European Commission to negotiate measures that would lessen the burdens facing British producers.”
Seats in the European Parliament after Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)
Emmanuel Macron ally Clement Beaune has been shut down after he welcomed the European Parliament’s decision to ratify the Brexit agreement.
The French European Affairs Minister said he supported MEPs’ vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday as he stressed the commitments signed by the UK will be upheld with “vigilance”.
He wrote on Twitter: “I welcome the very clear vote of the European Parliament in favour of the Brexit agreement.
“It defends our interests, it’s a good deal. It must be well applied. Its ratification will enable us to uphold the commitments made. With vigilance and demand, at all times.”
A senior EU politician has claimed “Brits are fleeing their own country” and branded the UK “very selfish” over coronavirus vaccines in an incendiary interview.
The allegations were made by German politician Manfred Weber who leads the influential European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament.
Speaking to Deutschland Radio he also claimed recent rioting in Northern Ireland was “Brexit violence” that “occurs because of Brexit”.
Mr Weber said: “The actual result of Brexit is that food deliveries to Great Britain have plummeted by 40 percent, investments by British companies in Europe have increased by 20 billions, the Brits are fleeing their own country, because they know the single market is important.