Blog: UK says time running out for solution in Brexit trade talks – Your Valley

By JILL LAWLESS

LONDON (AP) — The British government tried Saturday to speed up the pace of talks to resolve post-Brexit trade troubles with the European Union, saying the two sides remain far apart and time is running out to bridge the gap.

U.K. and EU negotiators have met in Brussels over the past week to try and resolve . The talks move to London on Tuesday, and Britain says “substantial gaps on the fundamental issues remain.”

The U.K. government said talks so far had been “constructive” but added that “we need to see real progress soon rather than get stuck in a process of endless negotiation because the issues on the ground in Northern Ireland haven’t gone away.”

Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. and shares a border with EU member Ireland, remains inside the EU’s tariff-free single market for goods, even though the U.K. left the 27-nation bloc at the end of 2020.

That special status ensures there is an open border on the island of Ireland — a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process since the 1998 Good Friday accord. But it means a new customs border in the Irish Sea for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K., even though they are part of the same country.

That has brought red tape for businesses, and caused problems with some goods reaching Northern Ireland. EU rules on chilled meats led to a brief sausage shortage, and now Britain claims that Christmas crackers — festive noisemakers that are a holiday party staple — are being prevented from reaching Northern Ireland.

The new arrangements have also angered Northern Ireland’s British Unionists, who say the checks undermine Northern Ireland’s place in the U.K. and destabilize the delicate political balance on which peace rests.

The EU accuses Britain of trying to renegotiate a legally binding agreement that it signed less than a year ago; some officials say it shows the U.K. government can’t be trusted. The bloc has, however, agreed to make changes to the deal, offering to reduce checks on food, plants and animals entering Northern Ireland by as much as 80% and to cut paperwork for transport companies in half.

Britain has welcomed those proposals, but also is demanding that the EU’s top court be stripped of its role resolving any disputes over the agreement and replaced with independent arbitration — an idea the bloc flatly rejects.

Chief negotiators Maros Sefcovic of the EU and David Frost for Britain are due to meet in London at the end of next week to assess the talks’ progress. Britain on Saturday repeated a threat to trigger an emergency break clause that lets either side suspend the agreement in extreme circumstances if there is no breakthrough soon.

That would bring legal action from the EU, and potentially economic sanctions that could spiral into a trade war. Any such battle is likely to hurt the economy of the U.K. more than the much bigger EU.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney also warned that talks couldn’t go on forever, and urged Britain on Friday to respond to the EU’s willingness to compromise.

“I think the EU has shown a real appetite for compromise, and they have consciously avoided creating tension,” he said. “I can’t say the same in terms of the British government’s approach.

“I don’t think it will be the case forever, that the EU will be in compromise and solutions mode.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage of post-Brexit developments at

Blog: Brexit news – live: Sunak reveals £20bn Budget spree as UK and EU ‘still far apart’ on Northern Ireland – The Independent

Related video: Chancellor warns recovery from Covid ‘comes with a cost’

Viewers of Rishi Sunak’s Budget speech later in the week may not get many surprises, as the Treasury has already trailed some £20bn of investment ahead of time.

The spending spree includes some £7bn to “level up” transport outside London; £500m for family support including new Sure Start-style children’s centres; and £5bn for health research and genome sequencing.

Meanwhile, Brexit negotiations are set to move to London in the week as the UK and Brussels remain “far apart” over the Northern Ireland protocol, which Boris Johnson’s government previously signed up to.

While British negotiators said talks so far had been constructive they claimed issues of “governance” were blocking more progress – namely, London’s demand to tear up the agreement which currently has the European Court of Justice in the role of overseeing disputes between the sides.

1635059235

UK and EU ‘still far apart’ over Northern Ireland deal, as talks shift to London

Talks are set to continue between the UK and the EU in London next week, despite the two sides remaining “far apart” on crucial issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol, writes Adam Forrest.

British officials described talks in Brussels this week as “constructive”, which came after the EU proposed new measures to ease trade barriers stemming from the agreed Brexit deal.

But it is understood there is still major divide when it comes to Brexit minister Lord Frost’s demand for an end to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s role in trade arbitration.

UK source says Brussels must give way ‘soon’ over role of European court or talks could collapse

Jon Sharman24 October 2021 08:07

Blog: Brexit LIVE: Taking back control! UK takes action to protect fish plundered by EU boats – Daily Express

Talks are set to continue between the UK and the EU as it was warned the two sides were still far apart on issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

UK officials described as “constructive” the first round of talks in Brussels this week, which came after the EU proposed new measures earlier this month.

It is understood that while there was common ground in some areas, there were still substantial gaps on what were seen as fundamental issues mainly surrounding governance.

Sources close to the negotiations said “real progress” must be made soon and a process of “endless negotiation” must be avoided.

But reports over Christmas crackers being delayed by the protocol was “yet another practical example” of the disruption caused by the agreement.

Blog: Southampton firm blames Brexit for fireworks supply issues – Daily Echo

PEOPLE are looking forward to celebrating and returning to normal occasions including Halloween, Bonfire Night, and Diwali. 

But, Vily Bhatti, Southampton’s Firework Factory owner, has warned that Brexit and supply chains threaten to put a dampener on this year’s fireworks displays.

He said: “Import problems have reduced stock by up to 70 per cent and forced up prices.

“My suppliers have been adversely affected as a result of the existing laws. My products are made in China, and when they announced a national lockdown, it impacted the entire firework industry in the United Kingdom.”

The majority of fireworks are made in China and then delivered to continental European ports before being sold to the United Kingdom.  Imports of various commodities, from toys to microchips, are being affected by this significant surge.

“The lockdown made the shortage worse, and it was a difficult time for not only me but the entire industry. While we have some supplies, other businesses have not had the same luck”, he added.

Mr Bhatti opened his Southampton store five years ago, and now he also offers an online click-and-collect option allowing clients to purchase from the comfort of their own homes.

He feels that when the world returns to normal, things will improve. He encourages people to purchase locally and support small businesses.

“I’ve observed that sales are coming up again as things return to normal. This holiday season, I expect the shops to be bustling and crowded with consumers. It would be wonderful to see locals support small companies”, he said.

For safety advice, go to hantsfire.gov.uk/safety/leisure-and-lifestyle/fireworks/

Blog: ‘Human rights deprived!’ Expat disaster over homes bought in Spain before Brexit – Daily Express

The expats are reportedly leaving the hugely popular tourist destination “in droves” after more stringent immigration rules were brought in when the UK left the European Union on December 31, 2020. Brexit came into full force on January 1, 2021, but Britons now looking to move to Spain and other countries in the European Union are faced with meeting certain conditions to gain resident status, including financial means and health cover. More than 350,000 Britons are registered as permanent residents in Spain, but recent statistics revealed that 2,400 British residency applications were rejected this year.

UK citizens can now only Spain without a visa for up to three months for tourism and business purposes and the Spanish Government has warned overstaying their welcome can be considered a “serious offence” by authorities.

The punishments range from fines of between €501 (£429) to €10,000 (£8,562) a possible expulsion from Spain as well as a potential ban from the Schengen area (Spain, France, Greece and Portugal) for six months to five years.

When asked about expats being forced to sell their homes in Spain, Leon Fernando Del Canto, founder of London-based tax set Del Canto Chambers, told Express.co.uk: “This is a serious issue for those not wanting to become tax residents in Spain and who bought their properties before Brexit.

“There is, from my point of view, a serious human rights infringement on those cases, as no one must be deprived from their rights to enjoy their property freely.

“The 90 days Schengen limitation should be waived on those cases.

“It is quite worrying for those who owned property in Spain before 31st December 2020, and who have not yet got a residency permit.

“Their rights are being infringed by the Schengen limitations in accordance with the European Human Rights Convention (EHRC), which states that individuals have a legal right to ‘peacefully enjoy’ the possession of their home and deprivation of possessions by states should be subject to certain fair and equitable conditions.”

Mr Del Canto added: “It is worth noting that in addition to the UK being a member of the Council of Europe, the ECHR applies to any foreign citizen in Spain.

READ MORE: Brexit backlash: UK’s trade deal with New Zealand branded ‘disgrace’

“State rules preventing people from peacefully enjoying their property, independently of whether it is their main residence, are likely directly to violate that convention right.”

He has urged the UK Government to challenge their Spanish counterparts on the issue, warning this is also the case for several other jurisdictions in the continental bloc.

The expert said: “The UK Government should take the issue of the property owners’ human rights affected by Schengen to the Spanish Government.

“This is also a case in other EU jurisdictions.”

DON’T MISS
Brexit: Boris hatches masterplan to crush France’s fishing threat [LATEST]
Rishi Sunak to unveil £700 MILLION fund to fight illegal immigration [REPORT]
EU’s £80bn project will struggle to find funding [INTERVIEW]

The number of new British home buyers dropped to a historic low, according to the most recent official data from Spain’s Land Registry, which saw them account for just 9.5 percent of all purchases.

Recently, property expert and real estate managing director Robert Barnhardt told Express.co.uk many Britons in Spain are now starting to sell their properties because of increasing post-Brexit difficulties.

He said: “A lot of retired British people are starting to sell up.

“They used to come down here in September or October and then stay until April/May for the six months of better weather.

“But now they can only come for 90 days and also a lot of them used to drive down.

“The Spanish are now getting pretty strict on foreign plated cars and mainly British cars.

“Down on the rural roads, where I live out in the sticks, a lot of people have been driving around in the same English cars.

“I mean I’ve certainly seen them for 10-15 years with the same vehicle. And now it’s against the law and they’re being impounded.”

Blog: Scotland to set up own ‘Erasmus scheme’ after Brexit cost place in EU project – The National

Ministers and civil servants are holding discussions about the scheme with members of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Some of the work is being undertaken by the Scottish Government’s hubs based in Brussels, Berlin, Paris and Dublin.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson controversially withdrew the UK from the EU Erasmus initiative, which offered university student exchanges as well as school links and work experience, as part of its Brexit deal struck last year.

He established the successor £105 million Turing scheme, but both Scottish and Welsh ministers wanted their two countries to remain in the EU programme, saying the new Turing initiative lacked some key Erasmus benefits.

READ MORE: Scottish Government reveals details of £8m international offices bill

Turing only offers British students a chance to study overseas and does not offer a package of financial support to students from the EU or elsewhere to study in the UK.

Senior SNP politicians met with their counterparts in Brussels to try to keep Scotland in Erasmus, however, in February this year Ursula von der Leyen (below), the commission president ruled out individual membership for Scotland and Wales.

The National:

Ministers in Edinburgh intend that the new scheme would work alongside Turing and also make up for any of its shortcomings. It is also in addition to the Scottish Government’s recently announced Saltire Scholarship programme allowing EU nationals to study in Scotland.

“We remain committed to Erasmus+ and are exploring how to re-secure Scotland’s access to it. In the interim we are developing a Scottish Education Exchange Programme to support participants from across Scotland’s education system.

“Post-Brexit, we are determined to strengthen and repair our institutions’ international links through exchange programmes and scholarships,” Minister for Higher and Further Education Jamie Hepburn told the Sunday National.

“The UK Government’s Turing scheme is a watered-down imitation of Erasmus+ which will see support for our most disadvantaged learners cut, and opportunities for all our students, staff and young people reduced.

READ MORE: The fatal design flaw in UK’s Erasmus-replacing ‘Turing scheme’

“The scheme’s application results highlight the need for the Scottish Government to consider how best to offer staff and learners further opportunities for mobility exchange.”

It is not clear when the Scottish scheme will launch and which universities will take part with planning still at an early stage.

The Government said the new programme will help maintain Scotland’s place as “an outward-looking, internationally connected destination for work and study” and that further steps will be announced in due course.

“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of reciprocal educational mobility. We remain committed to Erasmus+ and will continue to engage with the European Parliament and European Commission on how we can maximise our institutions’ access to the EU programme,” a statement said.

Wales announced earlier this year that it was setting up its own £65m “international learning exchange” to succeed Erasmus.

A spokesperson for Universities Scotland welcomed the Erasmus-style plan. “We support the Turing scheme as it was mobilised quickly and avoided there being a gap in opportunities for outward mobility for students following Brexit. We now need to see a long-term commitment made to the scheme in next week’s spending review,” she said.

“Scotland has benefitted so much from the inward flow of students as part of the Erasmus scheme.

We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to the development of something new and it is encouraging if conversations are now happening with Brussels. Universities want to be a pro-active partner in this and we’d like to see a scheme develop on a par with the scale of ambition delivered by the Welsh Assembly.”