Boris Johnson discusses Northern Ireland protocol
Ireland’s Further and Higher Education Minister said students from Northern Ireland would be given access to the EU-funded scheme by allowing them to temporarily register with Irish Universities and travel to an EU member state. Talks have been way with higher education institutions (HEIs) on both sides of the border on the proposal, which is expected to cost £1.8 million per year.
Simon Harris said: “Officials in my department have been engaging with higher education institutions (HEIs), north and south officers about the proposal in the first instance.
“Overall, there is a positive reaction from the NI HEIs to the proposal, with the early indications of student interest to pursue the Erasmus option.”
Erasmus allows degree students to study part of their degree abroad or undertake a work placement in another EU country.
The exchanges usually take place in the second or third year of a course, and can last up to 12 months.
But after the UK left the EU, the UK Government has introduced its own study abroad scheme, the Turing scheme, named after the mathematician Alan Turing, to replace the EU scheme.
The Turing scheme will replace the Erasmus scheme in the UK
Last night, the UK Government questioned the proposals, with a senior Whitehall source telling Express.co.uk: “Turing is beneficial to all students of the UK, Erasmus is bloated and bureaucratic.
“It’s a sneaky move by Dublin, Northern Ireland is part of the UK and students should take part in our truly Post-Brexit replacement.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the Turing scheme was a “truly global programme” with every country in the world eligible to partner with UK universities, schools and colleges.
NI Government Department of Education figures reveal 649 students and staff from Northern Ireland took part in the Erasmus scheme in the 2019/2020 academic year.
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Five key moments that led to Brexit visualised
DAVID CAMERON authorised a £9.3million leaflet campaign to help convince the British public Brexit was a bad for the country, ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.
David Cameron, the former Tory prime minister responsible for allowing the British people a vote on EU membership, was one of the leading campaigners in the Remain campaign.
At the time he commissioned a pro-EU leaflet to be sent to all UK households, at a cost of £9.3million to the UK taxpayer.
The existence of the leaflet was detailed in a recent book, which charts the career of the late Jeremy Heywood – who served as cabinet secretary to Mr Cameron.
SIR MICHAEL PALIN argued “the only way” to understand Brexit was “through the eyes of Monty Python” after Theresa May was compared to one of the franchise’s most famous characters.
The British actor is best-known for his work with the comedy group Monty Python. Palin joined John Cleese and Graham Chapman for his first outing with the stars in Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the late Sixties.
The 77-year-old, whose travel show Brazil With Michael Palin aired over the weekend, has also drawn attention with his political views – most recently his take on Brexit.
Palin has continuously reiterated his fears about Brexit and has often argued it was a bad decision.
Sir Patrick Stewart branded ‘EU divorce disgraceful’
SIR PATRICK STEWART branded the UK’s “separation” from the European Union (EU) “a disgrace” in a furious anti-Brexit swipe.
The British star, 80, is one of the nation’s most beloved actors and has been nominated for scores of accolades.
He scooped the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and has been shortlisted for Golden Globes, Emmys, Screen Actors Guilds, Tonys and more. Sir Patrick, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for services to drama more than a decade ago, revealed his frustration with Brexit in an impassioned rant.
Sir Patrick voted Remain in the EU Referendum five years ago and even joined protesters who campaigned for a second vote.
JAMIE OLIVER was snubbed for “trying to ban everything” after he raised concern over how “bumpy” Brexit would be in a rant.
The celebrity chef has spoken out on a number of issues close to his heart, including the sugar tax, school meals and Brexit. Oliver, a staunch Remainer, was extremely unhappy after 52 percent of the nation voted Leave in the EU referendum.
The 45-year-old, who stars in Jamie: Keep Cooking Family Favourites, has regularly come under fire for his political views.
Oliver has been a vocal opponent of Brexit for many years and previously said he was “embarrassed” by the nation’s decision to leave.
Boris ‘Green Brexit’ backlash and fury
BORIS JOHNSON’S “green Brexit” promises have not been delivered, as campaigners claim the Government’s environmental proposals will see weaker protections in areas such as nature and air quality.
Now a coalition made up of environmental groups, called Greener UK, has issued a “report card” with their assessment on whether the Government will be able to meet the environmental regulations outlined by Michael Gove in 2017, when he was Environment Secretary.
The coalition group’s final analysis discovered that protections on climate, farming, fisheries, and water quality are similar to what the Government outlined.
However, environmental regulations for chemicals, nature, air quality, and waste were found to be weaker.
BREXIT BRITAIN has been highly praised by a top US economist, who has warned the country is being “grossly underrated” by its critics.
Europeans hoped for a better and happier year in 2021 – after seemingly endless months of Covid illness, deaths and pandemic-linked economic misery.
However, so far, the EU has not covered itself in glory. EU countries lag significantly behind Israel, the UK and the US in getting jabs into arms.
A number of EU members have stumbled nationally, too, with heavily criticised roll-outs of the vaccines they did manage to obtain, in Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria and beyond.
Joe Biden has been warned not to meddle in Northern Ireland
Oliver Trapnell takes over from Rachel Russell
Brexit has left French politicians debating whether the European Union should continue to use English as its official language. The UK departure from the bloc has seen increased calls for French to finally be adopted by the bloc and replace English in EU institutions.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said on Monday he could not accept English becoming the Esperanto of the EU institutions.
He blasted: “There is a fight that remains, particularly in international institutions.
“I am thinking of the EU, for example, because we are still witnessing an emergence of English as a sort of Esperanto.
“We must defend multilingualism.
“We should use French and other national languages within institutions because using only English means impoverishing discussions.
“Speaking with the same 300 words is not enough.
“Being able to express yourself in your own language, either French, German or Spanish, is very important.”
Mr Biden, who has close ancestral links with the Irish Republic, is on record as saying he will not allow the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to the Troubles, to become a “casualty” of Brexit.
However, Noah Khogali, a contributor for Young Voices UK as well as being policy director for the Conservative Friends of the Commonwealth, fears Mr Biden’s affection for Ireland may cloud his judgement – to the detriment of all concerned.
Writing in City AM, he referenced former President Bill Clinton, who was instrumental in the negotiation of the landmark 1998 agreement.
Mr Khogali said: “Biden is no Bill Clinton. He’s a man who, albeit probably jokingly, refused to take questions from the BBC because of his ‘Irish Catholic’ heritage.
“In recent years, beaming, he’s posed for pictures with Gerry Adams and IRA fugitive turned Sinn Fein US representative Rita O’Hare, and he’s made comments about how people “wearing orange” weren’t welcome in his home.
“This runs in stark contrast to the rhetoric of hope and bi-partisanship on which the Clintons built their image in Northern Ireland.”
Brexit news: Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte is trying to avoid Nexit
The UK finally severed all ties with the EU on New Years after successfully agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal following nearly a year of tense and often bitter negotiations.
Both sides had been engaged in an 11-month transition period, but the expiry of that finally freed Britain from Brussels’ shackles around the customs union and single market.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has basked in the glory of Brexit, insisting the UK has now “taken back control” and will quickly flourish in its new-found freedom outside of the bloc.
The Euronews website has run an article that states: “With Britain, the Netherlands lost an ally with whom it has close cultural ties and whose views on trade and foreign policy largely divide the country.
“The Netherlands has lost a competitor who has thought and functioned as it did, says analyst Maria Demertzis of Bruegel.
“The Dutch looked west in everything they did. On the other hand, a voice with the British that was important for the Dutch in terms of European policy was silenced.
“All that remains, therefore, is the German-French axis that the EU needs for the progress.
“The Dutch therefore feared that they would no longer be heard in the future, but wanted to ensure precisely this.”
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, former German MP Dr Peter Gauweiler suggested that as a result of the latest vaccine fiasco, Sweden could soon say goodbye to the bloc.
He said: “The EU is battered.
“It could recover but the situation will only improve if they release competencies again.
“The big help for us eurosceptics has been the UK.
“Brexit is the best proof, as things are most likely to be going better than before for the [British].
“Some people are saying that Sweden will be the next one to leave.”
When asked why, he added: “Well, this is simply linked to regional experiences.
“Let me give you an example using ecology.
“You can destroy a good biotope with too much energy. And too much of a good thing was done in the area of the allocation of power to the EU headquarters.
“And those who clearly see this and have to pay and don’t just look at this from the perspective of subsidy aspects, those are of course the first ones to feel the negative consequences.”
Sweden was Britain’s closest ally when it came to voting on European policies and staying out of the eurozone.
Britons reacted furiously to the EU’s legal action towards the UK
Earlier this month, Britain announced it was going to extend grace periods that would relax procedures and checks on British supermarket suppliers and businesses trading in Northern Ireland until October.
This has created a new trade border with Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which the European Commission said breached international law. But the UK said changing the grace period is “temporary…lawful and part of a progressive and good-faith implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol”.
However, EU Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic has now warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a month to back down or he will face being taken to the European Court of Justice for going back on his commitments to the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement.
Express.co.uk readers quickly reacted with fury over the EU’s legal move.
One wrote: “Did anyone tell the EU we left their club over 15 months ago? It’s all a bit much.”
Another added: “A better option would be to tear up the protocol and deal then declare to the world that we will not impose a border in either the Irish sea or across Ireland.
“If the EU wants to protect their precious market then let them find a solution.”
A third person said: “Northern Ireland is part of the UK not the EU. See you in court EU.”
A fourth reader did not hold back as they ripped into the EU for using its own courts, which would most likely make a decision in the bloc’s favour.
They said: “The childish EU goes running to its bias EU courts yet again, with bias judges who will always side with it no matter what.”
4.36pm update: EU’s envoy to UK Joao Vale de Almeida says Northern Ireland protocol is solution, not problem
The Northern Ireland protocol that was negotiated between Britain and the European Union is the solution and not the problem for the province as it deals with the difficult fallout from Brexit, the EU’s envoy to the UK said.
Some in Northern Ireland are calling for the protocol to be scrapped on the grounds that it creates trade barriers between the province and the rest of the United Kingdom in order to protect the European single market.
Mr Vale de Almeida said on BBC radio: “This protocol is a result of long and complex negotiations … I tend to say that the protocol is the solution and not the problem.
“Those who oppose the protocol today, they are not presenting any alternative because in fact there isn’t (one),” he said.
Brexit means the Netherlands has ‘lost an ally’ says expert
And the Prime Minister will demonstrate a similar commitment to Gibraltar after recent sabre-rattling by Spain’s far-right Vox party. Mr Johnson will outline his defence and security priorities in a Commons statement today to unveil the Government’s integrated review into defence and foreign policy, part of a commitment to increase spending on defence by more than £16billion over the course of the next four years.
British fisheries will be able to increase their catch of haddock and whiting under the deal agreed upon after negotiations conducted with the UK as an independent coastal state. In the past, the EU has always carried out such negotiations on the UK’s behalf.
The negotiations saw Britain taking a leading role in agreeing to limits on the fishing of cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, herring, and saithe in order to ensure the stocks are sustainable for years to come.
The deal struck is wroth £184million to the UK economy.
Reacting to the news, fisheries minister Victoria Prentis said: “Today we successfully concluded the first trilateral fisheries negotiations between the UK, EU and Norway.
“As an independent coastal state we are committed to managing our fisheries sustainably, to the benefit of the fishing industry across the UK and our marine environment, now and in the years to come.”
Rachel Russell taking over from Richard Percival
The loophole will cost £1.8m per annum
1.45pm update: UK agrees fishing catch limits with EU and Norway
The UK has reached an argeement with Norway and the European Union on catch limits in 2021 for six jointly-managed fish stocks in the North Sea.
The agreement promotes the sustainable management and long-term viability of cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, herring, and saithe stocks in the North Sea.
The catch levels agreed for 2021 are worth over £184 million to the UK fishing industry.
Nigel Farage has accused European “idiots” of putting their dislike of the UK above the health of their own citizens with their decision to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
And the former Brexit Party leader, who stepped down from frontline politics earlier this month, suggested voters across the continent would punish eurocrats, claiming a “populist wave” was heading for Brussels.
Sweden and Latvia became the latest countries to call a halt to jabs, with countries including Germany, France and Italy already having done so.
12.15pm update: Boris Johnson sets out foreign policy strategy for post-Brexit Britain
The UK must be “match-fit for a more competitive world”, Boris Johnson said as he set out a foreign policy strategy for the country’s role following Brexit and the rise of China as a global force.
The strategy, which includes a plan to increase the UK’s nuclear stockpile, will see Britain tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region as the world’s “geopolitical and economic centre of gravity” moves east.
But closer to home, Russia still remains the “most acute threat to our security”, the document said.
Under the Turing scheme, countries such as the US could be opened up for students – pictured Harvard University
France, Italy, Spain and Germany are among those to halt use of the Oxford-produced jab over unsubstantiated fears it causes blood clots.
The EU capitals, led by scaremongering from Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, moved despite the bloc’s drugs watchdog saying the benefits of the vaccine “outweigh the risks of side effects”.
So far more than half of the bloc’s 27 countries have halted the use of the life-saving jab.
Boris Johnson has launched a thinly-veiled dig at the EU’s behaviour in a row over coronavirus vaccines as he hailed Britain’s vaccine rollout.
The might of Global Britain post-Brexit has been demonstrated by the rollout of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine across the world, the Prime Minister said.
He praised the UK for leading the way after striking a deal that would allow the jab to be distributed at cost.
10am update: Arlene Foster lashes out over EU legal action
DUP leader Arlene Foster said EU legal action against the UK was proof of the bloc “closing its eyes to the serious problems” the protocol has caused in Northern Ireland.
She said: “Brussels’ failure to recognise the damage the protocol is causing to Northern Ireland has been further demonstrated by this step towards litigation.
“Rather than showing concern for stability in Northern Ireland or respect for the principle of consent, Brussels is foolishly and selfishly focused on protecting its own bloc.”
Mr Johnson praised the Turing scheme
9.15am update: Ambassador says EU “left with no choice” to take legal action over grace periods
Joao Vale de Almeida, EU ambassador to the UK, said the UK Government had left the EU with no choice but to take legal action over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
When asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if taking the Government to court was the way to solve the problem, he said: “I don’t think the Government left us with any alternative to this to be frank and we regret the situation.
“Looking at the facts, we believe the Government is in breach of substantive provision of the protocol that applies to Northern Ireland, but also to the good faith obligation.”
8.30am update: Extension of NI grace periods will cause “uncertainty”, says Irish PM
Irish premier Micheal Martin has warned that the UK’s decision to extend post-Brexit grace periods “exacerbates uncertainty and instability”.
Mr Martin said the unilateral action on the Brexit divorce agreement corrodes trust.
As tensions continue to escalate, the European Commission on Monday formally took legal action against the UK over the alleged breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The “green Brexit” promised by the Government has not been delivered, with weaker protections in areas such as nature and air quality, campaigners said.
But there is still a chance to enhance environmental protections, the Greener UK coalition of UK green groups said as it issued its final “report card” in a series of assessments on Brexit.
Greener UK has been tracking progress on the pledge, outlined by then environment secretary Michael Gove in 2017, to deliver a green Brexit, and Government promises to maintain and enhance environmental protections.