Brexit news latest – EU at WAR over vaccine crisis as Europe's papers brand UK supply threat 'best advert for Brexit'

EUROPEAN newspapers have blasted the EU over threats to disrupt Britain's vaccine supply amid its own jab crisis.

The EU has been incredibly slow in placing orders for vaccines leading many nations to fear their jab rollouts wont be able to go ahead as planned due to massive shortage in supplies.

After being told they were only going to receive a fraction of the UK-made AstraZeneca jab they'd ordered, the EU made an astonishing threat to stop 3.5million doses of the Pfizer jab from reaching the UK.

The EU only abandoned the plan on Friday night after Boris Johnson gave a grave warning that blocking jabs would kill British grandparents.

The EU's reckless threats and vaccine handling is going down terribly in Europe, where Germany’s Die Zeit said the EU had made “the best advertisement for Brexit": by acting so slowly and bureaucratically.

Meanwhile Spain's El Pais blasted the EU over the problematic "late signing of contracts", while France's Le Monde branded the EU "ill-equipped for health emergencies of this magnitude", while adding that was no excuse.

Follow our live blog below for the very latest on Brexit and the EU…

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    BORIS ON FISHING

    Boris Johnson said the new relationship he had negotiated with Brussels would bring benefits to coastal communities.

    The Prime Minister said: "Be in no doubt that over the medium term, and much more over the long term, the changes are very beneficial for Scottish fishing – a big increase in North Sea cod, in North Sea haddock, in just the next few years, a 25% increase in overall quota in just the next few years.

    "Then, moving to a world in which we really are able as a country to fish the entire stocks in the whole of Britain's territorial waters and we're going to help Scottish fishing communities get ready for that moment, progressively improve their ability to take advantage of the position with a £100 million investment in fishing and helping improve their equipment, and so on."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    GLOBAL BRITAIN

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    'NOT TRYING TO INFLAME TENSIONS'

    Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken said he is not trying to inflame tensions.

    He reiterated his demands for invocation of Article 16 by the UK to ease east/west trade.

    "Our economy, our society and our culture, and virtually every aspect of Northern Ireland's life, is being impacted.

    "We, as a unionist party, have said for a considerable time that Article 16 should be there and should be used."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EU COULD HAVE DISRUPTED VACCINE SUPPLY, NI HEALTH MINISTER WARNS

    The EU could have endangered vaccine supplies to Northern Ireland by enforcing Irish Sea trade disruption, the health minister said.

    The Oxford AstraZeneca jab is manufactured in the UK but the Pfizer BioNTech's vaccine comes from a plant in Belgium, and has in the past been routed to Belfast via Dublin.

    Robin Swann said: "This had potentially very real implications for ourselves because we had vaccine actually in transit, and had that article been enforced we may have seen difficulties in the supply and the arrival of vaccines here in Northern Ireland."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    AMAZON TO OPEN FIRST WAREHOUSE IN IRELAND AMID BREXIT DISRUPTION

    The online retail colossus plans to open its first packing warehouse in Ireland, Bloomberg has reported. 

    Currently, many items are dispatched from the UK to Ireland, with delays resulting from the new post-Brexit customs rules.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EU VACCINE DASH CHAOS

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    BORIS JOHNSON WILL NOT APPROVE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

    Nicola Sturgeon said this month she was hoping a strong performance by her Scottish National Party in an election to the Scottish parliament in May would give her a mandate to hold a second referendum on independence from the United Kingdom.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, has said he will not approve a second referendum.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    SIMPSON THACHER TO OPEN BRUSSELS OFFICE

    Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP announced today that it intends to open an office in Brussels, Belgium this summer.

    Bill Dougherty, Chairman of Simpson Thacher's Executive Committee, said: "In the wake of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, companies in the region and around the globe will face continued challenges in navigating an evolving legal framework.

    "The Brussels office will complement the Firm's presence in London and will focus on providing our clients with advice on European merger control and competition law and regulations concerning foreign direct investment before the European Commission, the European Courts and Member States of the European Union."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EXPERTS VOICE CONCERNS OVER RAISING CONTACTLESS LIMIT

    Andrew Cregan, payments policy advisor at the British Retail Consortium, said: "We have concerns about raising the contactless limit, with losses from incomplete contactless payments at self-checkouts currently costing retailers millions in lost revenue.

    "Card companies should take measures to reduce incomplete payments and we urge customers to make sure their own transactions always go through. However, the overwhelming priority at the moment must be for the government to address the rocketing card fees."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    CONTACTLESS LIMIT COULD RISE TO £100

    The contactless payment limit could rise to £100 as Britain diverges from EU rules, it has been revealed.

    The Financial Conduct Authority said: "Recognising changing behaviour in how people pay, as part of a wider consultation, we will shortly be seeking views on amending our rules to allow for a possible increase in the contactless limit to £100."

    It comes less than a year after the contactless payment limit was raised from £30 to £45.

    Credit: Alamy
  • Chiara Fiorillo

    JOANNA CHERRY 'SACKED' IN SNP WESTMINSTER RESHUFFLE

    SNP MP Joanna Cherry said she had been "sacked" from her party's front bench team at Westminster, as a reshuffled was announced.

    Ms Cherry had been the SNP justice and home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster.

    She was also seen by many as being close to former leader Alex Salmond, as well as having come in for criticism from some for her stance on transgender issues.

    The reshuffle revealed that Anne McLaughlin has now been appointed as the party's Westminster spokeswoman on justice and immigration.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EU 'NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE' TO REDUCE POVERTY IN EUROPE

    The EU is "not fit for purpose" to reduce poverty in Europe, the UN’s special envoy on human rights has said.

    Prof Olivier De Schutter said the EU’s “constitutional framework” was driving a race to the bottom in corporation and income tax and salary levels.

    One in five people still experiences poverty, defined as having an income below 60% of national median income, The Guardian reports.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    EU 'NEEDS TO WORK TOGETHER', SAYS ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the EU “need to work together with others” to deliver coronavirus vaccinayions.

    He tweeted: “The European Union was originally inspired by Christian social teaching – at the heart of which is solidarity.”

    “Seeking to control the export of vaccines undercuts the EU’s basic ethics. They need to work together with others.”

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    HAVING LEFT EU COMMON FISHERIES POLICY 'WILL BENEFIT MARINE ENVIRONMENT'

    Environment Secretary George Eustice said that now the UK had left the EU-wide Common Fisheries Policy, "we are able to deliver on our commitment to achieve a healthy, thriving and sustainable marine environment".

    "The UK has already established an impressive 'blue belt' covering 38% of our waters and our Fisheries Act has provided us with additional powers to go further to protect our seas around England.

    "This proposal to introduce byelaws to safeguard four of our precious offshore marine protected areas shows how we are putting these powers into action," he said.

    Environment Secretary George EusticeCredit: Alamy Live News
  • Chiara Fiorillo

    THE AREAS WHERE PROTECTIONS COULD BE INCREASED

    – Dogger Bank, a shallow sandbank in the North Sea, which is home to species such as sand eels, that are food for puffins and porpoises;

    – The Canyons, a deep sea habitat off the coast of Cornwall which harbours cold water coral reef and coral gardens;

    – Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge Special Area of Conservation, off the Lincolnshire and North Norfolk coasts, whose sandbanks and reefs are home to wildlife including lobster, crabs and pink shrimp.

    – South Dorset Marine Conservation Zone, off the coast of Dorset, which is home to sea squirts, crabs, sponges, scallops and starfish.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    CAMPAIGNERS CALL FOR MORE PROTECTION OF UK MARINE PROTECTED AREAS

    Campaigners have been calling for greater protection of the UK's marine protected areas, which are designated for their important habitats such as sandbanks, coral gardens and reefs, and the wildlife they support.

    Conservationists warn that the network of protected areas in the seas consists largely of "paper parks", where harmful activity such as bottom trawling – in which weighted nets are dragged over the seabed, ploughing it up to catch fish – continues.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    WORKING ON UK-EU RELATIONS

    The PM and the chief eurocrat have tried to patch up relations following the row over Brussels' vaccine export ban.

    An EU spokesman said the pair had "reassured" each other they won't block shipments of jabs heading across the Channel in both directions.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    'CONSTRUCTIVE TALKS'

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    FRANCE TRIES TO DISCREDIT UK VACCINE DRIVE

    France has tried to discredit Britain’s coronavirus vaccination drive as criticism of Emmanuel Macron mounts over its own floundering jabs rollout.

    Europe minister Clement Beaune claimed his country is only lagging behind the UK because No 10 is "taking a lot of risks" to race ahead.

    He made the remarks after it was put to him that Britain's performance on getting jabs into arms compared to the EU is "the best advert for Brexit".

    Clement Beaune claimed the UK is taking risksCredit: Rex Features
  • Shayma Bakht

    BORIS NEEDS TO DO MORE ABOUT TRADE DISRUPTION, SAYS IRELAND

    Arlene Foster slams Boris Johnson by claiming he is not doing enough to address unionist "anguish" over Irish Sea trade disruption.

    Northern Ireland's First Minister demanded action from the Prime Minister following the EU's "horrific" botched move to suspend elements of the new post-Brexit arrangements.

    The European Commission was forced into an embarrassing U-turn on Friday when it backtracked on an attempt to restrict the free flow of coronavirus vaccine across the Irish border.

    Mrs Foster told BBC Radio Ulster: "I have to say directly to the Prime Minister and to the UK Government that it is a dereliction of duty for a prime minister of the United Kingdom to stand by and allow United Kingdom citizens to suffer, and that is what he is allowing to do at present, so therefore action is absolutely needed."

  • Shayma Bakht

    BRITAIN SANCTIONS ZIMBABWEAN CHIEFS

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced Britain will impose sanctions on four Zimbabwean security chiefs responsible for "serious human rights violations."

    He said the four were linked to the deaths of 23 protesters since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in November 2017.

    They included a state-sponsored crackdown against protests in January 2019 which resulted in the deaths of 17 people and post-election violence in August 2018 in which six protesters lost their lives.

    Raab said: "These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold to account those responsible for the most egregious human rights violations, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans."

    They are the first designations to be made under the UK's Zimbabwe autonomous sanctions regime, which came into force following the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    DAMAGING FISHING COULD BE BANNED IN PROTECTED AREAS OF THE SEA

    Damaging fishing practices could be banned in wildlife-rich Dogger Bank and three other protected areas of sea under plans being put out for consultation.

    Under new rules, harmful bottom trawling would be prohibited in four of England's offshore marine protected areas, and the use of static fishing gear such as pots or nets would be prevented in sensitive parts of two of them.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    UK MAKES FORMAL REQUEST TO JOIN TRANS-PACIFIC TRADE DEAL

    Britain made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, seeking membership of the 11-country deal to open new avenues for post-Brexit trade.

    Announcing the move, trade minister Liz Truss said it would position Britain "at the heart of some of the world's fastest-growing economies".

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    'REALITY HAS BITTEN'

    Arlene Foster told the Northern Ireland Assembly: "Reality has bitten.

    "Unionists across the length and breadth of Northern Ireland are in anguish.

    "It should matter that everyone in Northern Ireland is being denied supply of trade and if they really care about all of the people of Northern Ireland, they will act."

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    ARLENE FOSTER SAYS THERE IS 'NOTHING POSITIVE' IN PROTOCOL

    While Article 16 suspends aspects of the protocol to facilitate negotiations on resolving the issues of concern, the First Minister wants the protocol binned altogether.

    "There's nothing positive to come from protocol," she added.

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