/Brexit LIVE: Varadkar makes plea EU cuts red tape – admits Brussels poorer without UK

Brexit LIVE: Varadkar makes plea EU cuts red tape – admits Brussels poorer without UK

Northern Ireland ‘feel sense of betrayal’ says Reverend

The UK and European Union remain locked in discussions over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Lord David Frost and the EU Commission vice-president agreed last week to step up talks to ensure goods flow smoothly between the UK and EU via Northern Ireland. The discussions also come on the back of growing political unrest in the country, which has seen rioting in the streets in loyalist areas of Belfast.

The Northern Ireland Protocol tied Belfast to the EU customs union and single market, while the rest of the UK is not, but this has resulted in some issues at the border.

The UK already took the unilateral decision to extend grace periods for further checks until the winter.

Mr Sefcovic has now thrown the gauntlet down to Boris Johnson and warned the EU will not accept a deal which put any “risk to the integrity of the single market”.

Speaking to the Financial Times, the EU chief acknowledged the complexity of the protocol and called for a “good faith approach”.

Brexit

The EU has outlined red-line to a post-Brexit deal involving Northern Ireland (Image: Getty)

He said: “It’s not easy to do, it’s a massive, massive task.

“But what we need is the good faith approach and the proper implementation of all the commitments [already] undertaken, so we see the system working, and then we can look at the risks which are associated with different measures being applied.”

This week, Brexit minister Lord Frost travelled to Brussels in a fresh bid to resolve tensions over Mr Johnson’s trade deal.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “This meeting is part of our ongoing engagement with the EU to work through the outstanding issues with the protocol, in order to restore confidence on the ground, reflect the needs of communities and respect all dimensions of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

“The discussions so far have been constructive but there are still significant differences that need to be resolved.

“Both the UK and EU are continuing to engage with business, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland to understand the issues they are facing.”

READ MORE: EU pleads to ‘talk seriously’ to Boris after deal blow

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: Getty)

Mr Varadkar told a European Movement Ireland seminar: “In practice, despite our enormous differences, Ireland aligned itself with the United Kingdom on most of the everyday issues that the European Union dealt with.

“As a free-trade, pro-enterprise and pro-competition champion, we tended to adopt similar positions and similar opt-outs to the UK.

“The European Union without the United Kingdom is a weaker and poorer place.”

But Mr Varadkar added how achieving progress requires “realism, generosity, practicality and reduced officiousness from Brussels”.

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Tensions in Northern Ireland reach boiling point

Tensions in Northern Ireland reach boiling point (Image: Getty)

SEE BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES…

How customs may work under Boris' deal

How customs may work under Boris’ deal (Image: Express)

4.00pm update: ‘Pressure is on, Brussels!’ US could replace EU in new agriculture post-Brexit trade deal

The European Union could find itself under intense pressure as the UK looks towards the US to establish new major trade links.

Economist and fellow at think tank Centre for Brexit policy, Catherine Mcbride insisted the UK could have an even greater trading relationship with the US.

During an interview with Express.co.uk, Ms Mcbride warned the EU could be under pressure as it faces US competition to supply the UK in agriculture and food.

She added that, unlike the rest of Europe, the UK and US share a common language, meaning other forms of trade in media, film and entertainment could be utilised as well.

2.40pm update: Ireland’s Micheal Martin said tensions between Ireland Northern Ireland are ‘encouraged by political events’

Micheal Martin said it had become clear in recent weeks what can happen “when sectarian tensions are left to grow and are then encouraged by political events”.

The Fianna Fail leader made the comments at his party’s annual 1916 commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery in Dublin.

Mr Martin said: “The terrible scenes on the streets of Belfast have deep roots which we must challenge – and it falls to all of us to play a constructive and moderating role.

“We understand that Brexit is one of the factors in this situation.”

Mr Martin described the Northern Ireland Protocol as “a fair conclusion to attempts to limit the potential destructiveness of Brexit on this island”.

“It is complex, but it is nowhere near as complex as it is presented,” he said.

“It is not as complex as the thousands of Brexit issues remaining in relation to trade and other contacts between Great Britain and the European Union. Rules and connections developed over half a century don’t come apart easily.

“With good faith and co-operation, disruption can be limited and we can resolve outstanding issues.”

He added: “It is important to say that very serious harm can come if we keep seeing people trying to use Brexit as an issue to create points of dispute or by presenting every single issue as a zero-sum, win-lose fight.

“When this approach is followed in relation to UK-EU relations the damage it causes is primarily economic.

“When it involves misrepresenting the arrangements for Northern Ireland the damage can go much further.”

Ireland's Micheal Martin

Ireland’s Micheal Martin (Image: Getty)

1.45pm update: Frexit now! Petition calls for French referendum on leaving EU after new £25bn a year cost

A petition demanding that France hold a referendum on leaving the European Union has gained traction.

Created by referendum-ue.org, it attracted more than 15,500 signatures shortly after going live.

As well as gaining widespread backing among France’s increasingly Eurosceptic public, many influential commentators also voiced their support for it.

Proponents include top journalist Alexis Poulin, whistleblower Stephanie Gibaud and economist Olivier Delamarche.

On the page inviting people to sign the petition, it says: “(In) 2005: 55 percent of French people voted NO to the European constitutional treaty.

“Since then, no referendum on the European Union has taken place. Is this normal?

“However, two major changes have just occurred. And these changes will cost the French dearly.

1pm update: ‘EU cannot be trusted!’ Britons warn Boris as Barnier plans to release tell-all diary

Boris Johnson has been urged to remember the “EU cannot be trusted” after Michel Barnier announced he will publish his private diary.

Mr Barnier was the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and played a key role in negotiations with the UK after the 2016 ‘Leave’ vote.

The diary will be published under the title “Brexit: The Grand Illusion” with the subheading “Brexit Secret Diary”.

During his time in officer Mr Barnier was involved in high stakes talks with Boris Johnson and Theresa May over Britain’s future EU relationship.

Last December he agreed a new trade deal with Mr Johnson which set the rules for UK-EU trade.

There is speculation Mr Barnier is hoping to run for the French presidency in 2022 in opposition to Emmanuel Macron.

International trade secretary Liz Truss

International trade secretary Liz Truss (Image: Getty)

12.35pm update: We’ve secured £900BILLION in post-Brexit trade and we’re just getting started LIZ TRUSS

As a newly independent trading nation, we are realising our vision of Global Britain by forging closer links with our friends and family across the world.

New Zealand may be on the other side of the world from the United Kingdom, but we could not be closer as like-minded democracies who believe fiercely in free and fair trade.

Trade is vital for our ongoing recovery and lasting prosperity, lighting the spark for new and high-quality jobs in key industries like food and drink, advanced manufacturing, services and technology.

We want to forge closer links with fast-growing and like-minded nations across the Americas and Pacific to help the best of British business export worldwide.

That is why we have been working hard over the last few months to strike a gold standard trade agreement with New Zealand.

We have made great progress so far and our negotiators have been meeting over the last week for our fourth round of talks.

12.15pm update: Jeremy Clarkson fumes ‘I’d rather have Covid than leave EU’ over ‘Brexit disaster’ on farm

Jeremy Clarkson has fumed that he’d “rather have Covid” than leave the EU after facing a “disaster” on his Diddly Squat farm due to Brexit.

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, 61, has ranted about the UK leaving the European Union after his move to diversify his farm’s crop was held back by Brexit border problems.

The Grand Tour host argued that the successful rollout of the UK’s vaccination programme was not evidence that Brexit was a success, as he fumed that he’d “rather have Covid” than face more disasters on his Diddly Squat farm.

Jeremy had been attempting to grow Durum wheat, which is used in several popular food products including pasta and flatbread, as pigeons and climate change were affecting his rapeseed crop.

However, he then found that he could only order Durum seeds from a provider in the Rhône Valley in France.

The EU will accept shellfish exports from much of Britain after UK fishing waters were upgraded to ‘Class A' in quality.

The EU will accept shellfish exports from much of Britain after UK fishing waters were upgraded to ‘ (Image: Getty)

11.05am update: ‘Preposterous!’ Scottish nationalists ‘colonial’ view of history skewered by top Brexiteer

The Scottish nationalist view that Scotland was “annexed by its larger neighbour” has been condemned as “preposterous” by a leading Brexiteer.

Lord Hannan, a leading Brexit advocate, argued Scottish nationalists sell “Scottish separatism as a form of anti-colonialism” to match the “statue-smashing, anti-imperialist mood of our age”.

Instead, he argues Scots played a crucial role in the union which created “the most powerful and influential” nation the world had ever known.

Scotland and England united in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Lord Hannan, formerly Conservative Party member of the European Parliament, was reacting to a new campaign video from Alex Salmond’s Alba Party.

The former first minister launched Alba seeking a “supermajority” in the Scottish parliament to push for independence.

10.50am update: Brussels surrenders! EU says it will accept British shellfish after ‘Brexit revenge’

The EU will accept shellfish exports from much of Britain after UK fishing waters were upgraded to ‘Class A’ in quality.

Brussels sparked fury post-Brexit when it blocked shellfish caught in ‘Class B’ waters post-Brexit, which made up the vast majority of the sea surrounding Britain.

The British Government was privately furious with one minister accusing the EU of trying to “punish” the UK for Brexit.

However shellfish exports will now be allowed after waters off Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Kent and Northumberland were updated to ‘Class A’ status.

The move was made by the UK’s independent Food Standards Agency.

Oysters, mussels, clams and cockles from these areas can now be sold in the EU.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (Image: Getty)

9.55am update: EU on brink: Norway shows why the European project ‘will fail big time’

The European Union was warned by an expert that Norway highlighted a weakness of the bloc.

The EU has endured disagreements during the pandemic over national sovereignty after its vaccine rollout stalled.

Some countries, such as Germany, had begun negotiating its own contracts with pharmaceutical companies before handing the responsibility to the EU.

After a row with AstraZeneca, the bloc has experienced significant delays.

Debates over integration and sovereignty have been waged for decades in Europe, but an expert believes Norway provides evidence of how the European project could “fail big time”.

Sir Paul Collier, a British development economist at Oxford University was speaking an Intelligence Squared debate in 2017.

9.45am update: EU crisis: Eurosceptic alliance to ‘paralyse’ Brussels as insider warns of divided Europe

European Union decision-making could be “paralysed” if Italy joins Poland and Hungary in electing a eurosceptic government to power, according to political analyst Grant Amyot.

The victory of Matteo Salvini’s eurosceptic right-wing coalition in Italy could topple the balance of power in Europe according to the Political Science professor.

Mr Salvini’s League is currently in pole position to replace Mario Draghi’s technocratic Italian government after the next election.

Professor Amyot has suggested a potential alliance between Italy, Hungary, and Poland in the European Parliament could ultimately make the bloc ungovernable.

Michel Barnier warns France could be next to leave EU

Michel Barnier warns France could be next to leave EU (Image: Getty)

9.20am update: Rejoiner Brian Cox shut down after ‘woke professor’ tried to ‘preach about politics’

Brian Cox appeared to be shut down on Twitter after the “woke professor” took aim at the Government, with one user pleading: “Please do not preach to us about politics.”

The English physicist is the author or co-author of over 950 scientific publications and is best-known for presenting a string of science programmes including his BBC ‘Wonders of…’ series.

But he was also an opponent of Brexit and called for another vote on the issue, despite the UK deciding to leave the EU.

Since then, Prof Cox has taken to social media to share his aspirations of rejoining the bloc, whilst simultaneously taking aim at the Government.

9.10am update: Frexit warning: Barnier makes plea to Macron to listen to citizens who want to leave EU

Michel Barnier has urged Emmanuel Macron to learn from Brexit lessons or France could follow Britain and leave the European Union.

The former Brexit negotiator warned the EU and France should not be complacent amid “social unrest” across the bloc as Euroscepticism rises across the continent.

He said France could be next to leave the EU if they do not heed Brexit warnings.

Mr Barnier told a conference on Brexit and the future of the EU in Le Touquet, near Boulogne: “We could draw some lessons from Brexit for ourselves.

“It’s now too late for the UK but not for us.

“Let us ask ourselves: why this figure of 52 percent at the referendum?

“52 percent of citizens voted against Brussels, against the EU, so much so that they actually ended up leaving the union.”

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Image: Getty)

8.50am update: ‘Pressure is on, Brussels!’ US could replace EU in new agriculture post-Brexit trade deal

The European Union could find itself under intense pressure as the UK looks towards the US to establish new major trade links.

Economist and fellow at think tank Centre for Brexit policy, Catherine Mcbride insisted the UK could have an even greater trading relationship with the US.

During an interview with Express.co.uk, Ms Mcbride warned the EU could be under pressure as it faces US competition to supply the UK in agriculture and food.

She added that, unlike the rest of Europe, the UK and US share a common language, meaning other forms of trade in media, film and entertainment could be utilised as well.

8.25am update: ‘EU wanted to keep UK CAPTIVE’ Biden urged to see through EU schemes to hamper Brexit UK

Joe Biden has been ordered to see through the schemes and traps the EU set for the UK on Brexit and reinvigorate the US-UK relationship.

Economist and fellow at think tank-Centre for Brexit policy, Catherine Mcbride attacked the EU for their schemes on Northern Ireland.

During an interview with Express.co.uk, Ms Mcbride insisted the EU wanted to keep the UK captive to force its products and regulations on the nation regardless of Brexit.

She added the EU was never concerned about destabilising Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

(Additonal reporting by Steven Brown)

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