UK, EU meeting in bid to calm post-Brexit trade turbulence
The turbulence centers on Northern Ireland, whose complex status has been one of the trickiest issues in the U.K.-EU divorce. Checks have also been imposed on some British goods going to Northern Ireland because it shares a border with EU member-state Ireland. That would have drawn a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland -- exactly what the Brexit trade deal was crafted to avoid. AdThe EU quickly dropped the idea after British, Irish and Northern Ireland politicians expressed alarm. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, said the bloc’s move had caused “shock and anger” in Northern Ireland.
UK-EU talks aim to defuse Brexit tensions over N Ireland
A woman walks past past graffiti with the words 'No Irish Sea Border' in Belfast city centre, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. Politicians from Britain, Northern Ireland and the European Union are meeting to defuse post-Brexit trade tensions that have shaken Northern Irelands delicate political balance. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)LONDON – Senior politicians from Britain, Northern Ireland and the European Union held inconclusive talks Wednesday in a bid to ease post-Brexit trade tensions that have shaken Northern Ireland’s delicate political balance. The border checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. are a contentious product of Brexit. British, Irish and Northern Ireland politicians all expressed alarm at the plan, and the EU dropped the idea.
In virus-struck Europe, jabs trigger intense political fight
A security guard talks to people at the entrance of Novasep factory in Seneffe, Belgium, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. The Novasep factory in the town of Seneffe is part of the European production chain for AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine. It also indicated how, beyond the medical complexity, the humanitarian needs and the personal pain felt across the continent, the pandemic is also an intense political fight. Much of that political bile pools together in the small Belgian industrial town of Seneffe south of Brussels. Which would make it all the more important for Berlin to ensure the EU gets all the vaccines it can.
UK's Johnson faces criticism over Scotland trip in lockdown
Johnson is facing accusations that he is not abiding by lockdown rules as he makes a trip to Scotland on Thursday to laud the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the United Kingdom. (Jeff Mitchell/Pool Photo via AP)LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced accusations Thursday that he is not abiding by the country's lockdown rules as he visited Scotland to laud the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the United Kingdom. “I’m here in my capacity as prime minister of the whole country to thank hard-working officials and public servants across the whole of Britain who are doing fantastic work," he said. Police Scotland confirmed they had received a “small number” of complaints about the prime ministerial visit. ___Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines and understanding the outbreak:https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemichttps://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccinehttps://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___Follow all AP stories about Brexit and British politics at https://apnews.com/Brexit
Companies say post-Brexit rules are clogging up UK-EU trade
Britain left the European bloc's vast single market for people, goods and services, completing the biggest single economic change the country has experienced since World War II. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)LONDON – Some businesses said Friday that costs and paperwork are hampering trade between Britain and the European Union as the reality of the U.K.’s post-Brexit trading relationship with the bloc takes hold. A trade deal that took effect Jan. 1 allows Britain and the EU to trade in goods without quotas or tariffs. But that is a far cry from the seamless, hassle-free trade the U.K. enjoyed while it was part of the EU's single market. “We have always been clear there would be changes now that we are out of the customs union and single market, so full compliance with the new rules is vital to avoid disruption,” he said.
British hospitals scramble for space as virus cases soar
British hospitals are cancelling non-urgent procedures and scrambling to find space for COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases continue to surge despite tough new restrictions imposed to curb a fast-spreading new variant of the virus. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, File)LONDON – British hospitals are canceling non-urgent procedures and scrambling to find space for COVID-19 patients as coronavirus cases continue to surge despite tough new restrictions imposed to curb a fast-spreading new variant of the virus. British authorities are blaming a new variant of the coronavirus for soaring infection rates in London and southeast England. That is only slightly below the high of 21,683 COVID-19 patients who were recorded in U.K. hospitals on April 12. Still, there is rising confidence help could soon be on the way, with expectation mounting that U.K. regulators may authorize a second coronavirus vaccine this week.
UK warns of 'bumpy' post-Brexit transition despite deal
European Union ambassadors convened on Christmas Day to start an assessment of the massive free-trade deal the EU struck with Britain. (Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP)LONDON – First came the Brexit trade deal. Four days after sealing a free trade agreement with the European Union, the British government warned businesses Monday to get ready for disruptions and “bumpy moments” when the new rules take effect on Thursday night. Despite the deal, uncertainty hangs over huge chunks of the relationship between Britain and the EU. ___Follow all AP stories on the Brexit trade talks at h ttps://apnews.com/Brexit
EU, UK leaders concede big gaps remain in post-Brexit talks
On fisheries, the EU has repeatedly said it wants an agreement that guarantees a reciprocal access to markets and waters. EU fishermen are keen to keep working in British waters and the U.K. seafood industry is extremely dependent on exports to the 27-nation bloc. Johnson has made fisheries and U.K. control over its waters a key demand in the long saga of Britain’s departure from the EU. “We give until Sunday to Boris Johnson to make a decision,” said Dacian Ciolos, president of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament. “He said that, if no agreement could be reached, the UK and the EU would part as friends, with the UK trading with the EU on Australian-style terms.”Australia does not have a free trade deal with the EU.
It's not a target: UK rows back on Christmas easing advice
A man wears a face mask as she skates past a closed pub in Soho, in London, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. That's the new Christmas message that leaders of the U.K.'s four nations were spreading Wednesday, after toughening up their advice over what people should do during the holiday period. Last month, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed to permit a maximum of three households to mix between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27, regardless of what local restrictions are in place. He said anyone planning to meet others during the easing should start limiting contacts from this Friday, for example. The confusion surrounding the scheduled easing has been exacerbated by the fact that many parts of the country have seen restrictions tightened this week.
UK urged to ax 'rash' easing of restrictions over Christmas
People wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus as they walk past a pub in Soho, London, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)LONDON – The four nations of the United Kingdom faced mounting calls Tuesday to scrap. or at least limit, a planned easing of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas following a spike in new infections. Any potential easing over Christmas contrasts with measures being taken by other European nations such as Germany and the Netherlands, which have announced sweeping new restrictions for the holidays. When the Christmas easing was first announced last month, Johnson was careful to stress that households should be "jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives.”However, that easing announcement was predicated on an assumption that new cases would be on a downward trajectory.
UK-EU to resume Brexit trade talks but say large gaps remain
Britain left the EU on Jan. 31 but remains in its economic structures until the end of the year. That means a serious economic rupture on Jan. 1 that could be chaotic if there is no trade agreement. The two leaders had hoped to inject political momentum into trade talks that have become hopelessly deadlocked on fishing and other key aspects of the future relationship. Reaching a trade deal by then would ensure there are no tariffs or quotas on trade in goods on Jan. 1, although there would still be new costs and red tape for businesses. Months of trade talks have failed to bridge the gaps on three issues — fishing rights, fair-competition rules and the governance of future disputes.
UK leader touts local virus rules but pubs are in distress
Members of Parliament will vote later Tuesday on the proposed tier system as the country prepares to come out of lockdown. Critics say the measures will devastate businesses, especially pubs, which face some of the tightest restrictions. Johnson urged legislators to back the measures, saying the country must “hold our nerve” until vaccines are approved and distributed. But pubs and restaurants face strict limits in Tier 2 and closure in the topmost Tier 3. Other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — are all following their own local restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
With a month until split, Brexit trade deal hangs in balance
With less than two months to go before the U.K. exits the EU's economic orbit, trade deal talks resume in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)LONDON – The British government told businesses on Tuesday to make sure they are ready for big changes when the U.K. makes its final Brexit break from the European Union in exactly a month. Talks are continuing, and U.K. officials have said this is the last week to strike a deal. That will hurt both sides, but the burden will fall most heavily on Britain, which does almost half its trade with the EU. But firms that trade with the EU say they still don’t know what conditions they will face in a month’s time.
UK appoints vaccines minister to oversee COVID inoculations
(Adrian Dennis/Pool via AP)LONDON – The British government appointed a vaccines minister on Saturday as it prepares to inoculate millions of people against the coronavirus, potentially starting within days. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Conservative lawmaker Nadhim Zahawi will oversee the country’s biggest vaccine program in decades. Britain has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, enough for 20 million people, and 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Decisions about which, if any, vaccines to authorize will be made by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Bur Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the restrictions were “grimly” necessary to avoid the health system being overwhelmed this winter.
Europe's Christmas dilemma: risk empty chairs next year?
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)BRUSSELS – Please leave a chair empty at this year's family Christmas dinner as a precaution, or face the possibility of having that chair empty forever. That's the stark dilemma Belgium's prime minister has set to urge smaller festive family gatherings, as Europeans battle with containing the surging COVID-19 pandemic over the holiday season. Britain, with the continent's highest death rate at 57,031 yet a Christmas tradition unlike few others, could not resist the temptation of relaxation. Like Belgium, Italy, where the pandemic initially struck hard in Europe, is taking a hard line at Christmas. In Oberndorf, home of the world's most famous Christmas carol, they hope its lyrics will not be taken too literally.
The Latest: Researchers urge Arizona shutdown, mask mandate
Arizona on Saturday reported 4,136 additional known COVID-19 cases and 36 more deaths. The total number of coronavirus cases in Oregon has now surpassed 72,000 and the death toll stands at 896. ___CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada on Saturday reported nearly 3,000 additional known COVID-19 cases as related hospitalizations continued in large numbers. Seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases, daily deaths and COVID-19 testing positivity in Arizona all increased in the past two weeks. In Tokyo, daily cases have totaled more than 500 recently, raising alarm about a third wave of infections.
UK eases restrictions so families can gather over Christmas
Those travelling to and from Northern Ireland will be permitted to travel for an additional day either side. The industry hopes it will spur British families to go on holiday over the Christmas break, especially if children won’t have to miss school upon their return. It will be replaced with regional measures that involve three tiers of restrictions based on the scale of the local outbreak. Though daily numbers can fluctuate widely, the U.K. recorded another 11,299 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest level since early October. Still, with a maze of travel and quarantine restrictions around the world, few industry experts anticipate a rapid rush for the skies before vaccinations become widely available.
Germany starts 'wave-breaker' shutdown as Europe locks down
Restrictions have been slowly ramping up for weeks in many European countries, but virus cases have continued to rise. Health Minister Jens Spahn, who himself caught the virus, says he doesn't know where he was infected. This time, schools, nonessential shops and hairdressers are staying open. They can go out to exercise or to work, among other things, and nonessential shops will remain open. ___This story has been corrected to show that Austria plans to keep nonessential shops open.
UK says 4-week coronavirus lockdown may have to last longer
Earlier Saturday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced England will start a month long lockdown next week. The lockdown announced Saturday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to run from Thursday until Dec. 2. Unlike during the U.K.’s first three-month coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, schools, universities, construction sites and manufacturing businesses will stay open. Like other European countries, virus cases in the U.K. began to climb after lockdown measures were eased in the summer and people began to return to workplaces, schools, universities and social life. ___Follow AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
The Latest: Mexico mourns doctors on Day of the Dead
The state reported 103 infections that day, the largest single day increase in cases. France’s government has shut down all nonessential businesses and ordered people to stay indoors for the next month to slow accelerating virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The Geneva canton, or region, said the University Hospitals of Geneva on Sunday counted 474 people hospitalized with coronavirus infections, including 56 in intensive care. Iran has reported more than 620,000 confirmed virus cases in all. Montenegro recently has seen a surge in virus cases.
UK, EU inch toward more Brexit talks but hurdles remain
Britains foreign minister says there are only narrow differences remaining in trade talks between the U.K. and the European Union. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON – Britain and the European Union edged toward resuming their troubled trade talks on Monday, after the bloc's chief negotiator said he was ready to “intensify” negotiations on the legal text of an agreement. Britain and the EU have been attempting to strike a new trade deal since the U.K. left the bloc on Jan. 31. He told British businesses to prepare for a no-deal economic break with the EU at the end of the year. The bill soured talks aimed at securing a new trade deal between Britain and the EU.
UK minister: Door 'still ajar' for post-Brexit talks with EU
Britains foreign minister says there are only narrow differences remaining in trade talks between the U.K. and the European Union. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON – A senior British official said Sunday the door is “still ajar” for post-Brexit talks to continue with the European Union if officials in the bloc change their position on key points. Michael Gove's comments came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said Friday that the trade talks are “over” unless there is a “fundamental” change of position from the EU. With just weeks to go until the end-of-year deadline, Johnson said the U.K. needed to get ready for leaving the EU with no trade deal. “We’re certainly not saying that if they do change their position we can’t talk to them,” he told the BBC.
EU-UK spat over Brexit deal clouds key trade talks this week
At center on screen is EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier joining by videoconference. After a short meeting between the two sides in Brussels, U.K. Brexit planning minister Michael Gove said Britain wouldn't withdraw its Internal Market Bill, which includes clauses to override parts of the Brexit withdrawal treaty. “Those clauses will remain in that bill” as a safety net in case the U.K. and the EU don't reach a trade agreement, Gove said. The rift means that talks between the two sides' trade negotiators will begin Tuesday under an ominous cloud. Sefcovic warned Monday that Britain shouldn't try to use the withdrawal agreement and its Northern Ireland provisions as “a bargaining chip” in trade negotiations.
UK says no-deal Brexit could see 7,000-truck border queues
Michael Gove, the minister in charge of Brexit preparations, described that as a reasonable worst-case scenario in a letter to logistics firms. “This could lead to maximum queues of 7,000 port-bound trucks in Kent and associated maximum delays of up to two days,” the document said. Even with a deal, Britain will be leaving the bloc’s single market and customs union, meaning some new checks and trade barriers. Without a deal there will be much greater disruption, with the U.K. and the EU having to slap tariffs on each others’ goods. But negotiators remain at loggerheads on key issues, especially European fishing boats’ access to U.K. waters and competition rules for businesses.
The Latest: West Ham manager and 2 players have coronavirus
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___ West Ham manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen have contracted the novel coronavirus. They were informed of the positive tests ahead of Tuesday’s League Cup game against Hull and left the east London stadium. West Ham says the trio are asymptomatic and will now self-isolate in line with government rules. ___Atlético Madrid says defender José María Giménez has tested positive for the coronavirus. All players and officials have been tested at snooker events since the sport resumed in June with spectators after the coronavirus outbreak.
EU to UK: stop playing 'games' with Brexit trade talks
(Aris Oikonomou, Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – The European Union is pleading with Britain to stop playing “games" as time is running out to clinch a free trade deal over the next month. A transition period now runs until Dec 31, during which time both sides are negotiating a trade agreement to replace the open and unfettered economic relations that are currently in place. The EU has repeatedly expressed its exasperation at what it sees as British stubbornness and refusal to compromise on some key points. The EU has not explicitly said what action it would take but EU Vice President Maros Sefcovic indicated it would stay within the rules of dispute settlement set out in the withdrawal agreement. “I would like to underscore that the EU believes in calm, constructive cooperation through the channels created by the withdrawal agreement," Sefcovic said.
UK's Johnson urges 'spirit of togetherness' to combat virus
Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced that pubs and restaurants closing at 10pm, due to the spike of cases of coronavirus across the United Kingdom. The most high-profile change centered on pubs, restaurants and other entertainment venues in England, which from Thursday must close at 10 p.m. In a change of emphasis, Johnson urged people to work from home where possible. “If we follow these simple rules together, we will get through this winter together,” Johnson said in a prime-time televised address. “In essence, the government is saying, ‘Stay sober, stay sensible and the venues can stay open.’ It’s a carrot to encourage responsible behavior,” she said.
The Latest: Honolulu to allow some activities to resume
(AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)HONOLULU -- Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the city plans to allow some activities that were shut down last month to control the spread of the coronavirus to resume under new guidelines. Gary Herbert will increase pandemic restrictions in two Utah cities as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state. The county accounted for 42% of the state’s cases despite having only 20% of state’s population. Eric Holcomb’s statewide mask mandate and other coronavirus restrictions poses a possible disruption to his reelection campaign. But the real toll is thought to be much higher, in part because many COVID-19 deaths were probably ascribed to other causes, especially early on, before widespread testing.
Boris Johnson defends Brexit change to avoid UK 'carve-up'
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has strongly defended his controversial plan to override sections of the Brexit deal that he negotiated with the European Union, arguing that the bloc has an extreme interpretation of the treaty that could jeopardize the future of the U.K. With the government showing no sign of changing course, there are real concerns that ongoing talks on a future trade deal between the U.K. and the EU could collapse within weeks. If that happens, tariffs and other impediments to trade will be imposed by both sides at the start of 2021. As a result, the two sides agreed there would be some kind of regulatory border between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.
EU, UK in urgent meeting on lawbreaking British Brexit plan
UK and EU officials begin the eighth round of Brexit negotiations in London. Britains decision to break international law by overwriting part of the EU Withdrawal Agreement has alarmed European leaders and threatens to scuttle the fragile negotiations on future U.K.-EU relations, which are ongoing simultaneously in the British capital. Huebner warned that undermining the withdrawal agreement would pose a serious threat to lasting peace and prosperity on the island of Ireland." It says it's doing so in order to protect the peace agreement in the event there is no deal with the EU. The withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation and we expect that the letter and the spirit of the withdrawal agreement will be fully respected, Sefcovic said.
Freight firms warn of Brexit disruption amid UK-EU deadlock
FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, May 18, 2020, traffic moves along the M6 motorway near Birmingham, England. The EU is insisting on a level-playing field for companies, so British firms cant undercut the bloc's environmental or workplace standards, or pump public money into U.K. industries. So far the U.K. has not, frankly speaking, engaged constructively, Barnier told an event hosted by an Irish think tank. Supporters of Brexit say leaving the EUs single market for goods and services will let Britain strike new trade deals around the world. Most economists say new trade deals are unlikely to make up for the economic hit of erecting barriers with the EU, which accounts for almost half of Britains trade.
In reversal, UK says it will make masks mandatory in shops
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wearing a face mask, talks with CEO London Ambulance Service Garrett Emmerson, right, during a visit to the headquarters of the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust in London, Monday July 13, 2020. (Ben Stansall/Pool via AP)LONDON The British government decided Monday to require people to wear face coverings in shops, joining a long list of countries that have made masks mandatory under some circumstances in response to the coronavirus pandemic. After weeks of prevarication and days of confused messaging, Prime Minister Boris Johnsons government said that masks will be required in stores starting July 24. Many European nations, including Germany, Spain, Italy and Greece, already require masks to be worn in enclosed spaces, but Britain had only made masks obligatory on public transit. Scotland already made masks mandatory in stores.
EU leader wants to inject 'fresh momentum' in Brexit talks
The EU and Britain disagree notably on regulations for businesses and for the fishing industry in particular, with the U.K. adamantly opposed to EU demands for long-term access to British waters. Last week, the EU and the U.K. agreed to intensify their negotiations following another inconclusive round of discussions. The U.K. left the political institutions of the EU on Jan. 31 but remains inside the EUs tariff-free economic zone until the end of the year. European Council President Charles Michel and David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, will attend Monday's meeting alongside von der Leyen. Britains Michael Gove, the minister in charge of Brexit preparations, and David Frost, the U.K chief negotiator, are set to assist Johnson.
UK delays post-Brexit border checks as virus slams economy
The British government said Friday it will delay bringing in full border checks on goods coming from the European Union to relieve pressure on businesses hammered by the coronavirus pandemic. After that, British firms trading with the EU will face customs checks, border inspections and unless there is a free trade deal tariffs. But on Friday the government said border checks would be introduced in stages. The U.K. says it will build new customs and border facilities for all the checks a process that has been set back by the pandemic. Asked about the border checks, Sefcovic said the EU is determined to protect its single market, customs union and financial interests.
Under-fire UK government aide Cummings has Johnson's loyalty
FILE - In this file photo dated Nov. 7, 2019, showing Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside Douglas Ross, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, right in Moray, Scotland. Junior British government minister Douglas Ross has quit Tuesday May 26, 2020, over Prime Minister Boris Johnsons failure to fire his top aide Dominic Cummings for allegedly breaching COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown rules. (Stefan Rousseau / PA via AP)LONDON Dominic Cummings helped Boris Johnson win power by pitting the people against the elite. When Johnson became prime minister in July 2019 after interminable battles over Brexit defeated his predecessor Theresa May, he hired Cummings as his right-hand man. Cummings revealed that while he was up north, his son was rushed to a local hospital by ambulance after becoming sick.
McDonald's new paper straws aren't recyclable. The plastic ones were
Mario Tama/Getty ImagesLONDON - McDonald's has reportedly admitted that its new paper straws, rolled out last year to help "protect the environment," can't be recycled unlike the plastic versions they replaced. The straws were introduced to all 1,361 McDonald's restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland after a trial last year. McDonald's UK and Ireland has not yet responded to CNN's requests for comment. When the firm announced the introduction of paper straws in June 2018, it said the move was "part of wider efforts to protect the environment." The plastic straws previously used could be recycled, but the British government has moved to ban plastic straws by 2020 and encouraged chains to ditch the products.