World Northern Irish Brexit issue is two-way street, says EU's Sefcovic
Former Brexit negotiator Frost promoted to PM Johnson's cabinet
Former Brexit negotiator Frost promoted to PM Johnson's cabinetDavid Frost served as Johnson's chief Brexit negotiator, both for the initial deal which took Britain out of the EU on January 31 2020 and for negotiations on a trade deal, which replaced a transition period at the end of the year.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain must show it is fully using the avenues available under the Brexit divorce deal to minimise trade disruption in Northern Ireland before seeking concessions, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.
Britain's exit from the EU's trading orbit in January has created trade barriers between Northern Ireland - which remains in the EU's single market for goods - and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Maros Sefcovic, a vice president of the European Commission, said he hoped to learn of British efforts during an online meeting on Wednesday .
Ireland defeat Italy as hosts suffer 30th successive Six Nations loss
Ireland got their first Six Nations win this campaign with a 48-10 victory over Italy as the hosts fell to their 30th consecutive defeat in the tournament. Tries from Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan and Will Connors lifted the Irish 27-10 at half-time. And CJ Stander, Connors, Keith Earls added three more after the break for a bonus-point win for the Irish who had lost their opening two games against France and Wales. Captain Johnny Sexton marked his return with 18 points on the day in the Stadio Olimpico."Thankfully we got victory we were desperate for," said Sexton."Proud of the way we stick together and very happy to come to a tough place like this and win in such a manner.
"I was also reminding my British partners that this must be a two-way street," he told a news conference.
Sefcovic said real-time access to the IT systems of customs could smooth customs processes and a trusted trader scheme could ensure Northern Irish supermarkets were properly supplied.
"I hope that tomorrow... we will get feedback from our UK partners on how all these flexibilities and grace periods are being used because it's clearly a pre-requisite for the EU, the Commission and the member states to assess any further requests," Sefcovic said.
The EU's insistence on Britain honouring its withdrawal treaty has left the British province of Northern Ireland within the EU's single market and put a customs border in the Irish Sea dividing the province from mainland Britain.
Sefcovic said that there were inevitable consequences of Brexit so not everything could be resolved.
Members of Northern Ireland's two largest pro-British parties have said they are set take part in legal action challenging part of Britain's divorce deal.
However, Sefcovic said companies there might over time see the divorce arrangements as an advantage.
"Being in the single market and at the same time the internal market of the UK is actually a great business opportunity. And I hope that our joint work will amplify this possibility," he said.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Mark Potter)
UK's chief mouser celebrates 10 years on the prowl .
LONDON (AP) — Larry the cat, a four-legged inhabitant of London’s 10 Downing St., is marking a decade as Britain’s mouse-catcher in chief on Monday. The tabby cat was recruited by then-Prime Minister David Cameron to deal with a pack of rats seen scuttling close to the British leader’s official residence, and entered Downing Street on Feb. 15, 2011. The former stray, adopted from London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, was given the title Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, an unofficial pest control post. He was the first cat to hold the rat-catching portfolio since the retirement of Humphrey in 1997, and has loyally served three prime ministers.