It comes as Dutch voters deliver their verdict on the country’s coronavirus response in the first of three days of voting in a snap election, weeks after a curfew prompted three nights of rioting across major cities.
The Netherlands is the fifth country to pause its roll-out, following Ireland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway. Italy and Austria stopped using one particular batch of the jab.
Below are the responses in full from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to questions posed by Irish Times Europe Correspondent Naomi O’Leary.
A government source said the Taoiseach had not been given any advance warning of the EU decision to invoke the article in the protocol.
The source said the article may have been inadvertently triggered by “someone who did not understand the political implications” of the decision.
Some EU officials are understood to be livid about the move, which they see as ruining the work they’ve done since the Brexit vote in 2016.
In a steep escalation of the EU’s fight to secure vaccine supplies, Brussels had said it would trigger clauses in the Northern Irish Protocol in the EU-UK withdrawal agreement to control shots moving across the open Border between the State and the North. It said this plan aimed to prevent the movement of vaccines onwards into the rest of the UK via a Northern Ireland “backdoor”, while preserving the capacity to allow shipments into the North.
It comes after the bloc invoked part of the Northern Ireland Protocol in an attempt to stop vaccines made in the EU from getting into the UK through the back door.
The protocol, which is part of the Brexit deal, allows goods from the EU to be exported to Northern Ireland without checks.
However the EU triggered Article 16 of the protocol tonight to slap temporary export controls on vaccines sent to Northern Ireland.
The Taoiseach made clear he was assured by Downing Street that they are committed to implementing the protocol and not undermining the Good Friday Agreement.
A new Taoiseach was elected on Saturday and a range of new Ministers were appointed. Here’s all you need to know about them:
Varadkar submitted his resignation to Michael D Higgins, the president of Ireland, on Thursday night after a tempestuous but inconclusive sitting of Dáil Éireann, which met for the first time since the 8 February election. It adjourned until 5 March, giving party leaders three weeks to try to form a ruling coalition.
Boris has finally presented his detailed proposals to abolish the Backstop in a letter to the EU. The ERG and DUP are behind the proposals, now over to Varadkar…
Read the proposals in full below…
They discussed their two countries’ close working relationship and the Vice President’s visit to Ireland this week, with the Prime Minister reaffirming the UK’s commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Trump and his wife Melania landed shortly before 4.45pm. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister of State Pat Breen, who is a local TD, and Shannon Group chairwoman Rose Hynes were among those waiting close to the runway to greet the couple.
Composed of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden, the group, dubbed the New Hanseatic League, is starting to have some influence.
The United Kingdom and Ireland signed a deal on Wednesday that ensures their citizens will retain the right to live and work in each other’s countries after Britain leaves the European Union.
So this was a message to some Brexiteers: if the Irish government is not happy, we will block a trade deal.
A US deal is perhaps the ultimate prize for the free-trading, ‚Global Britain‘ branch of the Brexit movement.
It would demonstrate that Brexit was worthwhile, that it allowed the UK to land big deals as an independent trading nation.
I don’t need an academic study to tell me Brexit threatens all that. As someone who physically embodies the binding blood and cultural ties between Britain and Ireland, I’m regularly attacked in the Irish media for having voted to leave.
Speaking alongside the chancellor, Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said he knew of only three ways to prevent a hard border from re-emerging: Britain staying in the EU, it adopting a soft Norway-plus Brexit or ratifying the withdrawal agreement.
Asked whether she thought a hard border could be avoided, Ms Merkel said: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.
Sky News was mistakenly accurate today when it described Leo Varadkar as ‘Angela Merkel’s Prime Minister’. A handy reminder of where EU power really lies…
The German chancellor is to hold talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Thursday and demand a plan to protect Ireland’s border should the U.K. crash out of the bloc without a deal, which could come as soon as April 12. The EU now sees this as a serious possibility and is focusing almost all of its work on how to contain the consequences, EU officials said.
Ed Horgan, coordinator of Irish Veterans For Peace, said, „This process is a clear attempt to punish the two VFP activists before any trial takes place. We are calling on all peace and human rights activists in Ireland and internationally to campaign not only on behalf of Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, but, more important, on behalf of all the innocent people being killed and injured by US illegal wars.“
The government also announced that in the event of a no-deal it would remove all border checks between Ireland and Northern Ireland except a „small number of measures strictly to comply with international obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland business.“
The UK Government has admitted that, at least for a temporary period, a No Deal Brexit can be managed with no new checks on the Northern Ireland border. So much for the horror stories of checkpoints and guard dogs…
What did Britons vote for in 2016? Did they vote to leave the EU? Or did they vote to ask for permission to leave the EU? Obviously the former. If you have the right to negotiate for your sovereignty, you’re sovereign. If you can’t walk away from the negotiating table, you’re not. When the two parties sat down at the table, Britain had already exited the EU. This is an appropriate place to negotiate the best relations possible with allies and partners. But at the end of the day, all sovereignty is no-deal sovereignty. Britain has it. It is now debating whether to surrender it.
(26.1.2019) This could end in Taoiseach Leo Varadkar facing the ultimate call on Brexit: give some ground on the backstop or face a no-deal Brexit with all the economic and political disruption this would bring.
We are not there yet, and events could move in another direction.But this week has illustrated starkly just what is at stake.
(26.1.2019) Jean-Claude Juncker has told Theresa May in a private phone call that shifting her red lines in favour of a permanent customs union is the price she will need to pay for the EU revising the Irish backstop.
Without a major shift in the prime minister’s position, the European commission president told May that the current terms of the withdrawal agreement were non-negotiable.
Theresa May has been warned by the Irish government that there is no chance of the backstop being changed or removed from the withdrawal agreement.
Ireland’s foreign minister dealt another Brexit blow to Theresa May today as he insisted the backstop “isn’t going to change” and that it is “already a compromise.”
Mrs May sought to gain backing from MPs on her controversial Brexit deal by telling them last week that she would go back to the EU to seek changes to the backstop which is designed to prevent a hard border in Ireland.
The whole reason for the backstop being in the Withdrawal Agreement that sets out the terms of the UK’s divorce from the EU is that the Republic’s border with Northern Ireland would, after Brexit, be the external border of the EU’s single market – and therefore has to be governed by a treaty between the UK and EU, and not one between the UK and the ROI.
An official from an EU capital also questioned whether the Republic could possibly accept „a bilateralisation that would deprive it of the clout of the EU“.
The plan, it is reported, is to “amend” the 1998 Good Friday Agreement in order make a new joint Anglo-Irish commitment that there will be no return to a hard border in Ireland and no infrastructure on that border in any eventuality.
It is argued that this, coupled with some new EU concessions time-limiting the backstop, will be enough get a decent slice of the 118 Tory and 10 DUP on board.
(15.11.2018) However, imports from Great Britain for the first nine months of this year were 4% higher than for the same timeframe last year, reaching €13.1 billion.
The architect of Brexit argued a free trade deal with the bloc would have avoided a hard border as Northern Ireland already operated on a different currency and tax system than its neighbour in the south.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Farage said: „This is the greatest hoax I have seen in modern history.
„If you had a free trade deal, you have no tariff. There’s no need for checks of any kind to be on goods going north and south of the border. The whole thing is nonsense.
„It is a failure to deliver on Brexit and it is potentially dividing up the United Kingdom.
„We will have to get permission from the EU to leave the customs union. It is eccentric, it is bizarre.“
Mr Rees-Mogg also criticised the fact that the terms of the deal were leaked to the Irish state media instead of British media.
He remarked: „The text was shared with the Irish broadcaster first and not the BBC.
A government source conceded that an outline deal might not be ready by Tuesday – making it increasingly unlikely that a special EU summit to sign it off can be held in November, as hoped.
BORIS Johnson has urged Theresa May’s Cabinet to stage a mutiny to thwart her Brexit plans.
He said the PM is “on the verge of total surrender” and ready to make Britain “the punk of Brussels”.
Speaking at Dublin Castle this evening, Mr Higgins made the presidential declaration as he was sworn in for another seven years.
(28.6.2010) Rather than being rewarded for its actions, though, Ireland is being penalized. Its downturn has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more to keep people working. Lacking stimulus money, the Irish economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession.
Joblessness in this country of 4.5 million is above 13 percent, and the ranks of the long-term unemployed — those out of work for a year or more — have more than doubled, to 5.3 percent.
Now, the Irish are being warned of more pain to come.
Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission who was confirmed in the job for another five years at the summit, said: „I’m especially pleased that we have agreed the Irish guarantees. This gives the Irish people all the guarantees they need.
„It gives me all confidence we’ll get a ‚yes‘ vote at the Irish referendum.“
The 499-kilometre border running from Carlingford Lough to Lough Foyle will become the only land border between the UK and the European Union after Brexit. The 1998 Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement) brought peace to Northern Ireland and removed the need for checks along the Border. It also established North-South regulations and institutions that helped support the peace process. The Border is currently invisible and neither side wants the return of infrastructure or the creation of a hard border.