Brexit LIVE: Crunch trade talks could be CANCELLED as EU flags ‘health concerns’

Speaking at the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee this morning, Mr Gove admitted negotiations could now be delayed following “indications” from the EU.  Earlier today, experts have warned Brexit could prevent Britain from getting its hands on a coronavirus vaccine quickly and cheaply. A vaccine against the potential deadly flu-like virus is not expected to be available for more than a year by which time the UK could be outside the authority of the EU’s medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

And pharmaceutical firms are more likely to prioritise the EU market rather than submitting their drug to the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency first.

Olivier Wouters, assistant professor of health policy at the London School of Economics, told “The European Medicines Agency is representing a patient pool of 500 million-odd patients.

“That seems like a more lucrative market for a drug company or a vaccine maker to prioritise.”

The EMA has an emergency procedure for the fast-track approval of a new vaccine in the event of a pandemic with authorisation given in 70 days instead of the usual 210 days.

Mr Wouters said a British plea for special access to this system was “theoretically possible” but doubted it would be successful.

He said: “I’m not sure that the European counterparts would accept the UK authorities cherry-picking where they want to be part of European legislation and take part in European initiatives.”


11.40am update: Brexit talks could be postponed 

The next round of talks are scheduled to take place later this month, but following “indications today” from the EU Michael Gove warned Brexit talks could be delayed. 

Mr Gove said:We were looking forward to the joint committee meeting in the UK on the 30th of this month and, obviously, the next stage.

10.40am update: UK to leave European aviation safety regulator

The UK will leave the European Aviation Safety Agency following the end of the Brexit transition period. 

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps confirmed the move today. 

The agency is responsible for certifying the airworthiness of planes but will now be replaced by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority who will “bring expertise home”. 

10.20am update: Lisa Nandy calls for Brexit transition

Lisa Nandy has called for the Brexit transition period to be extended due to the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Branding the matter “a public health disaster waiting to happen”, Ms Nandy said British businesses could not cope with increased uncertainty in a column for The Guardian. 

She said: “British companies who trade with the EU do not know what terms they’ll be trading on in 10 months’ time. Add to this the failing demand and disruption caused by coronavirus and it is reasonable to expect many businesses will not survive. 

“Coronavirus is a threat to the global economy as well as to public health. Every family will be affected and those who have less will feel it the most. In a globally connected world, we are only as strong as the most vulnerable.”

9.21am update: Sterling falls against Euro 

The fall comes after the Bank of England cut interests rates by 50 points to 0.25 percent. 

This is its first emergency move since the financial crisis. 

Jane Foley a senior currency strategist at Rabobank said: “We saw an immediate reaction

“The 50 basis point move was on the aggressive side of expectations and it was a bit of a surprise that they went before the budget.”

Additional reporting by Simon Osborne. 

8.28am update: EU slammed over response to Italy coronavirus crisis

Italy has lashed out at the EU for failing to step up to the plate over coronavirus.

The country has been the hardest hit outside China with 10,149 cases and 631 deaths.

Its ambassador to EU Maurizio Massari said Italy had asked to activate the EU Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection and but not a single member state responded to the call.

Mr Massari said: “We are facing exactly the type of emergency in which a “Europe that protects” must show it can deliver.

“Unless we wake up immediately, we run the risk of going down in history like the leaders in 1914 who sleepwalked into World War I.

“The virus will pass, but any rotten seeds of complacency or selfishness will stay.

“The coronavirus crisis is a test of the EU’s cohesiveness and credibility — one that can only be passed through genuine, concrete solidarity.

“Europe must act according to the principle of mutual defense and help those members whose security is under threat.

“If we are courageous and united, we will win. If we are selfish and divided, we will lose.”

7.30am update: Sunak lines up cash for post-Brexit export boost

The Chancellor is preparing to boost post-Brexit exports for UK businesses by making £5 billion of loans available in today’s Budget.

Rishi Sunak is set to hand over £5 billion to UK Export Finance (Ukef), the Government’s export credit agency that provides loans to overseas buyers of British goods and services.

The Treasury said the money would help UK exporters to increase their global sales as Britain prepares for life outside the European Union, with the Chancellor helping to top up the purchasing power of those abroad by providing a competitive loan rate through Ukef.

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