Crunch Time for UK PM May as She Seeks Unity on Brexit Plan

Newsmax – July 6, 2918

British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing resistance from hard-core Brexit backers in her Conservative government as she gathers her fractious Cabinet to hammer out a plan for future trade with the European Union.

The 30-strong Cabinet is being sequestered Friday inside the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat — without their phones — to discuss a compromise plan that May hopes will unite the government, and be accepted by the bloc.

It’s a tall order.

With just nine months to go until the U.K. leaves the bloc, May says the government has “a great opportunity — and a duty” to agree on a plan.

But pro-Brexit ministers including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have doubts about her proposal, which would see Britain stick closely to EU rules for trade in goods.

Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War – June 26, 2018

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Germany is participating in a new European military formation that was launched yesterday. Originally a French proposal, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) will be open to EU and Non-EU member countries to join. Expanding the existing EU military cooperation (“PESCO”) with a new operational component, the EII should facilitate rapid decisions on joint military interventions. A first meeting of military commanders from the hitherto nine participant states is set for September. The EII includes Great Britain, which plans to continue its military cooperation with the continent, even after Brexit, as well as Denmark. Since the coordination of military interventions is now officially set outside of the EU framework, Denmark can sidestep the opt-out from EU military policy, it had once granted its population. Referred to by experts as a European “coalition of the willing,” it goes hand in hand with the EU Commission’s militarization plans worth billions and the high-cost German-French arms projects.

MPs vote down House of Lords’ Brexit amendment in crucial EU withdrawal bill vote

RT – July 12, 2018

MPs have voted down the House of Lords amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which, if it had passed, would have given parliament the final say over Brexit negotiations.

This is essentially a win for Brexiteers who feared the change could be used to halt Brexit entirely.

Earlier on Tuesday Brexit Minister David Davis issued a warning to parliament over the possibility of rejecting the government’s compromise on the “meaningful vote” and backing the House of Lords amendment.

“What it actually amounts to is an unconstitutional shift which risks undermining our negotiation with the European Union,” he said. “The government cannot demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful deal if its hands are tied midway through that process.”

In a tense afternoon in parliament, Remain MPs said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of the Daily Express newspaper, which ran a headline saying: “Ignore the will of the people at your peril”.

Zimbabwe applies to rejoin the British Commonwealth

DW – May 21, 2018

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially applied for his country to re-join the Commonwealth almost 15 years after it left, the group said on Monday.

Announcing the application in a statement posted on Twitter, the Commonwealth said Mnangagwa made the application in a letter sent on May 15.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said in a statement that the member states “very much look forward to Zimbabwe’s return when the conditions are right.”

“Zimbabwe’s eventual return to the Commonwealth, following a successful membership application, would be a momentous occasion, given our shared rich history,” Scotland said.

EU on brink: Italy’s new populist government puts Rome on COLLISION course with Brussels

Alice Scarsi – May 18, 2018

EUROPE is holding its breath as Italian populist parties Lega and Five Star Movement reach the terms of a coalition deal set to put Italy on a collision course with the EU in a confrontational move defying the bloc’s financial plans.

The leaders of the two parties have signed a “contract” calling for reforms that would defy the EU’s financial policy.

Despite party leaders Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini momentarily dropping plans to hold a referendum on the Euro and other radical proposals, they now seem ready to confront the EU to bring forward expensive reforms.

The document, which is setting the basis for the next five years of government, calls for a review of EU governance and fiscal rules.

These moves will be a political challenge even bigger than Brexit for the EU, as it is posed by the third-largest economy in the eurozone and a historically pro-European state member.

Young Europeans believe in the EU, fear Donald Trump

DW – May 3, 2018

Given the chance, young Europeans would vote no to a Brexit, Frexit, Grexit or Polexit. They believe in democracy but not in their political institutions. And they see Donald Trump as a threat, a new study shows.

New research indicates that young people in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain are, by varying degrees, not inclined to embrace populist positions, nor would they support their country leaving the bloc if they had a chance to vote on it, the Youth Europe 2018 study, carried out by YouGov on behalf of the TUI Foundation, found.

Asked to vote on whether their country should leave the European Union, 71 percent of young Europeans said “no,” an increase over last year when 61 percent said they would opt to remain. Their attitudes definitely have to do with the effect of Brexit, says Marcus Spittler, a research fellow focused on populism, youth and democracy at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and a consultant on the study.

EU in Disarray as Brussels Demands Bigger Budget Contributions After Brexit

Jack Montgomery – May 3, 2018

The EU is in disarray as member-states push back against its next long-term budget, which will require significantly higher payments once Britain leaves.

Typically, the EU budget does not rise through above limits “equivalent to 1 per cent of the EU’s Gross National Income”, according to The Telegraph — but Brussels is attempting to appropriate funds equivalent to 1.08 per cent of GNI — a 9.3 per cent increase — despite the bloc losing its second-biggest net contributor.

“The European Commission just presented an EU Budget the size of 28 member-states but we are only 27 member-states to finance it,” complained Lars Rasmussen, the Prime Minister of Denmark.

“A smaller EU as a result of Brexit should also mean a smaller budget,” added Mark Rutte, Prime minister of the Netherlands earlier, insisting “this proposal is not an acceptable outcome”.

EU ‘systematically & forensically annihilates’ May’s Irish border plans

RT – April 20, 2018

The EU has comprehensively rejected UK proposals for a new customs relationship that sought to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, plans that suffered a “systematic and forensic annihilation,” says a senior EU diplomat.
The EU source, who was privy to Wednesday’s meeting in Brussels between Britain’s lead negotiator Olly Robbins and senior EU officials, reportedly told The Telegraph: “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”

The latest revelations to emerge from the EU negotiations could risk creating parliamentary instability for British Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons. It may strengthen the case put forward by staunch remain MPs that staying in the EU Customs Union is the only option, and possibly harden the devoted Brexiteers’ view that moving on to WTO arrangements is the only alternative.

The UK PM has consistently reiterated that she will not allow the return of a hard border to Northern Ireland, but at the same she has also promised to leave the EU Customs Union – believing that remaining would be seen as a “betrayal” of Brexit.

Commonwealth leaders to discuss next Head of State this week, UK government confirms

Andrew Woodcock – April 17, 2018

A DECISION on whether the Prince of Wales should succeed his mother as head of the Commonwealth is expected later this week, the UK government said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman on Monday declined to say whether she thought the position should go to Prince Charles, stressing that it was a decision for all leaders of Commonwealth states.

He told a regular Westminster media briefing that the issue was expected to be discussed when leaders of the 53 Commonwealth governments gather for a retreat at Windsor Castle on Friday.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that Charles should not automatically take over from the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, suggesting the holder of the post could be decided on a rotational basis.

And Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted that the decision was “a matter for the 53”.

‘Orbanization’ of Europe? Western media alarmed over Hungary PM’s decisive victory

RT – April 9, 2018

Not everyone in the West is happy about Viktor Orban’s victory, in which he secured a third straight term as Hungarian prime minister. Some Western media call the result a serious warning and a problem for the EU and its values.

Orban’s Fidesz party, with its strong anti-immigration agenda, won a large majority – 133 of the 199 seats in parliament – as it gained over 66.8 percent of the votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election. It is the Hungarian Euroskeptic’s third consecutive term and fourth overall, but these elections gained much attention in the wake of rising right-wing sentiments in Europe.

Some politicians welcomed the results, including Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, as well as Christian Social Union (CSU) member Manfred Weber. However, the latter’s support for Orban was lambasted by Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas, who called Orban an “anti-Semitic, racist demagogue and an authoritarian… destroying” Hungarian democracy.

One of the EU member states, Luxembourg, also took a rather aggressive stance and called for its allies in the bloc, namely Germany and France, to stand against the elected Hungarian prime minister. Luxembourg’s foreign minister warned that Hungary may even trigger a trend of “undermining values and scaremongering” across the EU.