Why Poland’s Resistance to Second-Class EU Status May Lead to Its Exit From Bloc

Sputnik News – January 17, 2018

The crisis in relations between Poland and the EU seems to have escalated beyond what either side anticipated. On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was forced to emphasize that the bloc was “not at war with Poland,” notwithstanding Brussels deployment of Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which paves the way to sanctions, up to the deprivation of Poland’s voting rights in the European Council, unless Warsaw mends its ways.

According to Prokudin and Ardaev, to Russian observers, the issue is simple: “Warsaw doesn’t want to be an eternal periphery of the EU or any kind of ‘second-class Europe’.” Polish politicians, on the contrary, “intend to teach European bureaucrats about European and Christian values and, possibly, turn their own country into a new center of power.” But for this to happen, Warsaw would have to take the seemingly unlikely step of making friends with their eastern neighbor, Russia.

Last week, EC president Donald Tusk admitted the possibility of Poland may be the next country to leave the EU, saying that the government in Warsaw may push for “freedom from the burden” of continued membership once EU subsidies run out.

EU heads warm to idea of UK cancelling Brexit

DW – January 16, 2018

As European Union negotiators kicked off preparations for the second round of Brexit talks, European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday urged the UK to rethink its divorce from the bloc.

“Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences, in March next year, unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,” Tusk posted on Twitter. “We here on the continent haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you.”

Unless there is a change of heart among our British friends, will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – March next year. We, here on the continent, haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open for you.

Picking up on Tusk’s remarks, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, whose executive arm is negotiating the terms of the UK’s departure, said he hoped Brussels’ wishes would be “heard in London.”


Furious protesters BURN EU flags as chaos hits streets of Bulgaria

Chloe Kerr – January 11, 2018

Protests kicked off in Sofia on the same night as Bulgaria takes over its first Presidency of the European Council from January 2018 until June 2018.

EU commissioners are in the city as Bulgaria begins its presidency – and guests at the opening ceremony of the presidency in Sofia, including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Council head Donald Tusk.

The Sofia Globe reports 11 protests are being held across the city tonight.

Former president Rossen Plevneliev said: “These protests are not a symbol of future political action, but they are telling us something important – the whole political elite has not done its job over the years.”


Is ‘Polexit’ on the cards? Tusk warns Poland may quit EU

DW – January 10, 2018

Donald Tusk, the EU Council president and former prime minister of Poland, warned on Wednesday that Warsaw’s Law and Justice (PiS) government could push the country towards what is already being dubbed in Brussels as “Polexit.”

In an interview in Polish weekly Tygodnik Powszechny, Tusk said that “for PiS the benefit of being in the EU boils down to the balance of payments, with a complete disregard for other benefits like the common market, legal order, guaranteed security, etc.”

He added: “As long as we’re not a net contributor, the game is worth the candle for them. So I can easily imagine a situation where if one day Poland finds itself among the (net) contributors, the Polish government will decide that it’s time to ask Poles if they still want Poland in the EU and then will work hard so that they come to the conclusion that it’s necessary to say goodbye to membership.”

Poland’s nationalist-conservative government has been on a collision course with the EU for around two years, driven mainly by its decision to impose a series of controversial judicial changes that, according to Brussels, threaten to undermine the country’s rule of law and democratic values.


EU leaders formally approve second Brexit phase

DW – December 15, 2017

EU leaders meeting in Brussels said on Friday that the way was clear for the opening of the second phase of Brexit negotiations with the UK.

European Council Donald Tusk announced the agreement on Twitter, at the same time congratulating British Prime Minister Theresa May on having brought the divorce settlement negotiations thus far.

“As for the framework for future relations, it is now time for internal EU 27 preparations and exploratory contacts with the UK to get more clarity on their vision,” Tusk later said, referring to the 27 EU member states that will remain after Britain’s departure.

Friday’s approval gives May a welcome success after she lost a parliamentary vote over giving lawmakers the ultimate say on the final Brexit deal.


Brexiteers are furious at ‘sellout’ Theresa May’s deal with Europe

 – December 8, 2017

This morning (8 December) Fleet Street was abuzz about a deal struck between Theresa May and the EU over the final divorce bill, Irish border and migrant rights – thus paving the way for further talks on Brexit.

A senior British source has revealed the UK will pay a financial settlement estimated at £35-£39 billion (40-45 billion euro) as it leaves the EU.

Ireland’s border with the UK had become a major sticking point in negotiations and a previous agreement was scuppered by unionists in Northern Ireland, who were opposed to any move that would see it economically separated from the rest of the country.

The DUP has now cautiously welcomed Whitehall’s assurances that the province would not remain in the single market when the UK leaves the EU in 2019, but says there is “more work to be done” on the matter.

Despite the positive signs from most commentators, Pro-Brexit figures have been growing increasingly angry about details, which seem to suggest that the UK could headed for a soft Brexit.


DUP scuppers Theresa May’s Brexit deal in fury over Irish border agreement

 – December 4, 2017

Nationalist leaders from across the United Kingdom have voiced their concerns over a possible deal that could see Northern Ireland continue under EU trade laws and regulations.

In a bid to maintain the peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic, leaked reports have suggested that there would be no divergence in law across the island of Ireland, even after Brexit.

But leaders from the devolved regions have all raised concerns with the plans.

In Brussels, Theresa May was forced to exit talks without a signed deal.

Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that there was no deal reached but that it was still possible by the end of the week.


Brexit: EU and UK ‘close to financial agreement’

DW – November 29, 2017

The EU and the UK are close to agreement on the final Brexit ‘divorce bill’ — the share of EU liabilities the UK will pay upon leaving the bloc — according to several reports in the British media reported late on Tuesday.

The BBC, the Financial Times, the Guardian and several other British newspapers and media outlets are reporting that following a UK government cabinet meeting last week, the British significantly upped their offer to Brussels, coming much closer than they previously had to the EU’s estimate of the UK’s financial obligations.

According to several EU diplomats and officials, intense negotiations have led to the UK broadly agreeing to the terms of a financial settlement that could see the country paying a net amount of at least €50 billion ($59 billion) over a period of several years after it leaves the EU in March 2019.

When asked on Wednesday about the reports, the EU’s chief negotiator on Brexit Michel Barnier said: “We are working really, really hard on these subjects. I hope that I can report that we have been able to negotiate a deal.”


EU in Crisis as Merkel Government Crumbles in Germany

TruNews – November 20, 2017

Germany, the most financially stable of the European countries, is in its worst political crisis in decades as Chancellor Angela Merkel failed over the weekend to forge a majority coalition to govern the country.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union relied heavily upon its alliance with the Christian Social Union of Bavaria and the Social Democratic Party to maintain a majority government coalition in he Bundestag, the lower house of the German federal legislature. That alliance has fallen apart due to disagreements over a number of key issues, including immigration, “climate change,” and how to reform the European Union in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote.

Unable to come to a consensus agreement to forge a majority government coalition with its traditional allies, Merkel’s Unionists turned to the right-wing Alternative for Germany, the libertarian Free Democratic Party, and the uber-environmentalist Greens to see if an alliance could be forged with former opponents. Over the weekend, those negotiations fell apart along the same lines as the negotiations with the SPD.


Brexit: UK Parliament to vote on final deal

DW – November 13, 2017

Brexit minister David Davis has said UK lawmakers will have the chance to vote on Britain’s final exit deal from the EU. Despite the concession, Davis stressed that the UK will leave the EU “whatever the outcome.”

Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis confirmed on Monday that parliament will be allowed to “debate, scrutinize and vote” on any final agreement on the country’s departure from the European Union.

“I can now confirm that once we’ve reached an agreement we will bring forward a specific piece of primary legislation to implement that (Brexit) agreement,” Davis told parliament. Primary legislation refers to making law by acts of parliament or statute.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has long been under pressure to offer a “meaningful vote” on whatever deal the UK reaches with EU negotiators, as lawmakers within her own Conservative party, as well as in the opposition Labor party, threaten to stymie any future agreement.