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.
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”.
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.
DW – March 29, 2018
British Prime Minister Theresa May has called for national unity, exactly a year ahead of Britain leaving the EU. May was speaking during a whistle-stop tour that took in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Prime Minister Theresa May urged British people to get behind Brexit on Thursday, claiming that the departure of Britain from the European Union presented “opportunities for the future.”
The prime minister was speaking on a rapid tour encompassing England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
“Brexit provides us with opportunities,” May said while visiting a weaving firm in southwestern Scotland. “I want to see us coming together, the four nations across the United Kingdom.
“It is in our interests to come together and really seize these opportunities for the future,” she said.
Michael Buholzer – March 24, 2018
The latest trend among European countries of bringing home their gold reserves has been raising concerns in Brussels. RT talked to Claudio Grass of Precious Metal Advisory Switzerland to understand what’s behind that trend.
According to Grass, the process means disintegration, which usually comes with instability, unrest, more government intervention and control.
“The central banks started the repatriation already a few years ago, meaning before we had Brexit, Catalonia, Trump, AFD or the rising tensions between the Politburo in Brussels and the nations of Eastern Europe,” he said.
Grass explained that these are all symptoms that are evident today and “therefore the central banks might have seen this coming long before the public realized it.”
He said it is fair to say that the world is moving away from a centralized system.
DW – March 18, 2018
The UK must consider delaying the country’s departure from the EU in the event that key issues are not resolved, said the House of Commons’ Exiting the European Union Committee in a report published Sunday.
“If substantial aspects of the future partnership remain to be agreed in October 2018, the government should seek a limited extension to the Article 50 time,” said the committee, which contains lawmakers from all parties represented in parliament.
Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn, who chairs the committee, said the British government has yet to provide concrete solutions to major issues, including the Irish border. London and Brussels have agreed that Brexit should not undermine the island’s peace by erecting a hard border.
“The government must now come forward with credible, detailed proposals as to how it can operate a ‘frictionless border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,” said Benn.
Jack Montgomery – March 10, 2018
The EU’s hostile front against the UK in the ongoing Brexit talks faces collapse, as the populists who routed the establishment in the Italian elections insist the bloc must back down and offer a generous and constructive deal.
“Great Britain is a friendly country with a long tradition of trading with Italy,” said Matteo Salvini, the populist firebrand who is in line to become prime minister, after his Lega party proved the most popular of the parties making up the centre-right coalition which took first place in the Italian elections.
“You made a free choice with Brexit and I very much hope that it will be possible to maintain completely open trade with the EU without any penalties,” he told The Telegraph.
Lega’s economics chief, Claudio Borghi, confirmed a Salvini-led government would refuse to go along with the current intransigent strategy, which he believes will damage European economies in the service of German interests.
“There will be no blind trust in what Germany wants,” he declared.
Chris Tomlinson – March 1, 2018
The Italian national election has the potential to send a wave through Europe not seen since the Brexit vote in 2016. The migration crisis, which has flooded Italy with hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, along with EU rules preventing bank bailouts and soaring migrant crime and unemployment, has fueled the growth of populism and the collapse of the political establishment.
There are three main contenders in Sunday’s election. Two of them belong, at least in part, to anti-establishment populist movements while the other, the currently-ruling centre-left alliance is struggling in polls.
The centre-right coalition consists of the conservative Forza Italia led by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the populist Lega party (formerly Lega Nord) led by Matteo Salvini, and two smaller parties embracing national conservatism and Christian democracy.
DW – February 28, 2018
On Tuesday, as Britain debates how to best incorporate EU law into national legislation once it exits the bloc, the governments of Scotland and Wales announced that they would introduce their own laws to prevent London from weakening their autonomy as a result of Brexit.
In the coming days, laws aimed at strengthening regional powers — including in the agriculture and fishery sectors, which are currently governed by EU frameworks — will be debated by the devolved parliaments in Edinburgh and Cardiff.
The Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh governments are concerned that the London parliament, which legislates on behalf of the whole of the UK, will seek to pass laws unilaterally that incorporate EU treaties into British national law, denying the three countries a say on key regional policies.
The three nations have been negotiating with London over exactly how the EU powers will be returned, but have reached a stumbling block.
Jordan Bhatt – February 22, 2018
Theresa May has brought her cabinet ministers together at her country residence of Chequers in the hope of bridging some of the divisions that remain over Brexit.
Ministers have been at loggerheads over the direction that the UK should be moving, with pro-Brexit MPs calling for a clean break, while pro-remain minsters are calling for a softer and less harsh departure from the EU.
As well as her own ministers, the PM needs to convince EU leaders that the UK has a clear direction and vision that it wants from Brexit.
Before the UK officially leaves the EU, a transition period will take place, currently billed as from March 2019 to December 2020.
Ministers have so far failed to agree on how the UK should proceed during this near two-year period with debate over new rules and ongoing EU policies.