Category Archives: Brexit

MEPs wish Brexit deadline to shift

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged by a group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to delay the agreed Brexit deadline taking into consideration the difficulties the coronavirus pandemic caused.

The European Parliament’s largest group of European People’s Party MEPs said the pandemic puts pressure on the chance of securing a trade deal by the planned date.

The British Prime Minister spokesman reacted, indicating that there were no plans to adjust the timetable.

It comes as EU and UK representatives met to discuss implementing the Brexit withdrawal agreement over video.

Under the agreement, the UK enters a transition period where it will continue to follow EU rules until 31 December 2020, by which time both sides say they hope to have agreed a trade deal.

Boris Johnson COVID19 positive

British Prime Minister Johnson said he has developed mild COVID-19 symptoms during 24 hours, including a temperature and cough.

Prime Minister explained he will now self-isolate in No 10 but will “continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus”.

Boris Johnson was last seen on 26 March at night, as he clapped outside No 10 as part of a nationwide gesture to thank NHS staff.

In a video on his Twitter account, Mr Johnson said: “I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.
“But, be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.

“I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing NHS staff.”

He was tested at No 10 by NHS staff, on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, Downing Street said.
Prime Minister will still be in charge of the government’s handling of the crisis, the statement added.

COVID2019: Barnier diagnosed positive

Today Michel Barnier the EU top Brexit negociator announced he his diagnosed COVID19 positive, he left a message on his Twitter microblog in English, wishing well all who is struggling with novel virus.(Image: archive).

Barnier also made a video in his native French language, explainging that for the moment he feels fine, and follows all the medical insturctions.

The president of the EU Council Charles Michel among many others wished well to the negociator, expressing his friendship and promising to do his absolute best to defeat the spread of coronavirus panepidemic.

EU-UK «ambitious partnership »

Michel Barnier (pictured) , the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, sets out points of convergence and divergence following the first round of negotiations. Here is the translation from original in French:

“This new negotiation aims to build – or rebuild – an ambitious partnership, after Brexit, with this great friendly and ally country that is the United Kingdom.

We must rebuild everything, on new legal bases.

So we started this work in a serious and constructive way:

       with David Frost, who leads negotiations on the British side;

       and with the two negotiating teams.

These teams, exceptional by their size and their competence, are made up of experts representing:

       on the British side, the various ministries and departments concerned, and

       on the Union side, 22 Directorates General of the European Commission, the External Action Service, and the General Secretariat of the Council.

I would like to sincerely thank all of these people for their work, their professionalism and, above all, for the cordial and constructive spirit they have shown over the past few days.

And I would like to personally thank President Ursula von der Leyen and her cabinet for the trust and support they have shown me”.

EU-UK negotiation mandate adopted

The Council adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a new partnership with the UK and formally nominating the Commission as the EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.

The first formal meeting between the EU and UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EU ministers also discussed the next steps in the EU-UK relationship.

The Council adopted a decision giving the go-ahead to open negotiations on a new partnership with the UK. The Council also nominated the Commission as EU negotiator and adopted the negotiating directives which set the scope of the future partnership. This mandate covers areas such as trade, fisheries, foreign policy, security and defence, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

As a next step, the Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions.

The Council has adopted a clear and strong mandate for our negotiator, Michel Barnier. This confirms our readiness to offer an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced partnership to the UK for the benefit of both sides. The EU is now ready to start negotiations” said
Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs.

Johnson’s post-Brexit vision

The European Union and Britain started arugment over a post-Brexit trade deal on February 3, setting out very different visions of a future relationship that could result in the most distant of ties, and even the departue without a deal.

Boris Johnson has set out his vision for a trade deal with the EU, saying there is “no need” for the UK to follow Brussels’ rules, underlining that in many areas British standards are higher and practices more advanced than the ones on the continent.
The PM expressed his clear preference for a Canada-style free trade deal, saying the UK would return to the Withdrawal Agreement if such a deal was not reached.

Almost three days since Britain officially left the EU, both sides presented their aims, with the question of whether the UK will sign up to EU rules to ensure frictionless trade shaping up to be the defining argument of the negotiations.

We have often been told that we must choose between full access to the EU market, along with accepting its rules and courts on the Norway model, or an ambitious free trade agreement, which opens up markets and avoids the full panoply of EU regulation, on the example of Canada“, the Boris Johnson said in his speech in Greenwich, London.

We have made our choice – we want a free trade agreement, similar to Canada’s but in the very unlikely event that we do not succeed, then our trade will have to be based on our existing Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
The choice is emphatically not ‘deal or no deal’. The question is whether we agree a trading relationship with the EU comparable to Canada’s – or more like Australia’s. In either case, I have no doubt that Britain will prosper mightily.”
PM rejected the requirement for the UK to adopt Brussels-made rules “on competition policy, subsidies, social protection, the environment, or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules”.

In any negotiations, both sides will do what is best for them.
The EU will protect the interests of our citizens and of the European companies.
We know time is short and the road is long, so we kick off the negotiations today”
the EU top executive Ursula von der Leyen said, indicating to the approach of the bloc.

Gibraltar considers joining Schengen

Gibraltar is considering to joint the Schengen free movement area in a gesture of guranteeing the fluidity on its border with Spain after the UK left the European Union, the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said.

Picardo remarks, made in an interview with AFP came just two weeks before Britain and Gibraltar formerly leave the bloc and enter into an 11-month period of intense negotiations to shape the future the UK-EU relationship.

“We talked about this issue before Brexit… about Gibraltar becoming part of the Schengen zone,” Picardo said.

The British enclave at the soutern point of Iberian peninsula, Gibraltar modus operandi counts on 28,000 crossings daily, and preserving it will be one of the central elements to talks when the transition period begins on February 1.

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