Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the Memorandum of understanding his government has scheduled to sign for China‘s Belt and Road Initiative during Chinese President Xi Jinping visit this week is risk free. The initiative is a huge infrastructure plan that aiming at construction of a modern Silk Road to connect China with Europe and Africa.
“The attention to economic and trade terms is totally legitimate,” Conte told the Parliament as he reported to the lawmakers ahead of this week’s EU Summit in Brussels. “And it is justified precisely because of our national interests. We can boost our exports to a market of an enormous size”, Prime Minister explained.
“The content of the memorandum, which was negotiated for months with China involving all the interested administrations, does not feature any risk for our national interest and is fully in line with the EU‘s strategy”, Conte ensured.
The president of the European Council Donald Tusk made an appeal for long term extension of Article 50 “if necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”.
Meanwhile the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) insist that any extension should have a clear reason behind it, because the prolongation of the situation might ‘hijack’ the European elections. It also exports the political crisis in Westminster to Brussels, blocking various, crucial for Europe, developments.
“We have to know what for the UK is asking for extension”, – said Gabi Zimmer (Germany, GUE/NGL), the leader of Greens in the European Parliament The extension should have a clear purpose, and it makes sense only in the framework of sealing the Article 50 agreement.
In any case it can’be prolonged beyond, interfering with the European elections, she continued. The EU Treaty clearly indicates that all the member-states are obliged to organise the elections to European Parliament. In case the UK stays in the EU after the 24 of May, it has also to join the election process.
On contrary the European Socialists consider Brussels should be generous, and more more room and time should be given to the UK lawmakers with less restrictions to offer them a few years term to be able to organise the second referendum and recall their request to leave the EU.
MEP Marc Tarabella considers two or three years as an appropriate timetable to deliver tangible, solid result, building majority in the Westminster, and consulting Britons in a new referendum.
Brexit could be reversed if lawmakers reject the government’s Article 50 deal, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday March 10 after two major eurosceptic factions in parliament warned that Prime Minister Theresa May was facing a heavy defeat.
Prime Minister Theresa May attempts to convince the European Union to make “just one more push” to break an impasse on Article 50 deal to obtain the Westminster backing of her government’s Agreement next week, which is considered by many experts as an ultimate ‘last-minute’ fix. May also underlined that voting deal down next week, might mean the whole variety of options from Brexit delay to not leaving the bloc at all.
The EU decision-making process does not allow to re-open the negotiations process, only complementary political declarations are possible to add to the Article 50 deal. The EU executives made it clear the end last year, and repeated continuously: “that is the deal”.
Meanwhile EU Ambassadors in Brussels were summoned to a meeting on Brexit, including the no-deal scenario.
Today the former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont as a guest of honor attended a photo exhibition “The Catalan Language: 10 million European Voices”, taking place in central location of the European Parliament – Atrium of Altiero Spinelli building.
The event was inaugurated by Ramon Tremosa (MEP, ALDE).
“The Catalan language, 10 million European voices” was organised in co-operation between Plataforma per la Llengua (Platform for the Language) and MEP Ramon Tremosa (PDeCAT).
Although crowded, the event was not overwhelmed by visitors, as it usually happens when Carles Puigdemont is present, because the information passed that the vernissage was ‘suspended‘. The relevant announcement appeared on the Catalan site ‘El Nacional‘:
“Another veto from the European Parliament towards another Catalan event. This time, the chamber has suspended an exhibition on the Catalan language planned for 4th March, saying it is “no longer appropriate” given the snap Spanish general election at the end of April. The exhibition was scheduled for two days before an event with far-right party Vox which is currently still happening”
Apparently the ban was lifted, and the exhibition on Catalan language will be available to the visitors of the European Parliament this week. However for many it is regrettable to fail to attend the event with Carles Puigdemont, who is held in high esteem by general public in Belgium, and by Brussels international press corps, always eager to interview the Catalan high-profile politician in exile.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that it would be preferable to postpone Brexit if Westminster failed to back at the beginning of March the Article 50 deal negotiated with Brussels. However he continues to defend the endorsed by the EU27 agreement, as a ‘good’ deal. (Image: illustration).
“If there is at the beginning of March no support for the deal we have, then I think it would be good to postpone the Brexit,” Austrian leader told reporters upon his arrival to a summit of EU and Arab League leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Theresa May promised to offer Westminster a vote on her Article 50 deal by March 12 in the her last bid to win approval for a plan to ensure orderly departure from the European Union on March 29.
Three cabinet ministers have publicly informed they will back plans to delay Brexit if lawmakers vote down Prime Minister Theresa May proposal for a new deal with the European Union.
In the column headlined “If we don’t get a deal next week we must delay Brexit”, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd and David Gauke wrote that a no-deal exit was a risk to business, security and UK territorial unity, and accused some parliament colleagues of complacency.