Monday, October 18

Europe

EU and UK still far apart but Brexit deal hopes rise
Europe, Featured

EU and UK still far apart but Brexit deal hopes rise

    Hopes were rising in London and Brussels on Sunday that a post-Brexit trade deal can be rescued, but there were warnings that the EU and UK remained far apart on key issues and that talks could go to the wire. Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, agreed in a constructive call on Sunday to go the extra mile in search of a deal, as both sides reported progress in the talks. But no deadline was set for the conclusion of negotiations, with British officials admitting that they could drag on until Christmas. A deal must be in place before Britain’s transition deal ends on January 1. We have time on our side to ratify we can go up until Christmas, said one senior British official. EU diplomats confirmed that talks wou...
Brexit: EU nations getting impatient
Europe, Featured

Brexit: EU nations getting impatient

    European Union governments are getting impatient over the lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations, Angela Merkel said on Monday. The German Chancellor said that Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission was getting increasingly involved in the trade talks in a sign they were entering the endgame. She said the negotiations, which remain deadlocked over the critical issues of fishing, level playing field guarantees and the deal’s enforcement were difficult and challenging. Some member states are getting a little impatient, Mrs Merkel said in an online event, there’s not much time left. She added that her fellow EU leaders wanted a trade deal but not at any price. In Madrid, France’s Europe minister warned that Paris would not allow French fi...
NZ’s Ardern hails ‘strong mandate
Europe, Featured

NZ’s Ardern hails ‘strong mandate

    Jacinda Ardern will govern New Zealand for a second term after the Labour party secured a historic landslide victory in the general election, attracting so many votes it could become the first party in decades to be able to govern alone. Ardern’s deft handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and resolute belief in science and experts was credited with earning the trust of New Zealanders, who cast early votes in record numbers, giving her party more votes than at any other election in the past five decades. With nearly 100% of the vote counted, Labour had secured 49%, with the opposition National party on 27%. Labour was expected to win 64 of the 120 seats in parliament, and National, 35. It is the best result for the Labour party in 50 years, being hailed as “extraordinary...
Four wounded in Paris knife attack
Europe, Featured

Four wounded in Paris knife attack

    A manhunt has been launched for two attackers after four people were stabbed near the old Charlie Hebdo office in Paris. Two of the victims are in ‘an extremely bad way’ following the attacks at around 11.50am, according to an investigating source. He added: Two attackers were seen running away, and they are being searched for. A suspect device was also spotted. A man with blood on his clothes was arrested at an opera house in the French capital at around 12.45pm. French police sources say one of the suspects have been arrested, while nearby schoolchildren have been ordered to stay inside. Al Qaeda recently warned Charlie Hebdo of further attacks after it decided to reprint cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at the opening of a trial into the 2015 attacks. One of the...
France in partial lockdown
Europe, Featured

France in partial lockdown

    Spain is set to join Italy by becoming the second country in Europe to impose a nationwide lockdown as part of its effort to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The news came as the UK's death toll from coronavirus nearly doubled, by rising from 11 to 21, and the UK government was reportedly preparing to ban mass gatherings from next week. Boris Johnson has faced criticism for not taking tougher action against the outbreak and his government's plan to build up immunity within the population to fight the virus over a prolonged period, rather than introducing mass lockdowns, has been questioned by health experts.
France dismisses PM’s tough talk on trade deal
Europe, Featured

France dismisses PM’s tough talk on trade deal

    Boris Johnson's pledge to walk away from EU trade talks if there is no deal by the end of the year has been criticised by a senior French minister. The prime minister has insisted Britain is willing to revert to base-level World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules if an agreement is not in place for 31 December 2020. That would see big taxes slapped on products exported by businesses to EU countries. But trying to pile pressure on the prime minister ahead of negotiations officially kick-starting next week, the French minister for Europe, Amelie de Montchalin, called the 10-month timeframe an artificial deadline. Ms de Montchalin said we do not accept time pressure and warned Downing Street not to underestimate the unity of the EU27 leaders. She also took on Mr Johnson'...
Asylum seekers deported to EU
Europe, Featured

Asylum seekers deported to EU

    A BBC news reporter has been attacked by a stranger moments before going live on air. Lauren Moss, the corporation’s south east political editor, said she was preparing to broadcast from Brighton when a man threw a cup of hot chocolate over her. He is reported to have screamed obscenities about the broadcaster currently the subject of a charged national debate on funding and balance before making off. Describing the incident on Twitter, Ms Moss wrote: “Pretty distressing day in Brighton so far. A member of the public threw a cup of hot chocolate at me and screamed abuse about how he hates the BBC, literally moments before I went on air.”. She added: "Someone may not approve of my work or who I work for but I am a journalist just doing my job. Anti-media feeling li...
Nissan could pull out of EU and expand in UK
Europe, Featured

Nissan could pull out of EU and expand in UK

    Nissan has reportedly drawn up contingency plans to pull out of manufacturing in mainland Europe in the event of a hard Brexit in favour of ramping up its production in the UK. If a trade deal is struck between the UK and the EU that leads to tariffs on car exports, the Japanese carmaker would focus on selling more cars in Britain, the Financial Times reported, citing two people involved in the discussions. Under the proposal drawn up towards the end of last year, Nissan would maintain its factory in Sunderland and aim to boost its 4% UK market share to about 20%. At the same time, it would shut its struggling van factory in Barcelona and stop manufacturing in France. The contingency plan is said to be one of several drawn up in preparation for post-Brexit tariffs,...
Turkish president visits quake scene and denies they were unprepared
Europe, Featured

Turkish president visits quake scene and denies they were unprepared

    The death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey has climbed to 29 as rescue crews continue the search for people trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. Interior minister Suleyman Soylu said earlier on Saturday that 18 people were killed in Elazig province, where Friday night’s quake was centred, and four in neighbouring Malatya. The national disaster agency later updated the total with seven more casualties. Another 1,243 people were injured, and 34 of them are in intensive care but not in critical condition. On Saturday afternoon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the hardest-hit areas and attended the funeral of a mother and son killed in the quake. He warned people against repeating “negative” hearsay about the country...
Gibraltar may join Schengen Area
Europe, Featured

Gibraltar may join Schengen Area

    Gibraltar is considering joining the EU’s Schengen open borders area to limit disruption caused by Brexit, its chief minister has said. Fabian Picardo, the territory’s leader, said it did not “make sense” for Gibraltar to be cut off from the rest of Europe given its location bordering Spain. A decision to join the full Schengen area by the micro-state could mean UK travellers would have to apply for a mini-visa known as ETIAS to visit after Brexit. The EU plans to bring in the so-called European Travel Information and Authorisation System from 2021, which would require non-EU visitors to Schengen countries to fill in forms and pay a small fee to visit. The system is expected to be similar to the US ESTA system that many British travellers are already familiar with...