Tag Archives: European Union

UK: Hammond rejects call to fund plans for "no deal" Brexit

Source: Reuters

"British finance minister Philip Hammond rejected calls on Wednesday to start spending on plans for a 'no deal' Brexit as a way to put pressure on the rest of the European Union. Negotiations on the terms of Britain's exit from the EU and their future relationship have made slow progress before a March 2019 deadline. That has drawn calls from some British lawmakers to walk away from the talks and start preparing for a clean break with the bloc." (10/11/17)


Britain, EU clash over who takes next Brexit step

Source: Jamaica Observer

"The EU and Britain clashed Monday after British Prime Minister Theresa May said the ball was in the EU's court as Brexit negotiations entered a critical fifth round. Officials from both sides are meeting in Brussels, but chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier and British counterpart David Davis are not attending the start, underscoring low expectations for the talks. This round of divorce discussions is the last before European leaders meet at a summit on October 19 to decide whether there is 'sufficient progress' to move on to the trade talks that Britain desperately wants. The European Commission roundly rejected May's assertion that it was up to Brussels to take the initiative to advance the stalled talks, amid fears that her domestic political woes were threatening the negotiations." (10/09/17)


From Brexit to Catalonia: The silencing of citizens' voices

Source: spiked
by Brendan O'Neill

"It was seamless, and unremarked upon: the shift on the BBC News At Ten last night from alarming images of the Spanish national police trying to stop an independence referendum from taking place in Catalonia to images of a 'STOP BREXIT' march in Manchester, England ahead of the Tory Party conference this week. They looked different, and of course they were different. In the former, there was brute state force, the visiting of riot-police violence on non-rioters, including pensioners: citizens who were merely exercising their right to vote. And in the latter, the usual army of the angry middle classes traipsed through the streets, faces painted in the colours of the EU flag, doing what every citizen has a right to do: protest against something. But there was a commonality, and the Manchester placards revealed it. 'Stop Brexit,' 'Exit Brexit,' they said. Or they depicted Brexit as a pile of shit that should be wiped away, erased, forgotten. In both Manchester and Catalonia, in different ways, the same cry went up: crush popular sentiment." (10/02/17)


On Brexit, Leavers bear the burden of proof

Source: Cato Unbound
by Dalibor Rohac

"Common prudence normally cautions against policy changes with uncertain outcomes – unless there are compelling reasons to believe that the potential upsides of proposed change strongly outweigh the downsides. My contention is that Leavers have not provided such reasons. It is not enough to suggest that Brexit will lead to good economic outcomes, if accompanied by 'liberal domestic regulatory, tariff, and trade policy reform.' Neither is it enough to express the hope that British parliamentary democracy provides a reliable self-correcting mechanism to public policy — at least not without accounting for the political drivers of Britain’s relative economic decline between the 1930s and the 1970s. In order to make the case for Leave convincing, one would need to identify the specific policy areas in which burdensome European rules stifle economic activity and also to show what political dynamics would lead to desirable change after Brexit." (09/29/17)


Can post-Brexit Britain learn?

Source: Cato Unbound
by Sam Bowman

"How good government is at correcting its mistakes is one of the key questions in this debate. If Ryan is correct that 'a British democratic system, taking more decisions closer to the people, would be preferable and more likely to self-correct in a way conducive to prosperity and freedom than an EU bureaucracy in Brussels,' we should be quite optimistic about long-run governance in post-Brexit Britain. But is he right? In areas where we have control already, has Britain’s state shown that it learns from its mistakes and the successes of its neighbours?" (09/27/17)


UK: May seeks to unite divided cabinet before big Brexit speech

Source: Washington Post

"Prime Minister Theresa May tried to unite her fractious Cabinet behind her plan to reboot faltering Brexit negotiations Thursday, as senior European Union officials suggested British hopes of moving the divorce talks on to a new phase next month might be dashed. May gathered ministers to reveal details of a speech she will deliver in Florence, Italy on Friday. The British leader has chosen one of the historic hearts of Europe as the location for an address that the government says will stress Britain’s desire for a close and special relationship with the bloc after Brexit. EU leaders want more than warm words — they want details." (09/21/17)


The Cybercrime Convention's new protocol needs to uphold human rights

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Katitza Rodriguez

"As part of an ongoing attempt to help law enforcement obtain data across international borders, the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention — finalized in the weeks following 9/11, and ratified by the United States and over 50 countries around the world — is back on the global lawmaking agenda. This time, the Council’s Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) has initiated a process to draft a second additional protocol to the Convention — a new text which could allow direct foreign law enforcement access to data stored in other countries’ territories. EFF has joined EDRi and a number of other organizations in a letter to the Council of Europe, highlighting some anticipated concerns with the upcoming process and seeking to ensure civil society concerns are considered in the new protocol. This new protocol needs to preserve the Council of Europe’s stated aim to uphold human rights, and not undermine privacy, and the integrity of our communication networks." (09/18/17)


Russia: Putin watches display of firepower near Estonia

Source: The Guardian [UK]

"A large-scale Russian military exercise that has spooked western countries has entered its final phase, with helicopters, fighter jets, missiles and tanks employed at a firing range close to Russia’s border with the EU. Vladimir Putin was among those watching the 45-minute display of firepower on a cold and rainy Monday afternoon at the Luga firing range, about 70 miles (113km) from the border with EU member state Estonia. The Russian president, joined by the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and a number of army generals, watched through binoculars from a viewing platform. The scenario for Zapad, which Russia is holding jointly with the armed forces of neighbouring Belarus, sees Veishnoria, a fictitious region of Belarus, declare independence and attempt to turn Belarus against Russia, with the help of Nato countries. … Russian officials have denied the exercises are anything other than a standard training exercise, and point to Nato troop buildup in central and eastern Europe as the real threat to stability on the continent." (09/18/17)


Brexit is the start, not the end, of the process

Source: Cato Unbound
by Ryan Bourne

"Though economics was not the deciding factor in the referendum, it is clearly the area where bad negotiations could mess things up now. Theresa May’s government desires a comprehensive free-trade agreement with the EU to replace its current trading relationship, but this may take longer to agree than the 2-year formal negotiations allow. For that reason, most sensible Brexiteers accept the need for a period of transition — a glide path from one set of trading arrangements to another. The frequent question we 'Economists for Brexit' get asked though is whether the UK can be an economic success outside of the European Union in the longer-term. That this is even asked seriously is bizarre." (09/15/17)


Sell democracy to the EU? No deal

Source: spiked
by Mick Hume

"Chief EU negotiator Michael Barnier threatens to 'teach people' that leaving the Single Market must have 'extremely serious consequences.' European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says Britain will soon be made to 'regret' voting to Leave the European Union. To some of us, EU officials’ attitude towards Brexit negotiations sounds increasingly like the imperious statements of British and French statesmen at the end of the First World War." (09/13/17)