Michel Barnier effectively killed off Theresa May’s customs plan in Brussels on Thursday as he warned that the European Union would never accept British officials collecting duties on its behalf after Brexit. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator refused to accept that Britain had “evolved its position” and he offered no concessions in return for the Prime Minister’s soft Brexit plan, which led to the resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson after crunch Cabinet talks at Chequers. Instead, he said that the UK could still join “a customs union”, which would mean Britain could not make its own trade deals after Brexit.
MICHEL Barnier warned there are still “major issues” to be tackled in the ongoing Brexit talks and told the UK it must respect the European Union’s demands to maintain control over its own “money, law and borders”. Speaking after the latest round of divorce talks today, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator said the two sides “are not at the end of the road yet”. He said: “There are major issues to be discussed and major questions to be answered.” The Frenchman said “80 percent” of the Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed. But he shot Theresa May’s proposals for a ‘Facilitated Customs Area’ which would have seen the UK collect tariffs on behalf of Brussels.
Michel Barnier has warned that attempts to appeal to EU leaders over his head were a waste of time as he rejected Theresa May’s proposals on customs after Brexit, in effect killing off the Chequers plan. On Friday Theresa May travels to Austria to meet Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, before heading off on her summer holiday. May’s trip follows the EU chief Brexit negotiator insisting there was no difference of opinion in European capitals to exploit. “Anyone who wants to find a sliver of difference between my mandate and what the heads of government say they want are wasting their time, quite frankly,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, in Brussels. The British negotiators have become increasingly frustrated with the EU’s attitude to the white paper thrashed out at the prime minister’s country retreat.
The European Union will never accept Theresa May’s plan for a bespoke customs deal, Michel Barnier said yesterday as he wrapped up Brexit negotiations before the summer break. The move by the EU’s lead negotiator kills off a key element of the prime minister’s Chequers white paper and had been feared by the British side. His comments, after his second meeting in Brussels with Dominic Raab, the new Brexit secretary, mean that the EU has effectively vetoed proposals for a future “customs arrangement” that would allow Britain to strike free trade deals while keeping “frictionless” trade across the channel and Irish border. “The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy, of its rules, VAT and excise duty collections.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has blown a hole in Theresa May’s Chequers plan by flatly rejecting a key element of her proposals for future relations following UK withdrawal. Central to the Prime Minister’s plan, set out in a white paper a fortnight ago, is a “facilitated customs arrangement” under which tariffs charged at the border would be passed on to either the British or EU authorities depending on the destination of imported goods. Appearing alongside new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab following their second round of talks in Brussels, Michel Barnier left no doubt that this was not acceptable to the EU. “The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules and VAT and excises duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures,” he said.
Theresa May has seen the EU reject a key part of her Brexit strategy, with Brussels mounting strong opposition to the prime minister’s customs proposals. Following the latest round of talks, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier blew a hole in Mrs May’s post-Brexit plan to collect tariffs on behalf of the bloc at the UK border. Today, Theresa May is heading to Austria for Brexit talks before heading off to Italy for the start of her summer holidays. The prime minister will hold rounds of talks with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis. It is part of several meetings across Europe which the PM and her ministers are carrying out to win over support for the Chequers Brexit blueprint.
Theresa May’s Brexit plan was dealt a major blow today, as the EU flatly rejected her suggestion for a customs deal. The Prime Minister’s Chequers proposals suggested a situation where the UK would collect excise duties at the border on the EU’s behalf. But after a day of negotiations with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Brussels chief negotiator Michel Barnier unceremoniously killed the idea. At a press conference following the day’s negotiations, he said: “The EU cannot and will not delegate its customs policy and rules, VAT and excise duty collections to a non member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures. “Any customs arrangements or customs union – and I’ve always said the EU is open to a customs union – must respect this principle. “And in any case, a customs union, which would help to reduce friction at the border, would come with our common policy for goods.”
The Brexit stalemate continued today as EU negotiator Michel Barnier moved to kill off Theresa May’s Chequers plan warning he ‘cannot and will not’ accept her proposals on customs. Mr Barnier said he had held ‘frank’ talks with Britain’s new Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab in Brussels. But he said it would never be acceptable for Britain to collect tariffs on behalf of the EU while running its own trade policy – insisting it would undermine the EU customs union. The proposal is the centre piece of Mrs May’s plans, which have also been lashed by all sides in the UK. At a joint press conference, Mr Barnier warned: ‘To be frank we are not at the end of the road yet.’
BRAZEN Michel Barnier tonight rejected Theresa May’s key Chequers proposal for Britain to collect EU import taxes. The EU’s chief negotiator stubbornly warned that Brussels “cannot and will not” allow a non-member to monitor its borders. In a testy Brussels press conference with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, the Frenchman ruled out the PM’s centrepiece “Facilitated Customs Arrangement” border plan. Mr Barnier, launching the strongest attack yet on the UK’s controversial soft Brexit offer, openly mocked her promise to “control our money, law and borders”. Mr Raab teased that the EU had bent its rules in the past and had “considered innovative approaches”. But Mr Barnier declared that the customs rules were sacred, adding: “We are not going to negotiate on that.”
The European Commission’s chief negotiator has ruled out a key part of Theresa May’s Brexit customs plan, effectively killing her attempt to preserve frictionless trade. Michel Barnier said the EU could not agree to let another country collect European customs duties on its behalf – a key principle of the British plan for the future relationship. However, he said the bloc was open to having a customs union with Britain, a proposal which is also advocated by Labour. The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy, of its rules, VAT and excise duty collections to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures,” Mr Barnier said, after meeting Brexit secretary Dominic Raab in Brussels.
NIGEL Farage blasted the European Union for trying to force the UK into “crisis” during Brexit negotiations, saying “there was nothing we can do” to change their minds. Nigel Farage warned Prime Minister Theresa May that no matter “how many concessions we make”, the European Union would not accept the UK’s Brexit deal. Hosting his LBC show, Mr Farage said: “It doesn’t matter how many concessions we make, it doesn’t matter. “It doesn’t matter that her own party, half of them seem to be saying she has betrayed Brexit with the Chequers agreement. “It still won’t be accepted by Mr Juncker so there is nothing we can do, it will not be accepted by Barnier, Juncker and the Brussels crowd.
France is preparing for a “brutal divorce” with the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit which would cause gridlock in Calais and every other European port, one of Emmanuel Macron’s senior ministers has warned. Nathalie Loiseau, the French minister for European affairs, said “we would all suffer” if the UK was unable to reach an agreement with Brussels but it would be “worst” for Britain. Ms Loiseau also insisted Europe would allow Britain to stay in the EU on the same terms as it has now if the nation decided to reverse the referendum vote of 2016. Her comments are likely to spark fury among Brexiteers who believe Britain can flourish outside the EU even in the event that no deal is reached.
Remember when the prospect of an EU Army was dismissed as a ‘dangerous fantasy’? Well the reality of course is quite different. In fact the ‘European Defence Agency’ – complete with EU flag – is now recruiting. Current vacancies include ‘Director of European Synergies and Innovation’ and a ‘Policy Officer for Defence Industry Engagement’. This comes after the EU budgeted €13 billion for a ‘European Defence Fund’ and Jean-Claude Juncker himself called for a “functioning European Defence Union” by 2025. Don’t remember the Remain campaign mentioning any of this.
David Banks, a Spokesman for the Veterans for Britain campaign, has told Westmonster that the European Union is actively undermining NATO. In an exclusive interview, Banks said the EU has “created 20 separate structures which directly duplicate what NATO already does and that’s quite unhealthy for those of us who believe in NATO”. When asked whether the EU is trying to undermine NATO, Banks responded: “They’ve actively done so quite regularly, if you look at the words of Mr. Juncker again he has persistently told US Presidents to pipe down when they’ve asked European countries a very simple request to fund NATO and their contribution to NATO properly, so yes they are detracting.”
Britain will be unable to forge a new trade deal with fast-growing Pacific countries unless it makes a clean break with the EU, a report warns today. The Government’s White Paper on Brexit says the UK will ‘potentially seek accession’ to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after leaving the EU. The 11-member organisation, which aims to eliminate 98 per cent of all tariffs, is seen as a major potential growth market. But a study by the Policy Exchange think-tank warns that Theresa May’s Chequers deal could make membership impossible. The controversial deal commits the UK to following a ‘common rulebook’ with the EU on goods and farm products, limiting the room for manoeuvre of trade negotiators.
THERESA May’s Brexit blueprint could dash Britain’s chances of joining a lucrative free trade club that includes some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, experts warned last night. Britain could seek to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific Partnership (CPTPP) – dubbed the best quality and most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) outside the EU’s single market. Its 11 members include Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico and Singapore, with South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand among others expected to join. But writing for the centre-Right think-tank Policy Exchange, Geoff Raby, Australia’s former ambassador to the World Trade Organisation, said by aligning UK and EU policy on agriculture and manufactured goods, the White Paper would “constrain” British opportunities to pursue an independent trade policy.
Ex-Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary Boris Johnson has laid into Theresa May’s ultra-soft Brexit plan yet again, describing it in florid terms as “vassalage, satrapy, colony status for the UK”. “Imagine you leave some stifling desk job and decide to get out into the big wide world — make new contacts in America, that kind of thing,” wrote the former Mayor of London, who resigned from Theresa May’s government shortly after Brexit Secretary David Davis, having argued the deal she wanted was “a big turd” and that any minister defending it would be “polishing a turd” at Chequers. “How would you feel if your former company still treated you like an employee? What would you do if you had to obey all the organisation’s rules, and do exactly what they told you?” he asked rhetorically.
A co-conspirator gets in touch to point Guido towards the promises Theresa May made in her speeches during the Tory leadership campaign, and her early speeches as Prime Minister. There are some whoppers… She broke her promises on calling an election and not triggering Article 50 until the UK had an agreed strategy – two decisions that the history books will not look upon kindly. She promised to put Dexeu in charge of the negotiation and make sure a Brexiteer was doing Brexit – that didn’t happen. Guido had forgotten May’s promise not to raise taxes – tax rises are coming in the autumn to fund her NHS splurge. “There should be no general election until 2020.” General election: 8 May 2017. “There should be no decision to invoke Article 50 until the British negotiating strategy is agreed and clear.” Article 50 triggered: 29 March 2017. Cabinet Brexit strategy agreed: 7 July 2018.
THERESA May must “take lessons” from Donald Trump after the EU caved into America to prevent a trade war, her own MPs declared last night. Senior Tory Brexiteers said the PM should take a harder line towards Brussels after the US President squeezed promises on free trade out of Jean Claude Juncker. The EU chief was accused of signing “the most one-sided deal in history” during a White House visit after he pledged Europe will buy billions in US goods for a stay of execution on car tariffs. Europe will buy billions more worth of soybeans and natural gas but levies on steel and aluminium imports will remain in place for the foreseeable future, despite Brussels pleas to drop them. Mr Juncker crowed that the US President had made a “major concession” by dropping his threat to heavily tax European cars.
The proportion of voters who favour a second Brexit referendum has overtaken those who do not for the first time, a YouGov poll for The Times shows. Voters have not changed sides over the question of EU membership in significant enough numbers to be sure that the result would be different from 2016, however. Support for a second referendum has been steadily increasing in the face of parliamentary deadlock, anger among Brexiteers and the rejection by Brussels of large parts of Theresa May’s Chequers plan. Voters were asked whether there should be a second referendum on the final terms of any Brexit deal.
There’s a well-known tactic in political campaigns, commonly known as the straw man. You want to win something that people are going to be resistant to, let’s call it option A. Rather than setting it up against the genuine alternative, you create an unthinkable, never-going-to-happen, way-out alternative, option B, then set out to ensure that huge campaigning effort is directed towards showing just how disastrous it is. The aim is to see that everyone says, “phew, we didn’t get option B, option A isn’t nearly as bad”. The possibility of the other, better, option, C, gets lost. There’s more than a hint now of that happening in the Brexit debate. We’re being fed a continual drip feed of just how bad “crash-out” Brexit could be. The planes could stop flying. We could have to rely on Government stocks of instant noodles to avoid starvation. EU citizens living here, and UK citizens in the rest of Europe, would be trapped in limbo.
Antisemitic posts claiming that the Holocaust is a lie and that Jews are “barbaric and unsanitary” remain on Facebook despite being flagged to the social media company, an investigation by The Times has found. Cartoons that depict Jewish people as hook-nosed cockroaches, links to a website selling “holohoax” books banned by mainstream retailers and fan pages for a convicted Holocaust denier are also accessible. Facebook’s community guidelines class antisemitic material as hate speech and the company says that it is committed to removing posts that are reported. However, it does not consider Holocaust denial hate speech. The Times found scores of examples of material designed to incite hatred and violence against Jews. Some of it had already been flagged to the company.
Stargazers watching Friday’s spectacular lunar eclipse, when the Moon could turn a deep burgundy red, may also catch a glimpse of the International Space Station, Mars and Jupiter all in one evening. The eclipse will be the longest of the 21st century, lasting from 8.49pm to 10.13pm in London on Friday evening, and the Moon will stay close to the horizon, giving the illusion that it is far larger than usual. The ‘blood moon’ is caused by sunlight being filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere so that red colours predominate when it reaches the lunar surface. But to make the phenomenon even more spectacular, Mars will be at its closest point to Earth since 2003.
Either the end of the world is nigh, or we are in for an amazing double celestial treat tonight with the longest total eclipse of the moon that will occur this century. For not only will the Earth block out the Sun’s direct rays, turning the Moon into a blood-red orb, it will be accompanied by the vivid sight of Mars, the Red Planet, shining incredibly bright as it comes closer to us than it will do for the next 270 years. The so-called ‘blood moon’ eclipse and the brilliant Martian vista just beneath it, offers a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for astronomy fans. However, for some Christian fundamentalists, the arrival of these twin events is a portent of doom. They are hailing it as a heavenly sign of the long-awaited Biblical apocalypse, as predicted by the Book of Joel, the Book of Acts and the Book of Revelation.