Brexit

Our plans for getting out of the EU have been threatened with a veto by Eastern Europeans, reports the Express

AN ARROGANT Brussels bureaucrat has insisted most British people do not want to leave the European Union despite the result of the referendum vote.

Elite eurocrat Johannes Hahn described Brexit as a “problem” that the “majority of Britons” do not want in highly controversial remarks.

The feather-bedded EU Commissioner also took a pop at the UK over its plans to build a wall around the port of Calais to protect Britain-bound truckers.

The story is covered by the Sun

A GROUP of European countries is ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit people’s right to work in the UK, according to Slovakian PM Robert Fico.

The politician said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – known as the Visegrad Four – would be uncompromising in negotiations.

Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia is ready to veto any Brexit deal that would limit people’s right to work in the UK.

His comments come a day after the EU’s first major meeting without the UK.

The Bratislava summit was overshadowed by Brexit – despite not being formally discussed.

At the end of the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker repeated that Britain could not achieve its desired full access to the EU market if it closed off free immigration for EU citizens.

Mr Fico argued that he and other leaders whose citizens make up much of the EU migrant population in Britain would not let those people become “second class citizens”.

And the Guardian.

Four central European countries are prepared to veto any Brexit deal agreed between the UK and the European Union that restricts their citizens’ rights to live and work in Britain, the prime minister of Slovakia has said.

In a stark reminder of the challenge Britain faces at the negotiating table, Robert Fico said Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – known as the Visegrad, or V4, group – would not hesitate to block any future trade accord that threatened the key EU principle of free movement of workers.

The V4 countries will be uncompromising,” Fico said on Saturday, a day after EU leaders met informally in Bratislava, without Britain, to try to chart a roadmap for the bloc’s future after the shock of the Brexit vote .

Unless we feel a guarantee that these people [living and working in Britain] are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain,” Fico told Reuters. “I think Britain knows this is an issue for us where there’s no room for compromise.”

And the Mail goes into more detail.

An influential group of Eastern European countries will veto any Brexit deal that diminishes the rights of their citizens who live and work in Britain.

The Visegrad Four (V4) – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – want a guarantee that their nationals ‘are equal’ before agreeing to any Brexit deal.

Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, said: ‘Unless we feel a guarantee that these people are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain.’

Theresa May has so far refused to guarantee the status of EU nationals in the UK.

But the Prime Minister insisted she wants them to stay after Brexit – if the rights of Britons overseas are respected.

Mr Fico added: ‘V4 countries will be uncompromising.

‘Unless we feel a guarantee that these people (living and working in Britain) are equal, we will veto any agreement between the EU and Britain.

In another angle to Brexit, BBC News reports that negotiations could be started next year.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to trigger the formal process of leaving the European Union early next year, according to a top EU official.

European Council President Donald Tusk said Mrs May had told him the UK could be ready to begin talks by February.

The BBC’s Tom Bateman says this is the clearest sign yet of when the two-year withdrawal process may start.

Mrs May’s office said it would not be launched this year, but did not confirm Mr Tusk’s account.

Formal negotiations over the withdrawal cannot begin until the UK triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism for leaving the union.

But one of our MEPs has issued a warning, says the Express.

A LEADING Ukip MEP today branded Article 50 a “trap” as he expressed fears Britain may never leave the EU at all.

Gerard Batten, one of the anti-Brussels party’s founding members, urged Theresa May to reject the process of quitting the EU as set out in the Lisbon Treaty.

European Council president Donald Tusk has claimed the Prime Minister told him during talks in Downing Street last week it was “quite likely” she would be ready to trigger Article 50 “maybe in January, maybe in February” next year.

But Mr Batten rejected the need for the UK to sign-up to the “obscure and ill-defined method of leaving the EU” as defined in the Lisbon Treaty.

Immigration

The question of how many immigrants we can expect is reported by Breitbart.

Contrary to an official report, the number of illegal migrants entering Europe this year could rival last year’s figures, a report has suggested, putting the UK on track to receive 40,000 asylum applications.

Officially, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat is so far drastically down on last year’s total of 1,015,078, being on course to reach about a third of that figure, according to the UN’s refugee agency . But a new report has suggested that the number of arrivals this year is actually comparable to last year, theTelegraph has reported .

And also ITV News.

Britain should aim to welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees two years earlier than promised – in 2018 – before offering more help to those escaping the war, a senior Labour MP has said.

Yvette Cooper, chair of the party’s refugee taskforce, said Theresa May should use next week’s United Nations General Assembly summit to put the country in a position of “leadership” in tackling the refugee crisis.

Places for the 20,000 refugees the UK has pledged to resettle have now been agreed with local authorities, Ms Cooper said, meaning the process should be able to finish sooner than 2020.

She urged the Prime Minister to try to gain support from international leaders in creating safe passage for refugees to their new homes, and said Britain and France should work together to end the “scandal” of the Calais jungle.

EU army

And Breitbart also reports the UK will not allow the proposed EU army to get off the ground.

Britain will veto plans for a European Union (EU) army as long as it remains a member of the union, the Defence Secretary has said.

Speaking after it emerged that some European nations, mainly France and Germany, wanted to create a “common military force” that would likely rival Nato.

EU leaders, minus Britain, are meeting in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava to discuss the way forward for the bloc after Britain. One of the documents discussed mentioned plans for the military force that will be put before the Commission in December before being agreed by June next year.

It also calls for the creation of a “single operational headquarters for all EU civilian and military missions to be more efficient and quicker to act”.

However, Britain’s Defence Secretary said that the UK will not accept any such move while it remains in the EU.

Scotland

Scotland continues to think about its independence, says BBC News.

Former first minister Alex Salmond has suggested a second referendum on Scottish independence could be held in two years time.

In a column in the National newspaper, he said he has “little doubt” the “next test is coming”.

He said that his “guess” on timing is that “it is likely to be the autumn of 2018”.

Opposition parties pointed out that the SNP previously said the independence referendum was “once in a generation”.

Mr Salmond resigned as SNP leader after losing the 2014 referendum, which was held two years ago on Sunday.

And the Star.

NICOLA Sturgeon’s bid to keep Scotland in the EU independently of the rest of Britain is dead in the water, reports say.

Spain, Belgium, Italy and Romania have privately told the UK Government “they will not accept” a breakaway country joining the international club, according to the Daily Express.

Ms Sturgeon has suggested she will call a second referendum if Theresa May fails to prevent a “hard Brexit”.

In the immediate aftermath of the historic June 23 vote, she stressed how Scotland would seek to stay in the EU after voters there voted to remain.

And Express.

NICOLA Surgeon has been told to butt out of Brexit by Ukip’s Scotland leader, David Coburn.

Ukip’s Scotland leader David Coburn warned the country’s First Minister it is not her responsibility to decide on the UK’s post-referendum future and told Theresa May to ignore the Scottish leader.

Speaking to Express.co.uk at Ukip’s annual conference in Bournemouth, the MEP issued a message to the Prime Minister to disregard the SNP leader’s bid to prevent Scotland leaving the EU.

He said: “She [Mrs May] should get on with it. It is not Nicola Sturgeon’s job, that was decided in the [Scottish independence] referendum.”

Labour leadership

And the Labour leadership row rumbles on, according to BBC News.

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has given a stark warning about the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme, Lord Kinnock said: “Unless things change radically, and rapidly, it’s very doubtful I’ll see another Labour government in my lifetime.”

Labour announces whether Mr Corbyn or Owen Smith have won the leadership contest in less than a week.

Mr Corbyn insists he is “delighted” with the state of the party.

Lord Kinnock, who led the fight against left-wing extremism in the 1980s, when Labour was paralysed by faction fighting, told Panorama: “Not just in my lifetime but stretching back to the 1930s, by any examination this is the greatest crisis that the Labour Party has faced.”

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