Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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Brexit delay will squeeze transition period negotiations

But she at least knew she could avoid mass resignations from her cabinet. She could be confident enough about the consequences at home of tabling such a request again. UK risks losing European commissioner role over Brexit delay Read more But with the EU now appearing likely to reject her plea and deliver an extension of up to a year, ending either on 31 December or at the end of March 2020, the consequences are far from obvious this time – both domestically, given the potential shock in her party, and with regard to the EU-UK relationship and future trade negotiations. Article 126 of the withdrawal agreement lays out a clear end date for the transition, a period of time in which the UK effectively remains a member of the EU but without representation in any of the bloc’s decision-making institutions. Brexit secretary confirms plan to let MPs thrash out deal in Commons Read more The 21-month duration of the transition period was not a UK government choice. It was decided on by the commission to tally with the end of the EU’s seven-year multi-annual financial framework (MFF). It made for a neat fit. A Brexit delay until the end of March would leave the UK with a transition period of only nine months – hardly enough to negotiate much if the last two-and-a-bit years of onerous talks is anything to go by. If the UK wanted to extend the transition “by up to one or two years” as foreseen in the withdrawal agreement, a decision would need to be taken in July 2020 – four months into the transition period – by the joint committee overseeing the implementation and application of the withdrawal agreement. From 1 January 2021, the EU and the UK would share a single customs territory, and Northern Ireland would stay in much of the EU’s single market acquis.

UK removes words ‘European Union’ from British passports

But the move has angered those applying for new passports who were hoping to hold on to an emblem of EU membership. Susan Hindle Barone, who was one of the first to receive the new-look passports, said: “I was shocked because we haven’t left the EU yet. I assumed we would get the same old passport. Picked up my new passport today - my old one expires in the next couple of months. “Burgundy passports that no longer include the words ‘European Union’ on the front cover will be introduced from 30 March 2019,” it said. 'The UK no longer feels like home’: the British Europhiles racing for EU passports Read more “Passports that include the words ‘European Union’ will continue to be issued for a short period after this date. “You will not be issued with a passport that includes the words ‘European Union’ after the UK has left the EU. “There will be no difference for British citizens whether they are using a passport that includes the words ‘European Union’ or a passport that does not include the words ‘European Union’. Both designs will be equally valid for travel.” The Home Office said the inclusion of the words “European Union” was part of the policy of the EU but was not legally binding, and consumers who receive the new-look passports in the coming months have nothing to worry about. The decision to revive the old blue British passport became an emblem of the government’s promise to “take back control” after the 2017 election despite the loss of Theresa May’s majority.

Brexit extension could be until 31 March 2020, EU documents reveal

The EU has pencilled in April Fools’ Day 2020 as a leading option for Britain’s first day outside the bloc, should the UK government ask Brussels for a lengthy extension of article 50 in three weeks’ time, it can be revealed. The date was to be offered at the leaders’ summit last week if Theresa May had followed through on her promise to request a short extension in the event of passing her Brexit deal, and a longer one should it be rejected again by the House of Commons. A one-year extension, ending on 31 March 2020, was, however, written into internal EU papers before the summit as an offer that could be made to May should she formally seek a longer extension, sources said. “That would safeguard our work during this year and basically allow us to turn to it again early next year,” the official said. So such a time limit is not a bad idea.” Play Video 6:17 Sources emphasised that no decision had been made and it would be the subject of intense debate among the leaders at a summit, likely to be held on 10 April in Brussels, should May come back again for extra time. We want to do other things and not have this dominate.” The source added: “It may be up to two years, but that is the span of the imagination of those who are talking about a long extension. It is not up to this October because we can’t do this all the time. The European parliament’s lead Brexit negotiator said he was very pleased MPs had voted to take control of Brexit from the government. This is the first time that there is a vote for something – cross-party cooperation. We have long called for that.

What do voters make of Brexit now?

Almost three years ago the UK voted in favour of leaving the EU. Trouble is, voters themselves - including not least those who voted Leave - have become deeply critical of how the UK government has handled Brexit negotiations. However, as many as 80% of Leave voters now say that it has handled Brexit negotiations badly. Remarkably, Leave voters are now just as critical of the UK government's role as they are of the EU's: 79% of Leave supporters say the EU has handled Brexit badly. Will the UK get a good deal? As many as 66% of Leave supporters now believe that the UK is faced with a bad deal - even more than the 64% of Remain voters who express that view. Do UK voters still want to leave the EU? In part, this is because Leave voters are a little less likely to say they would vote the same way again (82%), than Remain voters are (86%). How young and old would vote on Brexit now Do people support another referendum? Some polls introduce the idea of another ballot as a "people's vote", or a "public vote" and do not make it clear that remaining in the EU would be an option.

Brussels confirms return of border checks under no-deal Brexit

The announcement on border checks was revealed days after the British government secured a short extension that shifts the Brexit deadline to 12 April. In an information notice, the commission confirmed that in the event of a no-deal UK nationals would have the right to visa-free travel for short stays in the EU (90 days in any 180-day period), if the UK grants the same arrangement to citizens of all EU member states. In another return to the past, British travellers may be asked by border guards to provide information on the purpose of their visit and means of subsistence during their stay. Luggage would be subject to customs checks. The British government would get a longer extension only if it agreed by that date to take part in European elections on 23 May. European commission officials have visited all 27 member states to check on no-deal plans. Countries that trade heavily with the UK are hiring hundreds of customs officers and are building border inspection posts to restart checks on animal, food and plant products. While preparations were being taken “extremely seriously”, delays could not be avoided: “Disruption will occur and nothing will be smooth … There will be frictions, it’s pretty clear.” According to the EU official, national authorities and businesses wanted no-deal over quickly, if it has to happen. And so they were telling us we want certainly, and if it has to happen so be it.” If the UK crashes out of the EU on 12 April, the government will have six days to decide whether to pay its dues into the 2019 EU budget, so enabling British farmers, researchers and other recipients to receive EU funds. The government could secure short-term participation in such programmes by agreeing to pay into the EU 2019 budget.

More than 4 million sign Brexit petition to revoke article 50

An online petition calling for the UK government to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU has reached more than 4m signatures, becoming the most popular to be submitted to the Parliament website. The petition, which was started in late February by “frustrated remainer” Margaret Georgiadou, has gained momentum very quickly, and has now reached just over 4m supporters, adding 2.5m signatures in less than 24 hours. Brexit: hundreds of thousands expected to march for people's vote – live updates Read more It gathered momentum shortly after the prime minister appealed to the British people to back her in her standoff with MPs from all parties. The number of signatures continued to rise on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to gather in central London to march for a “people’s vote” on Brexit, asking for the public to be given the power to make the final decision. On Thursday, the parliamentary petitions website crashed several times as so many people were trying to access it at the same time. The error message “bad gateway”, which displayed when the website was overwhelmed, even started trending on Twitter. Conspiracy theories also appeared from both sides, with some saying the site’s troubles were a plot to prevent further signatures. Others claimed that a small proportion of signatures from overseas IP addresses – including one from North Korea – meant the petition had been “hijacked by bots”. In fact, 96% of the signatures were from the UK. The House of Commons petitions committee said: “Anyone who is a UK resident or a British citizen can sign a petition.

After A Chaotic Week In Brexit Politics, Here’s What You Need To Know

Brexit has convulsed the United Kingdom like no other political event in decades, but it can be hard to follow the day-to-day machinations. It is now clear that after two years of negotiating a Brexit withdrawal arrangement with the European Union, the United Kingdom is highly unlikely to leave on the planned exit date, March 29. How likely is it that the EU will approve an extension? She wants to bring back her zombie-like Brexit deal — which Parliament has already twice voted down by staggering margins — for another vote before a meeting of EU leaders on Thursday, March 21. If her deal fails, she will ask for a longer extension — which she has hinted could kill Brexit. If the longer extension is granted, what will happen during that extension period? Some in parliament want a second referendum. The most compelling issues driving Brexit are national identity, immigration, economic globalization and anger toward the political class. These are also central issues in the new politics of the United States and many countries in Western Europe. Well, both things can't be true and we've got to work out as Britain what are we about in the 21st century.

Britain urged to reject ‘backward’ US food safety standards

The US should join the back of a queue for a post-Brexit trade deal if it thinks its “woefully inadequate” and “backward” animal welfare and food safety standards will be accepted in Britain, the former farming minister George Eustice has said. Eustice, a leading Brexit supporter who resigned from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last week, said signing any deal that allowed a reduction in food standards would be a mistake, as it could “give free trade a bad name”. The issue is a contentious one within the UK government as Michael Gove, the environment secretary, has insisted food and welfare standards will be maintained, but Liam Fox, the trade secretary, has defended the safety of chlorine-washed chicken. “Their livestock sectors often suffer from poor husbandry which leads to more prevalence of disease and a greater reliance on the use of antibiotics,” he said. “Whereas we have a ‘farm to fork’ approach to managing disease and contamination risk throughout the supply chain through good husbandry, the culture in the US is more inclined to simply treat contamination of their meat at the end with a chlorine or similar wash.” He said the situation in relation to animal welfare was even worse, as “legislation as regards animal welfare is woefully deficient”. Food fight: doubts grow over post-Brexit standards Read more “There are some regulations governing slaughterhouses but they are not as comprehensive as ours,” he said. “If the Americans want to be granted privileged access to the UK market, then they will have to learn to abide by British law and British standards, or they can kiss goodbye to any trade deal and join the back of the queue,” he said. Johnson, who has been ambassador since 2017, set out the US position on a post-Brexit trade deal in the Telegraph last week, saying it was a myth that chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-pumped beef were bad. “You have been presented with a false choice,” he wrote. Inflammatory and misleading terms like ‘chlorinated chicken’ and ‘hormone beef’ are deployed to cast American farming in the worst possible light.” Johnson described using chlorine to wash chicken as a “public safety no-brainer” and insisted it was the most effective and economical way of dealing with “potentially lethal” bacteria.

Brexit: what happens the next day if there is no deal?

But if the UK leaves without a deal, all changes and drivers will be expected to carry a green card when in mainland Europe and Ireland. Direct Line insurance says: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, we have plans to ensure customers are provided with a green card if they drive in Europe on or after 29 March. You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a europlate with a numberplate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.” PC Driving with a UK licence when abroad In a sentence You will have to buy an International Driving Permit to drive in Europe, at a price of £5.50, with different ones required for France and Spain If there is no deal with the EU then recognition of UK driving licences in the EU ends. Two weeks ago, the UK government issued its latest advice on healthcare when travelling abroad, warning that if the UK leaves with no deal, our Ehics will no longer be valid. It has advised anyone travelling on or after 29 March to any of the EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, to buy travel insurance to cover healthcare “just as you would if visiting a non-EU country”. MB Flight compensation In a sentence The government promises to keep EU flight delay payouts, but airlines could use changes to fight having to pay out European Union flight compensation regulations have been fought in almost every UK court, so could a no-deal Brexit give the airlines another opportunity to stop paying passengers after a lengthy delay or cancellation? The British Veterinary Association has warned that a no-deal Brexit will lead to pet owners facing longer waits (pdf) to get their animal cleared for travel, higher costs for the required vaccination, treatments and health certificates each time they leave the UK. It means EU citizens can use their mobile in another EU state as if they are at home. O2 says: “We will be working closely with the government and other European operators to try and protect the current arrangements, so our customers can continue to enjoy free EU roaming.” Ministers have said the government will legislate to put a £45-a-month limit on the amount that could be charged for mobile data abroad. But even here agreement has been reached, with a temporary permissions regime allowing them to carry on in the UK for three years after Brexit, and apply for authorisation during that time.

Chris Grayling not welcome in Calais, says port’s chairman

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is no longer welcome in Calais, according to the port’s chairman, who has been angered by British plans to divert some sea traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Jean-Marc Puissesseau reportedly accused the UK cabinet minister of behaving in a “completely disrespectful” manner on Tuesday. “Mr Grayling came to us in November and asked us if we would be ready. He did not tell us that he wanted to reduce the activity [at Calais]. I don’t want to see him again,” Puissesseau told the Daily Telegraph. Without contingency plans, the government fears deliveries of food and medicine could be delayed. Puissesseau has previously insisted no such disruption is likely because Calais has been planning for a no-deal Brexit for a year. Jacques Gounon, the chief executive of Eurotunnel’s parent company, has said the awarding of the ferry operator contracts was “distortionary and anti-competitive” and would be a “unilateral breach not only of the concession agreement with Eurotunnel, but more widely of existing competition and state aid law”. It has been reported that the government plans to pay a law firm £800,000 for advice in anticipation of a legal action brought by the company. Reacting to Puissesseau’s comments on Tuesday, the Labour MP and supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, Virendra Sharma, said: “Surely this is peak Chris Grayling, only this time he’s gone international.