The European parliament has passed the controversial EU-Canada free trade deal, while protesters staged a sit-in at the gates of the building in Strasbourg, France. The agreement was celebrated by some as a victory for global free trade in the face of growing US protectionism under the government of Donald Trump. The agreement aims to eliminate 98% of tariffs on exported goods, making it the EU’s most comprehensive trade deal to date. Trade between the two sides amounts to more than 60bn euros (C$83bn) a year, and the EU expects the so-called Ceta deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) to boost this by 20% by removing almost all tariffs. Supporters claim the pact will be worth £1.3bn (C$2.1bn, $1.6bn) a year to Britain alone, in the period before the UK withdraws from the EU. The EU commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, called it “an important milestone” and said “EU companies and citizens will start to reap the benefits the agreement offers … [Read more...] about European parliament passes EU-Canada free trade deal amid protests
Eu trade deal
brexit countdown_bg Created with Sketch. Michel Barnier dramatically upped the stakes in the Brexit end game today as he set a midnight deadline for the EU and UK to have agreed a divorce deal. Downing Street has refused to sign up to the proposed cut-off point for a legal text to have been finalised as it said Britain would continue to work to get a deal done 'as soon as possible'. Mr Barnier believes a blueprint must be agreed by close of play this evening if there is to be any chance of a deal being signed off by European leaders at a crunch EU summit on Thursday and Friday. If no accord can be struck within the next 48 hours then the focus of that summit in Brussels - the final one scheduled before the October 31 divorce date - will shift to whether to offer the UK a delay. Below are all of the answers to all of the key questions as Brexit enters its most volatile phase yet. When does Michel Barnier believe a … [Read more...] about Will the UK meet Michel Barnier’s midnight Brexit deal deadline? And what will happen if no agreement has been hammered out before a crunch EU summit starts on Thursday?
Boris Johnson is fighting to get the DUP and Tory hardliners on board with a Brexit deal today as fraught talks continue in Brussels. UK and EU negotiators are reconvening this morning after working late into the night - getting tantalisingly close to the legal text of a settlement. But the delicate process seemed to be derailed by the intervention of the DUP, whose leader Arlene Foster emerged from a briefing in No10 to declare there were still issues to resolve. In an ominous sign, she also swiped that she did not 'trust' the PM to strike a deal that protects the union. 'I trust myself,' she said. Splits also emerged in the hardline Tory Eurosceptic ERG bloc. While chair Steve Baker came out from his own Downing Street chat saying he was ready to endorse a 'tolerable deal', former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson branded the package 'unacceptable'. Despite the EU's Michel Barnier setting a deadline of last night for a deal to be finalised in time for tomorrow's Brussels summit, it is … [Read more...] about Brexit deal today… or MORE delay until 2020: Boris Johnson fights to win over the DUP and Tory ‘Spartans’ to seal a deal – but Arlene Foster warns she doesn’t ‘trust’ the PM and ex-minister brands package ‘unacceptable’
brexit countdown_bg Created with Sketch. Boris Johnson today warned his Cabinet there is still 'a significant amount of work to be done' to thrash out a Brexit deal, saying the UK must be ready to leave at Halloween with no agreement The Prime Minister told his senior team there was a 'good way forward' as he updated them on progress in a conference call. He said the package being sktetched out could 'secure all our interests', get rid of the hated Irish border backstop, and honour the Good Friday Agreement. But Mr Johnson cautioned there was no guarantee of success, and the government had to keep preparing to leave by his 'do or die' October 31 deadline. The guarded optimism came as a backlash from Tory hardliners and the DUP threatened to derail his fledgling deal. A moment of truth is looming within the next 48 hours, after negotiations were dramatically brought back from the dead. The sides are now in intensive negotiations on a new 'best of both worlds' … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson tells Cabinet his new Brexit deal could get rid of the Irish backstop while honouring the Good Friday agreement but warns there is ‘still a lot of work to be done’ as DUP and Tory hardliners threaten to derail his fledgling blueprint
Back to the (original) backstop? By conceding that any customs border will have to be in the Irish Sea, Boris Johnson appears to have revived the possibility of a Brexit deal. But the focus on the politics of the Irish border risks missing the implications of his proposals for the economy of the UK as a whole. And, as we reveal in our report for The UK in a Changing Europe, these are significantly worse than was the case for Theresa May’s Brexit plan. Indeed, Johnson’s motivations for ditching May’s withdrawal agreement have little if anything to do with Northern Ireland. Rather, it is because the new prime minister sees the ultimate relationship the UK should have with the EU very differently to his predecessor. Gone is the notion that a shared customs territory and close regulatory alignment on goods should form a “bridge” to the long-term relationship. As Johnson put it himself in his letter to Jean-Claude Juncker: “The backstop acted as a bridge … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal would make people worse off than Theresa May’s