Displaying items by tag: EU

Friday, 09 September 2022 10:05

UK / Ireland Brexit deadlock

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have been working behind the scenes to get the UK and EU back to the negotiating table over Brexit and the Stormont government collapse. Hard Brexiter Steve Baker has been transferred to the Northern Ireland office, replacing Conor Burns, who went to the Department for International Trade. UK-EU protocol talks were paused when Russia invaded Ukraine. The already strained relations deteriorated further in June when Liz Truss introduced a bill enabling the UK to remove some Northern Ireland Brexit protocol. Hopes of a thaw in UK-EU relations have been fuelled by the absence of Lord Frost from Truss’s new cabinet. Burns met Europe’s Marcus Šefčovič at the weekend and had ‘constructive and prolonged talks’. He told MPs, ‘I am convinced that if the appetite exists, we can find a way to a negotiated solution to the Northern Ireland protocol.’ 

Published in Europe
Friday, 17 June 2022 10:09

NI Protocol disagreement

Part of Brexit released lorries from checkpoints between the UK and EU (Northern Ireland to Republic of Ireland). Instead they are checked when arriving in NI from mainland UK. This protocol was agreed because of sensitive political border histories. Boris Johnson wants to change this protocol section to make it easier for some goods to move between Britain and NI. But the European Commission vice-president said there was ‘no legal or political justification whatsoever for unilaterally changing an international agreement; it has left us with no choice but to take legal action.’ Mr Johnson insists the proposals are legal, will secure the UK’s future and are set out in a parliamentary bill. The protocol is upsetting the balance of the Good Friday Agreement’. The Democratic Unionist Party, who won the second-most seats in recent elections, is refusing to set up a new ruling Northern Ireland executive with Sinn Féin, who won the most seats, until changes are made to the protocol.

Published in Europe
Friday, 20 May 2022 00:04

NI protocol and Brexit changes

Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, has warned Boris Johnson against any move to change the Northern Ireland protocol. He said, ‘What we can’t do is accept that the British government would act unilaterally, they would pass legislation to effectively breach international law, to set aside elements of a treaty that this prime minister designed and put in place. That would cause more problems than it would solve.’  Foreign minister Liz Truss, announcing a new law to change the post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland, insisted it would be legal under international law. She said the proposed legislation would make changes to the deal - rather than scrapping it - to resolve ‘the grave situation in Northern Ireland’. But in response, the EU said it would ‘need to respond with all measures at its disposal’ if the UK went ahead with the legislation. Pray that all decisions will be according to God’s plans.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 03 February 2022 20:51

EU considering nuclear and gas as sustainable

Nuclear and natural gas energy plants could be counted as ‘green energy’ under new controversial EU plans. The European Commission has decided that both types of energy can classify as ‘sustainable investment’ if they meet certain targets. But the move has divided the EU and been fiercely opposed by some members. For instance Austria's chancellor said, ‘Nuclear power is neither green nor sustainable’. Spain also strongly objects, but objections are balanced by support from nuclear-using nations such as France. Classifying natural gas as ‘sustainable’ also has supporters in countries still relying on coal for energy (such as Poland) who would benefit from incentives to move to a relatively cleaner supply. Green parties are fiercely campaigning against the plan. But the European Commissioner said, ‘We need to use all the tools at our disposal’ to reach the climate-neutral target’.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 13 January 2022 20:46

Lorry jams - new Brexit red tape

Lorries bringing goods from the EU to the UK are stuck in customs controls for days due to new Brexit red tape. Queues of up to eight hours cause delivery delays as firms struggle with Brexit rules which came into force on 1 January. Jordan Freight has had two trucks containing automobile parts stuck at Felixstowe customs controls for four days after arriving in the UK. The driver was allowed to leave the port, but the goods are stuck there. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said they were just too busy to deal with it. Customs experts say problems are partly due to the government’s new IT system. All EU imports must now be processed using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) managed by HMRC. Many drivers have been unable to get their reference codes accepted.

Published in British Isles

Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabriel Landsbergis has warned that reducing NATO troop numbers in the region could worsen the security situation. Prompted by fears of a Russian invasion sparked by 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, he said the EU needed to be ‘more involved’ and offer solutions to the crisis. He also called on the EU to review its sanctions against Russia and Belarus to close loopholes and make sure they still had teeth. Lithuania was in ‘constant contact’ with the US during its talks with Russia, and the US had offered a high level of transparency over the negotiations, which did not involve the EU. There is speculation that the US could reduce troops in return for a similar drop in Russian military numbers on the Ukraine border. But Mr Landsbergis warned against any moves to reduce NATO troop numbers in the region. ‘There is this sense of rebuilding the Soviet Union 2.0,’ he said, pointing to Russian troops in Georgia, parts of Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 28 October 2021 21:52

Northern Ireland hostage over 'fish wars'

France is threatening to block any UK-EU deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol unless the row over post-Brexit fishing licences is resolved in Paris’s favour. With presidential elections next year, he cannot afford to sell out his fishermen, as many hail from a stronghold of his rival Marine Le Pen. Macron has trodden this path before. In 2019, he blocked extending Brexit negotiations, risking a no deal to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. In 2020 he threatened to veto any Brexit trade deal that did not satisfy French fishermen, ratcheting up pressure on London. Judging by the negative reactions of the British fishing industry to the trade deal, the tactic worked. Now he is threatening extremely delicate negotiations over the NI Protocol. There is a greater risk now of the UK triggering Article 16 of the protocol than any time before. France also threatened to block the UK from joining the EU’s research programme. See

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 23 September 2021 21:56

Greece: migrants moved to EU-funded 'controlled' camps

Officials have started moving asylum-seekers to a new migrant camp on the island of Samos, Zervou, despite activists complaining that access controls are too harsh. A double barbed-wire fence surrounds the camp with surveillance cameras, X-ray scanners and magnetic doors. During the 2015/16 migrant crisis the previous camp on Samos sheltered 7,000 asylum-seekers despite its capacity being just 680. Campaigners had long denounced conditions there as deplorable. On 20 September at Zervou’s entrance police lined up the first residents, checking for weapons or dangerous objects. Asylum personnel handed out bedsheets and showed the migrants how to use the gate's magnetic entry cards. The new Samos facility is the first of several such camps on five Greek islands created with EU funds. All the ‘closed controlled’ camps can only be entered via fingerprint scans and electronic badges. Gates will remain closed at night and disciplinary measures await those who return after 8 pm.

Published in Europe

The 2 July ‘Joint Declaration on the Future of the EU’ represents a significant endeavour by Eurosceptics to oppose efforts by European federalists to transform the EU into a godless multicultural superstate. The leaders of sixteen European political parties have announced an unprecedented alliance to defend the sovereignty of European nation states, protect the nuclear family, and preserve traditional Judeo-Christian values. The leader of Spain's conservative party said, ‘The EU's “Conference on the Future of Europe” has already written its conclusions. It seeks the forced federalisation of the EU against the true will of European nations and apart from the national parliaments. We do not want a federal Europe in which all decisions are made in Brussels. The EU is becoming a superstate carrying out cultural and religious transformations without tradition and attempting to change moral principles.’

Published in Europe
Thursday, 17 June 2021 21:45

EU - UK sausage spat sizzles at summit

The UK has accused France of the ‘offensive’ remark that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK. Since 2016 the two sides have been trying to work out how to deal with post-Brexit trade and Northern Ireland’s land border with the EU. The latest spat is centered on sausages. When Boris Johnson met Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit, he asked him to imagine if Toulouse sausages were barred from sale in Paris, which left Macron ‘astonished’. He told him Toulouse is part of the same territory, and inaccurately said, ‘Northern Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom’. Johnson furiously replied, ‘Northern Ireland and Britain are part of the same country.’ After the testy exchange Johnson told the media, ‘Some of our friends seem to misunderstand that the UK is a single country and a single territory. I think they need to get that into their heads.’

Published in Europe
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