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BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:13 am

Labour conference: Brexit vote decision sparks anger.

Pro-EU Labour MPs have expressed anger after no Brexit motions were chosen to be voted on at party conference.

Instead, delegates chose Grenfell Tower, rail, growth and investment, public sector pay, workers' rights, the NHS, housing and social care.

Party sources said there would be no vote on contentious issues such as single market membership.

But shadow chancellor John McDonnell said there would be a debate on Brexit and a "very thorough" one.

He said: "There will be the normal report from the national executive committee and if people want to vote on that they can."     More in link.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41378928?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=twitter
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:04 pm

Emboldened UK Labour Party divided over the B-word: Brexit.

BRIGHTON, England (AP) — Ben Asson drove 200 miles (320 kilometers) and slept in his car to deliver a message to Britain's Labour Party and its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn. The brewer from Wales stood outside the seaside conference center hosting the opposition party's annual gathering with a hand-written sign: "Get real, JC. Stop riding the fence. Stand up for our EU rights."

"Brexit is the biggest question," said Asson, who wants a new referendum on membership in the bloc. "Everything else is just moving around the deckchairs on the Titanic." Some 48 percent of British voters backed staying in the European Union in last year's referendum, and many of them hope the country's main opposition party can soften or stop Brexit. Hundreds of demonstrators marched past the conference on Sunday, urging Labour to back an "exit from Brexit."

But the party is hesitating over picking up the anti-Brexit mantle. Labour has yet to decide whether it wants the U.K. to be in the EU, semi-detached or fully outside the bloc. Pro-EU party members failed to get a vote on Brexit policy onto the agenda at the four-day conference, which runs until Wednesday in the English seaside city of Brighton.

Labour finance spokesman John McDonnell, a Corbyn ally, said Monday said there needed to be "a bit more consensus-building" before a decision. But lawmaker Heidi Alexander said Labour looked like "a laughing stock" for dodging the issue.

The Brexit divide is clouding what should be an upbeat gathering. Labour stunned pundits and pollsters in June's snap election by reducing Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives to a minority administration.

Labour's old-school socialist policies — nationalizing railways, scrapping university fees, giving all children free school lunches — appealed to many voters weary after seven years of spending cuts by the Conservative government.

While Labour didn't win, its result far outstripped expectations, and made the 68-year-old Corbyn a hero to the party's growing and increasingly youthful membership. The bearded, no-frills Corbyn is greeted like a rock star at mass rallies across the country. As the conference opened Sunday, delegates in the auditorium belted out his now-ubiquitous theme song: "Oh, Jeremy Corbyn," sung to the riff from the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army."

Some grass-roots Labour members feel like they've got their party back after the slick, centrist "New Labour" years under former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his successors. "It used be very suit-orientated," said delegate Andrew Ward, sporting a kilt, a red Labour t-shirt and multiple facial piercings. "It's not now. It's very inclusive of young people. It's for everybody."

Many Labour lawmakers and party officials are less enthusiastic about the party's new direction — and Corbyn's position on the EU is one reason why. Corbyn opposed Britain joining the bloc in the 1970s, and he was a half-hearted campaigner for remaining during last year's referendum.

Many in the party want to keep Britain's economy close to the EU after Brexit by staying inside the bloc's single market in goods and services and its tariff-free customs union. But Corbyn says staying in the single market could tie the hands of a future Labour government by limiting state aid to industry.

He also says a Labour government would limit immigration, a repudiation of the EU principle of free movement. Some in the party worry that Labour is betraying its internationalist principles. "We are not being honest about the cost of Brexit," lawmaker Seema Malhotra told a meeting at the conference. "In my local hospital, there's a 15 percent vacancy rate for doctors and nurses" as EU citizens begin to leave.

She said Europeans have begun to feel unwelcome in Britain, "and that is an outrageous message for us to be sending." So far, Labour has committed only to staying in the single market and customs union during a limited transition period after Brexit.

That is also the view of the government. May said last week that Britain is willing to keep paying into EU coffers, and abiding by EU rules, for two years after the U.K. formally leaves the bloc in March 2019.

The party's ambiguity on Brexit is, in a sense, pragmatic. Labour leaders are trying to appeal to "remain" voters in London and other big cities, and to people in struggling former industrial towns who voted to leave.

For now, Labour is waiting — to see whether the divorce negotiations grind to a halt, or whether May's challengers in the Conservative Party try to topple her. "What I'm hoping is that there will be a general election before these negotiations are over," said Labour's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer. "So that we can take over the negotiations and we can fight for the sort of relationship with Europe that we believe in."

The precise details of that relationship remain to be seen.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  bb1 on Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:42 pm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/john-mcdonnell-brexit-labour-party-conference-backroom-fix-eu-shadow-chancellor-a7965401.html

ohn McDonnell has denied a backroom “fix” to block a vote on Brexit policy at Labour’s conference, insisting he is trying to “build a consensus”.

The Shadow Chancellor described the list of priority issues that will be debated – which excludes EU withdrawal – as “democracy at work”, because it was decided by delegates in Brighton.

Labour campaigners for permanent membership of the EU single market were furious after they were denied an attempt to shift party policy.


READ MORE
Labour MP brands party a 'laughing stock' for failure to debate Brexit
One, former shadow Cabinet member Heidi Alexander, branded her own party “a laughing stock” for ignoring the biggest political issue of the day.
etc.

I find it astounding that so many of the Jezza fans somehow failed to notice that he's no great fan of the current EU setup.

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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:03 am

Corbyn Says Labour Ready to Run U.K. as Euphoria Overtakes Party.

Labour is ready to rule, Jeremy Corbyn will tell activists at the end of a conference that cemented the main opposition leader’s position as the standard bearer of a socialist revival in British politics.

The convention hall and meeting rooms across Brighton, southern England, echoed with chants of his name as scarves, T-shirts and comic books for sale celebrated the politician-cum-pop-icon and his completion of the left-wing project to wrest back control of the 117-year-old party after its shift to the center under Tony Blair. More at link.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-26/corbyn-says-labour-ready-to-run-u-k-as-euphoria-overtakes-party
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  bb1 on Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:26 am

I detest personality cults.

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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:49 pm

EU moving ahead faster on new future than on Brexit talks.

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The European Union nations, minus Britain, will be coming up with clear options on a more tightly knit future for themselves even before they will allow divorce negotiations with the UK to move toward brokering a new relationship.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Friday he would be presenting "a political agenda in two weeks' time," after comments in recent weeks from French President Emmanuel Macron, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and others on how to the reform the bloc.

That will be just days before the next EU summit is expected to reject British demands to start negotiating on its future links with the bloc alongside the current talks on how to make the cleanest Brexit possible.

Officials said Tusk will be tasked to reconcile Macron's vision of how the EU should embrace a joint budget, shared military force and harmonized taxes to stay globally relevant with those of nations that might not want to move too quickly.

Tusk said he would seek "real solutions to real problems" and stress the need to make progress "step-by-step, issue-by-issue." A good start was a non-confrontational dinner Thursday night, where few of the usual east-west or north-south fissures spoiled the atmosphere, officials said.

The goodwill has not the been the same on Brexit over the past months. Leaders at the Oct. 19-20 summit have to say whether "sufficient progress" has been achieved on divorce isssues like citizens' rights, the Irish border and a financial settlement to grant the U.K. its wish to start talking about a new trade deal with the EU.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it will take "a miracle" for there to be sufficient progress by then, despite a round of negotiations in Brussels this week that ended with some progress.

Other leaders sounded a similar tone. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that despite "a better vibe and a better mood coming out of the negotiations" he questioned whether the time was right. "It's still very evident that there's more work to be done."

For the past week, though, British Prime Minister Theresa May has sounded more conciliatory, and in Estonia guaranteed her country's commitment to security even though the nation is leaving the bloc. May visited troops in Estonia close to the Russian border early Friday and said that "the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe's security."

She added that "we will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism and natural or man-made disasters." She also proposed a "new security partnership" intended to survive the divorce when her country leaves the bloc in 2019.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:34 pm

Pro-Brexit party picks leader, rejects anti-Islam candidate.

LONDON (AP) — The weakened U.K. Independence Party on Friday announced that former Army officer Henry Bolton will be its fourth leader in just over one year. Anne Marie Waters, an openly anti-Islam candidate who had divided the party, finished second in the leadership contest. She leads a group called Sharia Watch UK that characterizes the spread of Islam as a threat to Britain.

Waters' defeat indicates the party is likely to keep its focus on Brexit instead of expanding it to include Islam. Bolton said after his unexpected victory that securing Britain's rapid exit from the European Union is the party's "core task." He said Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative-led government had so far failed to deliver on the Brexit mandate that voters wanted.

Britain and the European Union are currently negotiating the terms of Britain's departure. The slow pace of the exit talks has frustrated UKIP supporters, who want an immediate break with the EU. "We want the right to self-determination," Bolton said, calling for an end to decisions affecting Britain being made in a foreign capital. EU headquarters are in Brussels.

Bolton is expected to give his first major speech at a party conference on Saturday in Torquay, an English coastal town 215 miles (345 kilometers) southwest of London. UKIP has struggled since achieving its aim of winning public support for a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union.

It scored less than 2 percent of the votes in Britain's June election — down from more than 12 percent in the election two years earlier — and holds no seats in the British Parliament despite having some representation in the European Parliament.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who led the party's successful Brexit campaign, had warned UKIP would be "finished" if it embraced an anti-Islam platform.

This version has been corrected to show that UKIP earned 12 percent of the vote two years ago, not last year.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  bb1 on Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:00 pm

Not much point in them now....

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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:53 pm

Boris Johnson Puts His Foot In His Mouth, This Time On Camera.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidschrieberg1/2017/09/30/boris-johnson-puts-his-foot-in-his-mouth-this-time-on-camera/#b06b8c049a3b

And that has pretensions to be the next PM? The ultimate bookends, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. LL
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:33 pm

Leaving EU with no trade deal will hit UK industries hard.

LONDON (AP) — Britain would be hurt more than the European Union if it leaves the EU without a trade deal, according to a study released Sunday amid suggestions that Britain should walk away from Brexit talks because of the inflexibility of the bloc's negotiators.

Four of Britain's key manufacturing industries — automobiles, technology, health care and consumer goods — would lose 17 billion pounds ($23 billion) of exports annually if trade between the two sides reverts to World Trade Organization rules, according to the study by international law firm Baker McKenzie.

While the EU accounts for 49 percent of British exports by the four industries, Britain buys just 9 percent of the goods shipped abroad by the same sectors in the EU, the study found. "We have heard a lot about how much Europe exports to the U.K., for example, in the automotive sector," Ross Denton, a Baker McKenzie partner who specializes in trade issues, SAID. "That may be true in numerical terms, but when you look at this as a percentage of their trade, you can clearly see that the EU exports a lot more broadly, to a whole host of other markets, and consequently, it is far less dependent on the U.K. as a market than the U.K. is on it."

As a member of the EU, Britain currently enjoys tariff-free trade with the EU's market of more than 500 million people. Some leading members of Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party suggested last week that Britain should end its Brexit talks with the EU if there is no concrete progress by Christmas.

The government should also be clear that it is prepared to allow WTO rules to take effect on the day Britain leaves the EU — making a so-called "hard Brexit" — to give clarity to businesses and investors who are planning for the future, according to the Leave Means Leave campaign.

"Brussels cannot be allowed to boss Britain around," co-founder Richard Tice said. "It's time we showed how ready we are to walk away." The Baker McKenzie study, produced in conjunction with the consulting firm Oxford Economics, found that WTO rules would result in tariffs and trade barriers such as increased paperwork that would drive up the cost of British goods and force EU consumers to look for alternatives.

There is also a "significant risk" that U.K.-based manufacturers will relocate to EU member countries after Brexit, because many of them are owned by foreign investors, Baker McKenzie said. More than half of the companies that make up Britain's automotive industry and 44 percent of its health care sector are owned by non-EU parent companies, according to the study.

"These companies were likely motivated to base their operations in the U.K. because of the single market access it offered and could seek to relocate if that market access is revoked," the report said.

May's government wants to negotiate a free trade deal that would preserve similar access for British companies after Brexit. But progress has been slow in the face of EU demands that Britain resolve questions about its financial commitments to the bloc, the future status of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border and citizens' rights before there is any discussion of future relationship terms.

EU leaders are expected to decide during an Oct. 19-20 summit whether there has been "sufficient progress" in the negotiations to move onto trade issues. If Britain doesn't manage to negotiate a trade deal with the EU, it could try to offset the projected losses by increasing trade with other countries.

The U.S. and China — the world's two largest economies — are the most important places for Britain to expand trade, followed by Japan, Canada and Korea, Baker McKenzie said. Britain would have to increase exports to these countries by 60 percent to make up for shipments to the EU that would be lost under WTO rules, the law firm said. To meet this goal Britain must negotiate a series of free trade deals, but it can't do so as long as it is a member of the EU.

"The UK is caught between a rock and a hard place on Brexit," Samantha Mobley, Baker McKenzie's London chief for EU and trade issues, said. "Our data shows that the U.K. needs to begin the very lengthy process of negotiating free trade agreements with third country markets now in order to mitigate the cliff-edge effect of the fall in trade in case no EU agreement kicks in immediately."
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:24 pm

Theresa May's Brexit plans in ruins after France and Germany 'reject transitional arrangement'.

Paris and Berlin will reportedly reject requests for Brexit talks to move on to a possible transitional arrangement until the so-called “divorce bill” is settled, in a huge setback to Theresa May after her well received speech in Florence.

In that speech, the Prime Minister proposed a two-year transitional period after the UK leaves the EU, in a bid to break the deadlock of the negotiations.

But, according to the Financial Times, any hope of moving on to discussion of establishing a transitional deal will be effectively vetoed by France and Germany, until the question the UK’s exit settlement is fully agreed.

The UK has consistently argued said that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” making the point that it is hard to agree on the size of the UK’s financial obligations to the EU until future trading terms are known.

Theresa May said in Florence that the UK would continue current payments to the EU until 2021, and would stay in the single market during that time.

But, according to the FT, when the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier met ambassadors from 27 EU countries the plan was rejected by Berlin and Paris, leaving it all but dead in the water.

Mrs May’s speech in Florence two weeks had been considered an effective intervention in unlocking the talks, but the Prime Minister has since lost momentum after her disastrous Conservative party conference speech, which has caused news to surface of fresh plots to remove her as party leader, further damaging her credibility in Brussels and elsewhere in Europe.

Earlier this week, a leading association of German businesses warned German companies operating in the UK to start preparing for a "very hard Brexit", in which the UK left the EU with no trading arrangements in place. This would lead to the immediate imposition of large tariffs on cars and other goods, and the possibility of customs checks and huge tailbacks at Dover.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/fresh-blow-theresa-may-apos-101900251.html
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:45 am

Brexit: Business leaders call for swift transition deal.

Britain's five biggest business lobby groups are calling for an urgent Brexit transition deal, or they warn the UK risks losing jobs and investment.

In a joint letter being sent to Brexit Secretary David Davis, the groups, including the Institute of Directors and CBI, will say time is running out.

Sources told the BBC the letter is still in draft form, but will be sent in the next day or two.

A government spokesman said the talks were "making real, tangible progress".

The other lobby groups backing the letter are the British Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the EEF manufacturing body.

Together they represent companies employing millions of workers.

There has been a growing anxiety among businesses at what they see as a lack of progress in the Brexit negotiations.

One of the five groups told the BBC it was felt a joint letter would "emphasise our wish for a deal and clarity".

They say it is important that the Brexit transition period matches as closely as possible current trading arrangements with the EU.

Theresa May has suggested a period of about two years, with the UK and EU trading on broadly similar terms to now and payments to Brussels to meet Britain's budget commitments.

But although EU negotiators have agreed to start preliminary work on a future relationship, they still want more concessions on the UK's so-called "divorce payment" before starting talks on trade and transition.

Sky News and the Guardian reported they had seen the draft letter, which says an agreement on a transition "is needed as soon as possible, as companies are preparing to make serious decisions at the start of 2018, which will have consequences for jobs and investment in the UK".

The letter reportedly adds: "It is vital that companies only have to undertake one adjustment as a result of the UK's withdrawal, not two - and that businesses, the UK government and authorities in the EU have enough time to make the changes needed to deliver Brexit successfully."

The BBC understands that the business groups want the contents of the letter to remain private.

Concern about the loss of UK jobs and investment was underlined last week when the boss of investment banking giant Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, tweeted that he will be "spending a lot more time" in Frankfurt.

Goldman, which employs about 6,000 people in London, is building up its presence in the German financial city ahead of Brexit.

Earlier this month, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, Sam Woods, warned that the UK and the EU must agree a transition deal by Christmas or companies would start triggering contingency plans.

And in a survey released on Monday, the EEF said that Brexit uncertainty was holding back the plans of manufacturing firms to invest in new plant and machinery.

The EEF said the outlook for investment among its members was "finely balanced", with 51% intending to spend more in the next two years. For the rest, uncertainty over the UK's exit from the EU was holding back planned spending.

Mr Davis is due to travel to Paris for Brexit talks on Monday after France appeared to emerge as the most hardline EU member state when it comes to the divorce bill.

The prime minister is also due to update the Commons on Monday on the progress made during last week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

It is thought that Mrs May will say that negotiations are "deeply technical", but she has not forgotten that the lives of millions of people are at the heart of the process.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said the prime minister proposed a strictly time-limited implementation period in her Florence speech and had been clear that agreeing this principle early in the process would minimise unnecessary disruption to businesses.

He said: "We are making real and tangible progress in a number of vital areas in negotiations. However, many of the issues that remain are linked to the discussions we need to have on our future relationship.

"That is why we are pleased that the EU has now agreed to start internal preparatory discussions on the framework for transitional arrangements as well as our future partnership."
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Sabot on Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:15 am


Things progress at their usual slow rate here. My son has just received his Carte Vital, which would suggest that no one is thinking of kicking him out any time soon. And he has only been here since June 2016.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:26 am

Sabot wrote:
Things progress at their usual slow rate here.  My son has just received his Carte Vital, which would suggest that no one is thinking of kicking him out any time soon. And he has only been here since June 2016.
Glad to hear that - now we just sit and wait .... LL
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Sabot on Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:54 am


Due entirely to my son's involvement with The French State, they, The French State are now paying the bulk of my Health Insurance, a portion of my Electricity Bill and I now have access to the local Food Bank. I have not solicited any of this. The French State offered it to me. And I wasn't about to turn it down.

I presume that this has happened because they became aware of the fact that I was supporting my son while he looked for work, and that in fact my British State Pension was insufficient to support even me.

This is not entirely true of course. Being a life long member of The Parsimony Club I long ago learned how to survive on a shoe string. And even when I did have money it was being spent on School Fees. It merely reflects the attitude of The French State to what level of income is acceptable and what isn't. The British State Pension isn't, in their opinion.

I simply do not believe that France, at least, is about to abandon a 78 year old woman who has lived here and paid taxes for 25 years. Nor are they going to throw out a 50 year old man who is now working and paying his own taxes, albeit not a lot at the moment. Things can only improve on that front.

Nor do I believe that Britain wants rid of EU Citizens, or wants me back. I for starters would cost Britain far more in Britain than I am at the moment. And since most ExPats are retired, I don't suppose that Britain wants them back either.

And of course, since most EU Citizens in Britain are actually working and contributing, why would Britain want rid of them?

Such a lot of scare mongering is going on, mainly aided and abetted by Brussels, who are frightened silly because everyone in The EU has had just about enough of their stupid rules.

I won't bore you with the saga of my Septic Tank. Suffice to say that France can't and won't force me to do anything about a Septic Tank that actually works, although much in an ancient way. Although the fact that my Pug fell in the Shit Tank while they were inspecting it might have helped.

The dog survived, by the way. I nearly didn't. I nearly died laughing once they had hoiked her out covered in shit. Poor little soul.

A Trade Deal? I probably don't know enough about the intricacies of this. But what sense does it make to stop trading between two States that need each other? Bearing in mind, of course, that half of the rest of The World can hardly wait to do deals with Britain.

I expect that the rules will have to change somewhat. But I don't expect to be able to buy half decent Tea Bags, or Branston Pickle, what ever happens. I get the Tea Bags shipped over by friends. I do without Branston Pickle.

So, in my opinion, all will be well in the long run. And I suspect that Britain should never have joined in the first place.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Sabot on Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:02 pm

By the way, I didn't vote in that original Referendum. No where near enough information for me, so I thought that they were trying to put one over on me. I probably wasn't wrong about that..
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:13 pm

Sabot wrote:By the way, I didn't vote in that  original Referendum.  No where near enough information for me, so I thought that they were trying to put one over on me. I probably wasn't wrong about that..
I voted as I have always considered myself first and foremost as European. LL
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Sabot on Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:19 pm

Lamplighter wrote:
Sabot wrote:By the way, I didn't vote in that  original Referendum.  No where near enough information for me, so I thought that they were trying to put one over on me. I probably wasn't wrong about that..
I voted as I have always considered myself first and foremost as European. LL

Well, I am a European now, LL. But I wasn't in those days. And I still don't think it was good for Britain..
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:31 am

Brexit talks to resume as UK deal likely to favor EU.

LONDON (AP) — Exit talks between Britain and the European Union will resume next week, the two sides announced Tuesday, as U.K. Brexit chief David Davis said the divorce settlement is likely to favor the EU financially.

The EU and Britain's Brexit department said in a joint statement that the two sides will meet Nov. 9 and 10 for a sixth round of negotiations. Five previous rounds overseen by Davis and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier have failed to resolve big differences on key issues, including the amount Britain must pay to settle its financial obligations to the 28-nation bloc. Britain has suggested a figure of about 20 billion euros ($23 billion), while the EU side puts it at 60 billion euros ($70 billion) or more.

The U.K. is due to leave the EU in March 2019, and the stagnating talks have raised fears it could crash out without a deal, with huge economic and legal consequences. Britain hopes EU leaders will declare at a meeting in December that talks have made enough progress on divorce terms to move onto future relations and trade.

Davis insisted Tuesday he is confident Britain is "on timetable" to get a good outcome by March 2019. In a hint that Britain is preparing to raise its offer on the Brexit bill, Davis told a parliamentary committee that "the withdrawal agreement, on balance, will probably favor the Union in terms of things like money and so on."

He added that "the future relationship will favor both sides and will be important to both of us." He also rebuffed allegations that Britain is unprepared for Brexit, saying the tax and customs department would recruit as many as 5,000 new staff next year to deal with expected changes.

The government also says it has committed more than 1.3 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) to cover Brexit costs until 2022. Britain voted by 52 percent to 48 percent in June 2016 to leave the EU, and the country remains deeply divided over the issue.

On Tuesday the U.K. statistics agency said one of the chief claims by Brexit advocates during the referendum was wide of the mark. The Office for National Statistics said Britain's net transfer to the EU in 2016 was 9.4 billion pounds ($12.4 billion). That's about 180 million pounds per week, around half the 350 million pounds the Vote Leave campaign said could be saved in case of Brexit and spent on health care.

That claim is seen to have boosted support for the campaign for Britain to leave the EU.
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Post  Lamplighter on Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:57 am

EU tells UK: No trade talks without progress on Irish border.

LONDON (AP) — The European Union warned Britain on Friday that it must outline by next week how it plans to keep an open Irish border after Brexit or the bloc will refuse to start negotiating a new trade deal with the U.K.

Standing alongside European Council President Donald Tusk in Dublin, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the U.K. must offer "credible, concrete and workable solutions that guarantee there will no hard border" between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic after Britain leaves the EU in 2019.

Tusk said British Prime Minister Theresa May had until Monday to present her "final offer" on divorce terms so that the 27 other EU leaders can assess it before a crucial Dec. 14-15 summit in Brussels. That meeting will decide whether there has been enough progress to move on to discussing future relations and trade.

Tusk said the whole EU was behind Ireland on the need for a border plan — dashing British hopes that some member states might be prepared to compromise. "Let me say very clearly: if the U.K.'s offer is unacceptable for Ireland, it will also be unacceptable for the EU," Tusk said.

"The key to the U.K.'s future lies — in some ways — in Dublin," he added. The EU and the U.K. are nearing agreement on some divorce terms, including the size of the bill that Britain must pay as it leaves and the rights of citizens affected by Brexit. But the border issue has proved more intractable.

After Britain leaves the bloc, the currently invisible 310-mile (500-kilometer) frontier will be the U.K.'s only land border with an EU country. Britain says it wants to maintain a "frictionless" flow of people and goods with no border posts. But Ireland is demanding to know how that will work if Britain is outside the EU's borderless single market and tariff-free customs union.

Varadkar said he was "an optimist by nature" and believed a breakthrough was possible. "We don't have long, but I believe with the right engagement and the right political will we can reach an agreement on the way ahead," he said.

However, he added he was "prepared to stand firm ... if the U.K. offer falls short." Any hurdles to the movement of people or goods could have serious implications for the economies on both sides, and for Northern Ireland's peace process. The military checkpoints and customs posts imposed during Northern Ireland's "Troubles" have vanished since a peace accord was signed in 1998, and trade across the border has thrived. Thousands of people live on one side and work on the other, or cross daily to shop or socialize.

"We have grown used to a border that is largely invisible," Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters Friday. "We have an all-island economy." "We cannot allow an unintended consequence of Brexit to be an undermining of that relationship in future," he added.

One suggested solution is to allow Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union when the rest of the U.K. leaves. But that idea is an anathema to Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party — and May's minority government relies on DUP support to stay in power.

The U.K. Parliament's Brexit committee warned Friday that despite government promises, it may be impossible to avoid border checks after Brexit. Committee chairman Hilary Benn said "we cannot at present see how leaving the customs union and the single market can be reconciled with there being no border or infrastructure."
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Post  Lamplighter on Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:18 am

Britain, EU in Brexit breakthrough; eye talks on future ties.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Britain and the European Union made a significant step forward Friday in Brexit talks, officials said, after a flurry of overnight diplomacy by phone bridged differences over the Irish border.

"I believe that we have now made the breakthrough that we needed," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

But the agreement doesn't give details of how the thorny border issue will be solved, noting that much depends on the outcome of trade talks between Britain and the EU. Its crucial passages promise that whatever happens, the U.K. will maintain "full regulatory alignment" with the bloc on issues affecting Ireland.

Exactly what that means will be fought over by politicians and negotiators in the months to come. Juncker said that he would recommend to European Union leaders that "sufficient progress has been achieved" on the terms of the divorce to starting talking about issues like future relations and trade.

EU leaders meet in Brussels on Dec. 14 and are likely to endorse the assessment that enough progress has been made on the terms of Britain's financial settlement, the status of Irish borders and the rights of citizens hit by Brexit.

"I am hopeful, sure, confident, sure, that they will share our appraisal and allow us to move on the next phase of the negotiations," Juncker said. May said: "I very much welcome the prospect of moving ahead to the next phase, to talk about trade and security and to discuss the positive and ambitious future relationship that is in all of our interests,"

"I hope and expect we will be able to get the endorsement of the 27," she said, referring to the other EU countries. Juncker repeated that he didn't want Britain to leave the EU — the first time a member country has ever done so — saying "I will always be sad about this development but now we must start looking for the future."

Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, but negotiations must be wrapped up within a year to leave time for parliaments to endorse any deal. Business leaders warn further delays will hurt companies as they plan for the future.

Existing rules allow people and goods to pass freely between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland with no border checks. Ireland wants to preserve the current arrangement, which has eased tensions along the border. May is struggling to balance those demands against the concerns of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which she relies on to support her government in Parliament.

May said that Northern Ireland has "a set of unique circumstances" because it has the U.K.'s only land border with an EU country. The border issue has been threatening to derail the divorce talks. Earlier this week, the DUP scuttled a deal between the U.K and the bloc, prompting the frantic diplomacy.

May said Friday that the agreement would maintain an open border while preserving the constitutional and economic integrity of the U.K. DUP leader Arlene Foster appeared satisfied Friday, saying that the agreement gave "very clear confirmation that the entirety of the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union."

May also met with European Council President Donald Tusk, who will chair next Thursday's summit, and Tusk said the EU and London must now start negotiating a transition period to ease Britain's way out of the bloc during a time of legal uncertainty after in 2019.

Tusk noted that Britain has asked for a two-year bridging period, he laid out conditions for that to happen. "I propose that during this period the U.K. will respect the whole of EU law, including new law, it will respect budget commitments, it will respect judicial oversight and of course all related obligations," he told reporters.

Tusk also said he has sent guidelines to EU leaders on how he thinks phase two of the Brexit talks should be handled. Meanwhile, British business groups were expressing relief that Brexit talks finally look set to start discussing the future shape of trade and economic relations.

Stephen Martin, who heads U.K. business group the Institute of Directors, said "it went right down to the wire, but businesses will be breathing a huge sigh of relief." Adam Marshall, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said that "after the noise and political brinksmanship of recent days, news of a breakthrough in the negotiations will be warmly welcomed by companies across the U.K."
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Post  Lamplighter on Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:44 pm

A look at the key points in the Brexit deal.

LONDON (AP) — From the Irish border to the divorce bill, the deal struck Friday between Britain and the European Union covers the main terms of divorce. It also paves the way for the two sides to start negotiating on the key points of their future relationship, such as trade.

Here's a look at the key points in the deal.

THE IRISH BORDER

-Britain, including Northern Ireland, will leave the EU tariff-less single market and customs union.

-The deal commits to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. A hard border might include physical infrastructure and controls. It is not clear how this can be reconciled with Britain's exit from the single market and customs union.

-A deal would ensure "full alignment" between Northern Ireland and the rules of the EU single market and customs union in order to honor the Good Friday agreement of 1998 that ensures peace in the region.

-It affirms that "no new regulatory barriers" will be allowed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. This commitment was made to satisfy Prime Minister Theresa May's allies in Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.

EU CITIZENS

-EU citizens in the U.K. get the right to stay, as do U.K. citizens living in the EU.

-The European Court of Justice will have a role in overseeing the rights of EU citizens in the U.K. for eight years after Brexit.


SHOW ME THE MONEY

-Britain will not pay a lump sum to the EU to meet its financial obligations, but pay over time.

-The agreement doesn't offer a specific figure for how much Britain will end up paying. Britain's Press Association, quoting senior sources, put the financial settlement at between 35 billion pounds to 39 billion pounds (40-45 billion euros, $47 billion-$52 billion).

-Britain will contribute to the EU budget through 2020 as if it had remained fully in the bloc.
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Re: BREXIT: UP-TO-DATE NEWS AS IT HAPPENS

Post  Sabot on Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:43 am


Well, that doesn't sound to bad. Not that I have ever been worried about my right to remain in France.
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Post  Lamplighter on Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:01 pm

Brexit secretary says a no-deal Brexit now less likely.

LONDON (AP) — The man in charge of Britain's departure from the European Union says the chances the country will leave the 28-nation bloc with no trade deal have "dropped dramatically" after the two sides reached a preliminary agreement on divorce terms.

David Davis told the BBC on Sunday that the deal hammered out by British Prime Minister Theresa May last week means Brexit talks can now move onto the next phase, giving Britain enough time to negotiate a free-trade agreement before it leaves the EU in March 2019. He says that makes it highly unlikely Britain will have to fall back on World Trade Organization rules that would impose tariffs on trade.

Davis says, "The odds, as it were, against a WTO, or no-deal outcome, have dropped dramatically."
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Post  Lamplighter Today at 11:14 am

What's next for Brexit as EU agrees to new talks?

BRUSSELS (AP) — Leaders of 27 European Union nations gave British Prime Minister Theresa May an early Christmas present on Friday, declaring that Brexit talks can move on to their next phase: transition and future relations. But there is hard work and uncertainty ahead when negotiations resume in the new year.

Here's a look at what's next.

WHEN DO THE TALKS START AGAIN?

Talks on phase two are set to begin in January. The early priority is to establish a transition period, probably of about two years, to ease Britain out of the EU. But the EU also wants to hear more from London about how it sees their future relations — a subject on which the British government itself is divided. Once that becomes clearer, more negotiating guidelines will have to be endorsed, probably at a summit in March.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE TRANSITION PERIOD?

After Britain officially exits the EU on March 29, 2019 it will lose its seat on the European Council, the body representing the 28 member states. It will have no more lawmakers in the European Parliament, and any judges it has on EU courts will be removed. At the same time, the EU is demanding that Britain respect all EU laws, and that Europe's top court, the European Court of Justice, should remain the arbiter of any disputes. In essence, it means that Britain will have to obey the rules without having any say until 2021.

WHAT KIND OF TRADE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EU DOES BRITAIN WANT?

That's unclear. The British government says it doesn't want to adopt any existing model for trade: not the Norway model, which involves adhering closely to EU regulations in return for access to the single market; and not a more limited Canada-style free trade deal with the bloc. Brexit Secretary David Davis has suggested a "Canada plus plus plus" deal.

The British government itself is divided on how much economic autonomy it is willing to give up to secure close economic relations with the EU.

CAN BRITAIN FINALIZE A NEW TRADE DEAL WITH THE EU BEFORE BREXIT?

The short answer is no. It can negotiate with its EU partners, and establish the terms of its future trade relations, but no agreement can be concluded until it is completely out. By the same token, Britain cannot formalize trade agreements with other countries until it has left altogether. The EU is also wary of granting the U.K. any special trade concessions, because it has clauses in trade pacts with other countries that would force the bloc to update those deals to match.

WILL THE SECOND PHASE BE HARDER THAN THE FIRST?

That's unclear. European Council President Donald Tusk has suggested this will be the case. It seems the most complex issue remains the border between EU member state Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K. A separate stream of negotiations on this issue alone will continue throughout the second phase. At the moment, no one appears to know how Britain can leave the European single market and customs union, yet maintain free movement and trade across that border.

And time is tight. Everything has to be wrapped up next fall to leave time for parliaments to ratify any final Brexit deal before March 2019.
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