Still enough time to negotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels before Britain leaves the EU in March 2019; Prime Minister Theresa May

Boris Johnson accuses PM May of ‘dithering’ on Brexit in resignation speech. Johnson is known to have designs on leading the party, but it’s unclear how far his allies will go to see this happen.

Boris Johnson leaves his residence near Buckingham Palace in London en route to making his first speech after resigning from government last week. He said the government has ceded too much control to the EU in its Brexit plan. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Boris Johnson, in his first public comments since resigning last week as Britain’s foreign secretary, urged his party in the House of Commons on Wednesday to not abandon a hard Brexit approach while there’s still time.

“We have changed tack once, and we can change again,” said Johnson.

“We must try now, because we will not get another chance to get it right.”

Johnson said he was fully supportive of Prime Minister Theresa May in January 2017 when she laid out in an ambitious speech a desire to strike the right deal for Britain with the European Union after a majority of the public supported the break in a referendum months earlier.

But, Johnson said, “in the 18 months that have followed, it is though a fog of self-doubt has descended” on the government.

He referred to a “miserable permanent limbo of Chequers,” a reference to the country residence of the prime minister, where she emerged earlier this month with a plan to go forward that sought to strike a balance of the desires from both the pro-Brexit and pro-EU wings of her party.

Within three days of that party retreat, Johnson and the minister responsible for Brexit negotiations with the EU, David Davis, resigned from their cabinet posts. It brought the total of resignations from the May government in the last seven months, for various reasons, to seven.

May said Wednesday that talks had already started with Brussels based on the proposal set down in a white paper policy document earlier this month.

“The Chequers agreement, the white paper are the basis for our negotiation with the European Union and we have already started those negotiations,” she told Parliament.

May said her government has begun negotiations with the European Union based on her hard-won Brexit plan and that there was still enough time to negotiate a Brexit deal with Brussels before Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

In Johnson’s view, the government has ceded too much authority to Brussels, pointing specifically to a €40 billion ($61.6 billion Cdn) exit bill Britain agreed to with the EU.

“We dithered and burned through our negotiating capital,” he said.

Asked by the head of a parliamentary committee whether she would warn the public about the consequences of a “no deal” Brexit, May answered: “You have based your question on an assumption that said we were getting closer to a no deal scenario. I don’t believe that is the case. We have put forward a proposal for what the future relationship should be … and we are in negotiations on the basis of that.”

European Union is an enemy of the USA; President Donald Trump

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

President Donald Trump called the European Union a “foe” of the U.S. in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ Face The Nation.

Trump-Putin Helsinki summit

“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe,” Trump told host Jeff Glor during an interview that took place at a Trump golf course in Scotland.

“Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they’re a foe. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they’re competitors. They want to do well and we want to do well.”

Prime Minister Theresa May releases Brexit White Paper. What does it say about your rights and mine?

Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled a set of proposals detailing exactly how the UK will leave the European Union, some 260 days before we are due to leave the bloc.

The long-awaited Brexit White Paper, which sets out proposals for what Brexit could mean in practice, had already led to a string of high profile resignations, with Brexit Secretary David Davis leaving the cabinet, along with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

The long-awaited Brexit White Paper, which sets out proposals for what Brexit could mean in practice, had already led to a string of high profile resignations, with Brexit Secretary David Davis leaving the cabinet, along with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

The PM says it “delivers on the Brexit people voted for”, however, some MPs have claimed it offers a “bad deal for Britain”. So, what exactly does the paper say about our rights?

In positive news for human rights fans, the document stresses that the UK should remain “underpinned by appropriate safeguards”, including respect for human rights.

[We must] be underpinned by appropriate safeguards; respect for human rights.
The report continues that the UK remains “committed” to membership of the Human Rights Convention, which was brought into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998.

The Human Rights Convention is a series of principles that protect our most basic rights – for example, the right to life, privacy, family life and freedom of expression.

While not affected by the Brexit, some people have said that leaving the European Union could open the door to backing out of the Human Rights Convention – indeed, it was previously part of the Conservative Party’s Manifesto.

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: We are not so far from the final [Brexit Deal] agreement, 20 per cent

a man wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has said a deal is 80 per cent agreed, in an apparent softening of tone as Theresa May faces down Tory rebels over the direction Britain should take in talks.

Speaking on a visit to the United States Michel Barnier said he was determined to negotiate the remaining 20 per cent of the deal, with the Brussels deadline for an agreement now just around three months away.

“After 12 months of negotiations we have agreed on 80 per cent of the negotiations,” he told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“We are not so far from the final agreement, 20 per cent. I don’t want to put myself in the situation where we fail. But to be clear, we are prepared on the European side [for] many options, including the no deal.”

The EU official added that “time is short” to close a deal and declined to comment on the resignations, saying he did not “want to make any comment on domestic and national policy in the UK”.

The approach is in contrast to Mr Barnier’s boss, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who on Monday responded sarcastically to the idea that Ms May’s Cabinet may have finally reached a position unity.

But speaking at the think-tank Mr Barnier reiterated his early warnings that Britain could not secure a better deal than EU membership, stating: “It will be clear, crystal clear at the end of this negotiation that the best situation, the best relationship with the EU, will be to remain a member.”

China courts Europe for trade alliance to face off President Trump’s tarrifs

eu china
French President Emmanual Macron at the European Union leaders summit. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

With both China and Europe facing hefty tariffs from the United States, China is looking to the European Union to join it in putting out a joint statement against the United States ahead of the Sino-European summit in Beijing in mid-July, reports Reuters.

The big picture: So far, the European Union has rejected the idea of uniting with China against Washington on trade. The EU, which is the world’s largest trading bloc, still has hope for a multilateral trading system with China and is hoping to set up a work group to modernize the WTO.

All EU needs to do to win the trade war with US is simultaneously damage the US economy and anger Trump

As the growing trade war between the Trump administration and the rest of the worldthreatens to boil over, Europe and European companies stand to be the biggest beneficiaries — if they play their cards right.

A woman with a European Union flag during a pro-democracy demonstration at the Old Town in Warsaw, Poland. Kacper Pempel/Reuters

That’s according to some analysts at Citi, who believe the burgeoning conflict provides “a real opportunity” for Europe.

Citi’s weekly European economics note, compiled by a team led by Christian Schulz, argues that rising tariffs put in place by the Trump administration could allow European corporates to gain a competitive advantage over their American counterparts.

“Winning the trade war, albeit not from the sidelines anymore, remains a real opportunity for Europe,” the team wrote to clients late last week.

The team’s thesis centers on two arguments.

First, the belief that while tariffs will hurt the businesses of European companies in the US, it will allow them to compete more aggressively with American firms in markets like China.

Second, that the US will damage its international reputation, allowing the EU to become the global trading partner of choice for major economies.

“European companies compete with US firms in key markets such as China and could win market share at the expense of their American counterparts,” Citi’s analysts wrote.

With the US placing tariffs on Chinese goods, and China retaliating in kind, it is likely that Chinese businesses will be more inclined to do business with European companies. This would boost the profitability of major European corporates, which could also have an overall positive impact on gross domestic product.

That same favorability, Citi notes, would most likely shape European Union negotiations over trade with economies all over the world. If the US looks as if it is closing itself off from the rest of the world in terms of trade, it is unlikely that states will be keen to strike deals with it.

By positioning itself as a bastion of free trade, the EU could benefit by gaining favorable terms in trade partnerships.

“The EU’s bargaining power in free-trade talks with third countries rises as the US is no longer an attractive alternative partner,” Citi said.

If these outcomes were to materialize, there would most likely be two major consequences.

First, it could hurt the profits of US companies that lose market share to European competitors, possibly hurting the wider US economy and even global growth.

“In the event of a further noticeable deterioration in trade tensions that could curtail the pace of growth in global trade, our external demand forecasts would likely be revised down,” Citi’s team wrote.

Second, it would most likely anger President Trump, potentially leading to an even greater escalation of the conflict. Trump has not responded well to perceived slights on his policy, as illustrated recently by his angry reaction to Harley Davidson’s announcement of plans to move some production out of the US as a result of his tariffs.

Trump may have perceived Harley Davidson’s move as a personal affront, with the president having hosted company executives at the White House and praised the company for building its motorcycles in America.

Trump has shown willingness to punish those he perceives as slighting him, so European companies benefitting from the tariffs could face a similar treatment, possibly being on the end of even more tariffs in the US.

Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know

Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their familiesbrexit

The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union (EU) on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.

There is no need for EU citizens, or their family members, living in the UK to do anything now. If you would like to find out the latest information you can sign up for email updates.

An ‘implementation period’ will run from when we leave the EU to 31 December 2020. The rights of EU citizens and their families living in the UK will not change until 1 January 2021. Until this date, EU citizens will continue to be able to live here and access public funds and services as they do at the moment.

From later this year, EU citizens and their family members living in the UK will be able to start applying for UK immigration status through the new EU Settlement Scheme.

If you would like to find out when the scheme opens you can sign up for email updates.

People who are living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will have until 30 June 2021 to make an application for status under the scheme.

From 1 July 2021, EU citizens and their family members in the UK must hold or have applied for UK immigration status to be here legally.

You will not need to apply if you’re an Irish citizen, but may choose to do so if you wish. Rights for citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are currently being negotiated, but we intend that the settlement scheme will be open to them.

More information is available on what UK nationals travelling and living in Europe need to know.

EU citizens' rights flowchart

Settled status and pre-settled status

A guide to the EU Settlement Scheme for EU citizens and their family members is on GOV.UK. Details of the scheme are still subject to approval by Parliament.

Getting status under the scheme means you can continue to live and work in the UK as you can now. It will mean you will continue to be eligible for:

  • public services, such as healthcare and schools
  • public funds and pensions, according to the same rules as now
  • British citizenship, if you meet the requirements

The scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019. Your rights will not change until 2021 so there is no need for you to apply for status as soon as the scheme opens.

In most cases, eligibility for settled status will be based on whether you have lived in the UK for 5 years.

If you do not qualify for settled status because you have not lived in the UK for 5 years, you can be granted pre-settled status.

Pre-settled status will allow you to stay here for a further 5 years and you will be free to live and work here and will have the same access to public funds and services as you do now.

You can go on to apply for settled status once you have lived in the UK for 5 years.

Your application can only be refused for a reason covered in the Withdrawal Agreement.

This means that is you make a valid application you will be granted either settled or pre-settled status, unless:

  • you weren’t resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 (see note 1)
  • you’re refused on the grounds of your serious criminal convictions or for security reasons or fraud

Your existing close family members (a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living in the UK or overseas are also eligible for the scheme. You’ll need to apply on behalf of your child.

If you have a child after getting settled status, they will automatically become a British citizen if they’re born in the UK. You will not need to apply for settled status on their behalf.

Full details of the scheme are available in our statement of intent.

See our case studies for examples of how individual EU citizens’ status in the UK will be affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.

Note 1: Unless you’re an existing close family member of an EU citizen living in the UK but were living outside the UK when the UK left the EU on 31 December 2020.

Permanent residence status under EU law

Settled status will replace the current permanent residence status after the implementation period ends.

A permanent residence document confirms that you have rights under EU law. In the future, EU law will no longer apply and the migration and status of EU citizens will be subject to UK law.

You will be able to exchange this document for settled status free of charge under the EU Settlement Scheme and we won’t repeat any assessment of residence.

People who already have indefinite leave to remain

If you already have indefinite leave to remain this will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU. However, settled status gives some better rights and if you would like to, you can exchange this for settled status free of charge. If you are a non-EU citizen, you will need to provide evidence of your family relationship to an EU citizen resident in the UK.