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UK POLITICS: Labour Party Shifts on Brexit

UK POLITICS: Labour Party Shifts on Brexit

Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the party was ready to be “the grown-ups in the room” and take charge of negotiations to leave the EU, cautioning against taking anything off the table when looking at Britain’s future ties with the EU.

Starmer told hundreds of Labour members in the southern English seaside town of Brighton: “If we were in government…we would negotiate a final deal…that retained the benefits of the customs union and the single market. Subject, of course to negotiations, remaining in a form of customs union with the EU is a possible end destination for Labour.”

While challenging May’s vision for Brexit, the move also could deepen divisions in Labour, putting those who want the close economic ties of a customs union at odds to others who say the referendum vote means complete withdrawal.

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UK POLITICS: UK Not Prepared to Pay £40 to EU: David Davis Brexit Minister

UK POLITICS: UK Not Prepared to Pay £40 to EU: David Davis Brexit Minister

“I’m not going to do an actual number on air, it would be ridiculous to do that, but we have a fairly clear idea where we’re going on this,” UK Brexit Minister David Davis said.

EU claims for Britain to contribute to the bloc’s future pension pot, he said, are “debatable to say the least.”

“The last time we went through line by line and challenged quite a lot of the legal basis of these things and we’ll continue to do that.”

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UK POLITICS: Theresa May Seeks Florentine Renaissance for Deadlocked Brexit Talks

UK POLITICS: Theresa May Seeks Florentine Renaissance for Deadlocked Brexit Talks

“The UK’s departure from the EU is inevitably a difficult process, it is in all of our interests for our negotiations to succeed,” Prime Minister Theresa May will say, according to advance extracts of her speech.

“The eyes of the world are on us but if we can be imaginative and creative about the way we establish this new relationship … I believe we can be optimistic about the future we can build for the United Kingdom and for the European Union.”

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UK POLITICS: EU Wants Theresa May to Make Firm Offers Now for Brexit Deal: Barnier

UK POLITICS: EU Wants Theresa May to Make Firm Offers Now for Brexit Deal: Barnier

“We will listen attentively and constructively to Theresa May’s important speech tomorrow in Florence,” added Barnier, who holds a new round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels next week.

“A rapid agreement on the conditions of the UK’s orderly withdrawal, and a transition period, is possible … For that to happen, we would like the United Kingdom to put on the table, as soon as next week, proposals to overcome the barriers.”

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UK POLITICS: 10,000 Jobs to Leave UK if Britain is Denied Access to Europe’s Single Market

UK POLITICS: 10,000 Jobs to Leave UK if Britain is Denied Access to Europe’s Single Market

Nearly half of the companies surveyed told Reuters they would have to move staff or restructure their businesses because of Brexit, which is due to take place in March 2019. Another third said it would have no impact, and the remainder said they were still deciding on their plans or declined to comment.

The number of jobs to be moved or created overseas was based on answers from 39 companies employing at least 350,000 people. About 1.1 million people work in Britain’s financial sector.

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EUROPE POLITICS: EU Plan to Raise Taxes for Global Internet Firms Hits Snag

EUROPE POLITICS: EU Plan to Raise Taxes for Global Internet Firms Hits Snag

Estonia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, proposed a more structural solution that would permit states to tax companies where they have a digital, not just physical, presence.

The two plans could be complementary and be part of a two-step approach, the Estonian undersecretary for tax, Dmitri Jegorov, said.

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UK POLITICS: Boris Johnson Reignites Leadership Speculation with Brexit Plans

UK POLITICS: Boris Johnson Reignites Leadership Speculation with Brexit Plans

”My friends, I must report that there are at least some people who are woefully underestimating this country,“ Johnson wrote in the Daily Telegraph. ”They think Brexit isn’t going to happen.

”I am here to tell you that this country will succeed in our new national enterprise, and will succeed mightily.

“We have a glorious future.”

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UK POLITICS: You Will Regret Leaving EU: EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to UK

UK POLITICS: You Will Regret Leaving EU: EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to UK

“On March 29, 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. It will be a moment both sad and tragic. We will always regret it and you will regret it soon,” Juncker said Wednesday in his annual state of the union address before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

“Nonetheless we have to respect the will of the British people, but we will have to make progress, we will move on, because Brexit isn’t everything – it’s not the future of Europe,” he added.

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EUROPE POLITICS: Seize Brexit Chance to Forge Tighter EU Union: Juncker

EUROPE POLITICS: Seize Brexit Chance to Forge Tighter EU Union: Juncker

“The wind is back in Europe’s sails,” European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament, citing faster economic growth and the easing of a succession of crises — Greek debts, refugee crowds, Britain’s exit — that seemed to threaten the EU’s survival.

“Now we have a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open for ever,” he said, emphasizing a need to move on from and even profit from the British vote to leave the bloc come 2019.

“We will keep moving on because Brexit isn’t everything, it is not the future of Europe,” he said in a speech that Brexit supporters said showed they were right to take Britain out of a bloc set on creating more powerful, central institutions.

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: EU Seeks Australia Trade Deals By 2019: Juncker President European Commission

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: EU Seeks Australia Trade Deals By 2019: Juncker President European Commission

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said there were “good chances” that the EU would agree the main elements of a new free trade with the Mercosur countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and of an updated trade partnership with Mexico by the end of this year.

“And today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand,” Juncker told EU lawmakers.

“I want all of these agreements to be finalised by the end of this mandate. And I want them negotiated in the fullest transparency,” he added.

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UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

UK POLITICS: Cracking Deadlock on Brexit Bill May Require EU Summit Talks

A snag though is that EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is bound by his 27 national masters not even to discuss any post-Brexit arrangements until “significant progress” is made on agreeing a divorce.

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UK POLITICS: Theresa May to Appeal to EU Leaders as Brexit Talks Deadlock

UK POLITICS: Theresa May to Appeal to EU Leaders as Brexit Talks Deadlock

But there are no signs Britain is prepared to change its negotiating strategy. Speaking Thursday during a visit to Japan, Theresa May said, “I think a good trade deal is not just about the UK, it is about what is good for businesses in what will be the 27 remaining states of the EU as well.”

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UK POLITICS: Labour Party to Offer Alternative Policy Ahead of New Brexit Talks in Brussels

UK POLITICS: Labour Party to Offer Alternative Policy Ahead of New Brexit Talks in Brussels

A Labour spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Guardian report that Labour agreed to back “continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019” in an attempt to offer a clear alternative to the Brexit currently proposed by Theresa May’s Conservative government.

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UK POLITICS: Britain, EU Divisions Show as Brexit Talks Resume

UK POLITICS: Britain, EU Divisions Show as Brexit Talks Resume

Time is short in the negotiations, which started in June and should conclude before the expected Brexit date in late March 2019. Otherwise Britain risks leaving the EU with little clarity over what happens next.

“There are no major expectations as regards next week’s round. The documents published by Britain (this week) refer more to the future relationship than the things to settle in the first place,” an EU diplomat said.

“Many matters, including the financial aspect most importantly, remain unclear from the British side. So the EU expects no big progress, which makes any ’significant progress’ less likely in October.”

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UK POLITICS: Job Opportunities Diminishing Because of Brexit: British Employers

UK POLITICS: Job Opportunities Diminishing Because of Brexit: British Employers

The opening rounds of Brexit talks with the EU, which began in June, have made little progress. REC chief executive Kevin Green said the drop in confidence should raise a “red flag” and push London to clarify its Brexit approach.

“The government must do more to create an environment where businesses have clarity,” Green said. “The jobs market is in a good place but employers will only continue to hire and invest if they feel assured about the future.”

“The UK has made little attempt to progress separation issues, while its ideas for transition could require yet more negotiation and risk eroding the benefits of transitional arrangements for business,” said Andrew Goodwin, a researcher at Oxford Economics.

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FRANCE POLITICS: ‘Posted Worker’ Rules Betray EU Spirit: Macron Says

FRANCE POLITICS: ‘Posted Worker’ Rules Betray EU Spirit: Macron Says

“The single European market and the free movement of workers is not meant to create a race to the bottom in terms of social regulations,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters after meeting Kern.

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UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

UK POLITICS: Britain Will Not Exclude Possible EU Oversight of UK Borders After Brexit

Van Den Hende said, “In theory you can design that, but in practice neither the UK nor the EU would want that because you would be replicating institutions which already exist. It would be a huge amount of money and effort. This is in one of the fundamental problems about Brexit. The UK wants to retain deep integration but the UK doesn’t like the institutions that administer all this stuff.”

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UK POLITICS: Britain ‘Confident’ of New Phase in Brexit Talks By October

UK POLITICS: Britain ‘Confident’ of New Phase in Brexit Talks By October

Prime Minister Theresa May said, “It’s good that we’ve had a constructive, positive approach to the negotiations so far, and those negotiations are continuing … There’s a lot to be done. We will develop a deep and special partnership with the European Union for the future that’s good for the UK and good for the EU as well.”

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Department for Exiting the European Union said in a statement, “As the Secretary of State (Brexit minister David Davis) has said, it is important that both sides demonstrate a dynamic and flexible approach to each round of the negotiations.”

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UK POLITICS: Britain Seeks Brexit Without Borders for Northern Ireland

UK POLITICS: Britain Seeks Brexit Without Borders for Northern Ireland

Britain said it wanted to maintain a Common Travel Area, a pact that allows free movement between the United Kingdom and Ireland for British and Irish citizens, and introduce new ‘trusted trader’ arrangements to help larger companies. Smaller firms would be exempt from customs processes. It rejected the idea of an effective customs border in the Irish Sea that separates England, Wales and Scotland from Ireland and Northern Ireland as “not constitutionally or economically viable”.

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SCOTLAND POLITICS: UK Brexit Customs Union Plan ‘Daft’: Sturgeon

SCOTLAND POLITICS: UK Brexit Customs Union Plan ‘Daft’: Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon posted an initial reaction to the customs union plan on Twitter, saying: “Seems UK gov is back to its daft ‘have cake and eat it’ approach to Brexit. They should commit to staying in single market and customs union, period.”

“You’ve got the UK government appearing to say that they don’t want to say in ‘the’ customs union, but they want to stay in ‘a’ customs union, which would be pretty much identical to the European customs union that we’re in already. It’s nonsensical and ridiculous. “I think it increasingly makes the UK government look like a bit of a laughing stock.”

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