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Cameron has set barrier for EU so low even Jean-Claude Juncker could hop over it

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David-Cameron-On-EU-and-Britain’s-MembershipOpinion by Denis MacShane

The Guardian today (12 May) carries an important front-pager from its very well-connected political editor, Nick Watt. It lists the four concessions the re-elected prime minister David Cameron now wants from the EU in order to satisfy his demand for a ‘new relationship with Europe” which would be put to referendum in 2016 well ahead of the French and German elections in 2017.

All four points are so minimalist and so far removed from what British Eurosceptics have been demanding that is hard to see how the EU, both the Brussels institutions and the 27 other member states would have problems in conceding them.

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The four demands are:

1)  Allow at next treaty a protocol saying the UK is not covered by the words "ever-closer union of peoples" which has been in EU Treaty preambles since 1957.  The words were actually removed from the 2004 Constitution and it will be no problem to give UK its pathetic little extra paragraph at the end of the next major Treaty revision whenever that happens.

2) Reform and limit access to social benefits for EU migrant workers.  Again no big problem as ECJ has already signalled governments have power to do this.  The only hiccup would be if it is proposed to amend certain directives which requires the assent of the European Parliament. Also some eastern EU governments will not accept discrimination against their citizens.  But this is a matter of wording.

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3) Give more power to national parliaments. Again this is already in the Lisbon Treaty but it means national parliaments have to create their own network and form a blocking group. The EU cannot give each national parliament the right to veto directives or Treaties but Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans has long argued for more involvement of national parliaments and language can be found on this to satisfy Cameron with a promise to examine putting into next Treaty more reference to national parliaments.

4) Agreement that the eurozone cannot impose rules that discriminate against non-eurozone countries.  This battle has been won with the ECJ upholding a UK complaint against proposal that Euro trades can only be carried out in a Eurozone country.  So again this is pretty easy to find words on.

If these reports are right then the Cameron list of what he wants from the EU is so minimalist as not to matter much. It is far removed from limiting immigrants, repatriating powers, allowing the House of Commons to veto EU law and policy and other demands that the Tories, Eurosceptic papers and Ukip have put forward.  There is nothing on Social Europe so the demands from the CBI, and other business organisations for more power for employers and less rights for workers have just been ignored.

Assuming these minimalist demands are all that Cameron wants he can have those in time for the summer holidays.

Whether it is enough to make the Brits vote to stay in is another matter.  Even in countries that have high levels of pro-EU feeling like Netherlands or Ireland once a referendum is called everything changes and the pleasure in voting down what the government elites propose becomes very strong.

Denis MacShane is a former Europe minister, now senior advisor to Avisa in Brussels and author of Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe.

Brexit

Britain delays implementation of post-Brexit trade controls

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Britain said on Tuesday (14 Sseptember) it was delaying the implementation of some post-Brexit import controls, the second time they have been pushed back, citing pressures on businesses from the pandemic and global supply chain strain.

Britain left the European Union's single market at the end of last year but unlike Brussels which introduced border controls immediately, it staggered the introduction of import checks on goods such as food to give businesses time to adapt.

Having already delayed the introduction of checks by six months from April 1, the government has now pushed the need for full customs declarations and controls back to Jan. 1, 2022. Safety and security declarations will be required from July 1 next year.

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"We want businesses to focus on their recovery from the pandemic rather than have to deal with new requirements at the border, which is why we've set out a pragmatic new timetable for introducing full border controls," Brexit minister David Frost said.

"Businesses will now have more time to prepare for these controls which will be phased in throughout 2022."

Industry sources in the logistics and customs sector have also said the government's infrastructure was not ready to impose full checks.

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Brexit

How the EU will help mitigate the impact of Brexit

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A €5 billion EU fund will support people, companies and countries affected by the UK's withdrawal from the Union, EU affairs.

The end of the Brexit transition period, on 31 December 2020, marked the end of the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the EU and the UK, with adverse social and economic consequences for people, businesses and public administrations on both sides.

To help Europeans adapt to the changes, in July 2020 EU leaders agreed to create the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, a €5bn fund (in 2018 prices) to be paid until 2025. EU countries will start receiving the resources by December, following Parliament’s approval. MEPs are expected to vote on the fund during the September plenary session.

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How much will go to my country?

The fund will help all EU countries, but the plan is for the countries and sectors worst affected by Brexit to receive the most support. Ireland tops the list, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.

Three factors are taken into account to determine the amount for each country: the importance of trade with the UK, the value of fish caught in the UK exclusive economic zone and the size of population living in EU maritime regions closest to the UK.

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Infographic explaining the Brexit Adjustment Reserve
Infographic showing how much support individual EU countries will receive from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve  

What can be financed by the fund?

Only measures specifically set up to counter the negative consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU will be eligible for funding. These may include:

  • Investment in job creation, including short-term work programmes, re-skilling and training
  • Reintegration of EU citizens who have left the UK as a result of Brexit
  • Support for businesses (especially SMEs), self-employed people and local communities
  • Building customs facilities and ensuring the functioning of border, phytosanitary and security controls
  • Certification and licensing schemes

The fund will cover expenditure incurred between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2023.

Fisheries and banking sectors

National governments are free to decide how much money goes to each area. However, countries that depend significantly on fisheries in the UK exclusive economic zone must commit a minimum amount of their national allocation to small-scale coastal fisheries, as well as local and regional communities dependent on fishing activities.

The financial and banking sectors, which may benefit from Brexit, are excluded.

Find out more 

Continue Reading

Brexit

How the EU will help mitigate the impact of Brexit

Published

on

A €5 billion EU fund will support people, companies and countries affected by the UK's withdrawal from the Union, EU affairs.

The end of the Brexit transition period, on 30 December 2020, marked the end of the free movement of people, goods, services and capital between the EU and the UK, with adverse social and economic consequences for people, businesses and public administrations on both sides.

To help Europeans adapt to the changes, in July 2020 EU leaders agreed to create the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, a €5 billion fund (in 2018 prices) to be paid until 2025. EU countries will start receiving the resources by December, following Parliament’s approval. MEPs are expected to vote on the fund during the September plenary session.

Advertisement

How much will go to my country?

The fund will help all EU countries, but the plan is for the countries and sectors worst affected by Brexit to receive the most support. Ireland tops the list, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.

Three factors are taken into account to determine the amount for each country: the importance of trade with the UK, the value of fish caught in the UK exclusive economic zone and the size of population living in EU maritime regions closest to the UK.

Advertisement
Infographic explaining the Brexit Adjustment Reserve
Infographic showing how much support individual EU countries will receive from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve  

What can be financed by the fund?

Only measures specifically set up to counter the negative consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU will be eligible for funding. These may include:

  • Investment in job creation, including short-term work programmes, re-skilling and training
  • Reintegration of EU citizens who have left the UK as a result of Brexit
  • Support for businesses (especially SMEs), self-employed people and local communities
  • Building customs facilities and ensuring the functioning of border, phytosanitary and security controls
  • Certification and licensing schemes


The fund will cover expenditure incurred between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2023.

Fisheries and banking sectors

National governments are free to decide how much money goes to each area. However, countries that depend significantly on fisheries in the UK exclusive economic zone must commit a minimum amount of their national allocation to small-scale coastal fisheries, as well as local and regional communities dependent on fishing activities.

The financial and banking sectors, which may benefit from Brexit, are excluded.

Find out more 

Continue Reading
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