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#Brexit - Von der Leyen says she trusts the British government to implement the withdrawal agreement

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Yesterday (6 September) the Financial Times wrote an article claiming that the UK is prepared to use domestic legislation to override some parts of the withdrawal agreement. Specifically, the UK wants to modify parts of the protocol on the Ireland/Northern Ireland border related to goods and state aid. The article caused consternation among European diplomats and MEPs.

Manfred Weber MEP, chairman of the European’s People Party tweeted: “Prime Minister, there is no such thing as a good outcome in Brexit. Instead of taking Northern Ireland hostage again, it would be better that you keep your word and stand by the Withdrawal agreement. Can we trust you keep your word?”

Irish foreign minister and former Deputy Prime Minister (Tanaiste), Simon Coveney wrote: “This would be a very unwise way to proceed.”

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was unambiguous: “I trust the British government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law & prerequisite for any future partnership. Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island & integrity of the single market.”

EU Reporter asked the European Commission’s spokesperson on the EU’s future relationship, Daniel Ferrie, to comment on the report. Ferrie said that from the very beginning of the negotiations, the European Union had been engaged constructively and in good faith with the United Kingdom.

He underlined the commitment of the EU to do everything in its power to reach an agreement, which would also be compatible with the EU's long term economic and political interests, in particular by protecting open and fair competition, the ‘level playing field’ provisions, that the Prime Minister agreed to in the political declaration on the future relationship.

Given Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments over the weekend on the possibility of not reaching an agreement, the EU pointed out that while it was determined to reach an agreement with the UK, the EU will be ready in the event of a no-deal scenario to trade with UK on WTO terms as of the first of January 2021.

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The invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the GAFA tax

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The invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield, the GAFA tax and the privacy
protection of European citizens has been the focus of recent cyber
conflicts between Europe and the United States.

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'Belarus is becoming the North Korea of Europe: nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous’

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Tsikhanouskaya says Belarus is becoming the North Korea of Europe: ‘nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous’. Tsikhanouskaya, the elected leader of Belarus who is now living in exile was invited to an exchange of views with members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday (26 May).

The meeting took place following recent events in Belarus, including the unprecedented forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk Belarus and the detention by Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.

Tsikhanouskaya said: “Since the rigged elections of August 2020, the regime has completely lost the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Let us be frank, the previous EU strategy of wait and see towards the Belarusian regime doesn't work.

“The EU approach of gradually elevated pressure on the Lukashenko regime has not managed to change his behavior and has only led to a growing sense of impunity and messy repressions.

“I call on the European Parliament to make sure that the reaction of the international community is not limited to the Ryanair flight incident. The response must address the situation in Belarus in its entirety, or we will all face such situations in the future, Lukashenko is turning my country into the North Korea of Europe: nontransparent, unpredictable and dangerous.”

Tsikhanouskaya highlighted three other recent developments: the elimination of Tutby media; the death of political activist Vitold Ashurak in prison custody; and the decision to delay the next national vote until the end of 2023.

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Video round table: Debate on the proposed new Belgian 5G law

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The Belgian National Security Council has proposed a new law which includes a series of additional security measures regarding the rollout of 5G mobile networks. The capability of 5G is immense and will affect every area of the economy, and every government has a duty to ensure that any deployed 5G technology is safe to use as a communication medium by its citizens and the government.

At an online roundtable debate organized today, (17 December), by EU Reporter, interested experts and commentators debated the issue.

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