Farage steps down from Politics.

How German language newspaper Der Standard reported it, and their reader comments.


London - Brexit campaigner and EU opponent Nigel Farage says he is retiring from politics. He is relinquishing the chairmanship of his Reform UK party, the 56-year-old told the "Telegraph" podcast "Chopper's Politics." "There is no going back," Farage stressed. "Brexit is done, there's no going back on that."   This time, final withdrawal

The former leader of UKIP (UK Independence Party) is considered the driving force behind Britain's EU exit and one of the most influential British politicians in recent years. "I know I've come back once or twice when people thought I was gone," Farage said. "But this is it. It's over. It's over." The former European parliamentarian had declared his withdrawal following the 2016 Brexit referendum, but founded the Brexit Party in 2019.
Brexit as a life's work

The party became the strongest force in the UK's EU parliamentary elections just a few months later. That increased pressure on the Conservative government to take a hard line in Brexit negotiations. Farage repeatedly sounded the alarm when he feared the Brexit might not be hard enough. He considers the EU exit his life's work. At the turn of the year, Britain finally left the single market and the customs union.

Reader comments:

The EU-frustbolts can lament as much as they want and wish all kinds of bad things to others.
It is of no use to them, they will have to accept reality: It is no coincidence that the platitude "The integration of Europe is irreversible!", which was always trumpeted in the past, has not been heard/read for a long time.


Hardly anyone will have anything against economic cooperation in Europe within a certain framework. But the EU is supposed to be a POLITICAL construct in the first place, and most people don't want to know anything about that, because this approach would only cause discord.
The hardened EU fundamentalists will of course still blindly cling to it, they will probably believe in their "final victory" until the end, no matter what the cost.

'Brexit buster' direct shipping route announced between UK and Morocco

3rd March 21

Logistics company United Seaways plans to launch a new 'Brexit buster' direct shipping route that will connect the UK and Morocco.


A new direct shipping route, which will connect the UK and Morocco, is to be launched shortly.

The route, which has been established by maritime and transport specialist, United Seaways, will link Poole in Dorset to Tangier, Morocco.


The new line, which will link Poole in the UK to Tangier, Morocco, has been in planning for over two years and will help bypass post-Brexit traffic congestion and additional import procedures on goods arriving via Europe, United Seaways said.


It will also significantly reduce emissions compared to current logistic chains by road.

The route will run once per week and cut journey times on Moroccan goods to fewer than three days, compared to more than six days via road.


The route currently includes two ferry crossings - one from Morocco to Spain and one from North Europe to UK - but the new link will avoid the associated bureaucratic Brexit procedures and the time delays the other crossings face.


It will also be used to encourage British importers to source fresh produce and other products directly from Morocco and Africa, promoting southbound trade and scaleup exchanges between the two kingdoms, which have a long-standing history of over 800 years.


Captain Brian Murphy, Marine and Port Director at Poole Harbour Commissioners, said: “We are very excited to be hosting United Seaways’ brand-new roll-on-roll-off ferry service. It will reduce the time taken for goods to arrive by half and will see significant environmental benefits by reducing road freight.


“This is an exciting opportunity for UK, Moroccan and African importers and exporters, who are looking to develop existing and establish new business relationships. We will work closely with United Seaways to ensure this service is a huge success."


Zeyd Fassi Fehri, MD United Seaways, said: “Our aim is to support businesses with post-Brexit, supply chain challenges and opportunities. This service will create a sustainable and environmental alternative when launched in the coming months.


"The speed and efficiency of the vessel ensures a longer shelf life for fresh products whilst reducing road congestion, tolls and additional import procedures that have arisen since Brexit.”


Nigel Jenney, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, said: “Any solution that makes imports more effective, or eases trading with alternative countries, may well be a great opportunity for helping the UK source fresh produce from around the world.


“I anticipate a strong demand for this new direct roro service. The route offers a rapid service and avoids the additional tariff complications of trading via the EU since the beginning of the year.

“At this challenging time, it's a very welcome alternative to the increasing complexity of trading with Europe.”


Source+Photo: Fresh fruit portal

More EU countries admit they got it wrong over Astra vaccine.

5th March 2012


Finally EU countries are now realising that it was a mistake to trash the Astra vaccine. Although they try to cover this with various excuses, rather than the true reason of being angry at Brexit!


Now Austria has become the latest country to approve the vaccine.


Austrian Vaccination campaign will continue to gain momentum
After its meeting today, the National Immunization Panel (NIG) voted in favor of the use of AstraZeneca's Corona vaccine without an upper age limit in accordance with the approval of the European authorities - and thus also for all persons over the age of 65, as well as high-risk and at-risk persons. "The vaccination campaign will thus continue to gain momentum," Health Minister Rudi Anschober said in a statement to APA on Friday.

Vaccination by summer

He added that the goal of making a vaccine available to everyone in Austria by summer is now another step closer. The city of Vienna this week launched a broader effort in the over-65 age group, and on Friday Lower Austria Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner (ÖVP) also advocated a general release of the Corona vaccine.


Previously the excuse for non use had been that Due to the limited data situation for Astra Zeneca, a recommendation had been made in many countries to only vaccinate persons under 65 years of age.


Tough new British rules against damaging fishing practices, are putting pressure on the EU.


16th Feb 21 - Report from Politico Europe

British Brexit backers have long argued quitting the EU could make the U.K. greener — now there’s some evidence to back that up.


It comes from a British move to strengthen environmental rules at sea, something that could force the EU to follow suit. The U.K. recently decided to ban bottom trawling — a fishing technique where enormous nets are dragged along the sea bottom — in the marine protected area of the Dogger Bank in the North Sea.


"Now that we have left the [EU] Common Fisheries Policy, we are able to deliver on our commitment to achieve a healthy, thriving and sustainable marine environment," Environment Secretary George Eustice said of the February 1 decision.


The U.K. was able to take the decision because it's no longer part of the EU. That is galvanizing environmental groups to push EU countries to do the same.


“When the U.K. left the Common Fisheries Policy … that triggered an obligation under the Habitats Directive to conduct what’s called an appropriate environmental impact assessment,” said Thomas Appleby, lawyer and associate professor at the University of the West of England.


The scientific recommendation led the U.K. to decide to completely ban bottom trawling in the Dogger Bank. “That, of course, puts pressure on the European Union members," Appleby said, because the obligation to conduct an environmental impact assessment under the U.K.'s post-Brexit habitats rules are copy-pasted from the EU's nature protection laws. This means the EU has the same obligation as the U.K. to assess the ecological state of its part of the Dogger Bank and eventually restrict bottom trawling too, he argued.


“It’s clear that that the U.K. has been forced to look into [the protection of the Dogger Bank] because of Brexit. But it does set a very strong precedent for the EU as well,” Appleby said.

EU countries have so far resisted stricter rules against bottom trawling on the Dogger Bank, despite Brussels pushing for the adoption of fisheries management measures in this protected area as required by the EU Habitats Directive.


But a letter from the European Commission’s marine department addressed to NGOs and obtained by POLITICO, which was sent just after the British announcement, has NGOs hoping that Brussels could nudge EU countries to increase protection of their part of the Dogger Bank.


“We continue to encourage Member States to agree on a more ambitious proposal,” the letter reads, and adds that the Commission “will continue to work relentlessly to progress towards achieving these commitments.”


The effort to tackle bottom trawling, a practice environmental groups say damages the sea bed and biodiversity, is a signal of a green rivalry between London and Brussels.

“I think there is, developing, a kind of race to the top, instead of a race to the bottom” following Brexit, said Charles Clover, executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation, an NGO.


Under the EU-U.K. trade and cooperation deal, both parties are free to set their own policies on environmental matters such as biodiversity conservation. But these levels of protection cannot be weakened below what existed at the end of the Brexit transition period or “in a manner affecting trade or investment between the Parties.”


That means if the U.K. puts in place stricter marine conservation rules on the Dogger Bank and restricts some fishing techniques, this will apply to EU fishing vessels too.

Appleby said he is currently investigating whether the EU could be found in breach of the trade deal if it doesn't match the U.K.'s level of environmental protection on the Dogger Bank.


Clover argued that Brexit has made it easier for NGOs to challenge U.K. fishing rules. This allowed the Blue Marine Foundation to sue the British government for giving fishing licenses for the Dogger Bank, arguing these did not respect marine habitat protection rules.

“If you move to the common law, you can sue the government directly,” Clover said — spelling out the difference between U.K. and EU law. “In the EU … you cannot sue the government [directly in the Court of Justice of the EU] for not applying its own laws … you need first to file a complaint to the European Commission.” It’s then up to the Commission to decide whether to start an infringement procedure.

Fishy business

While the British move pleases environmentalists, it’s angering EU fishermen.

“This is a devastating decision for European fishermen,” said Pim Visser, president of the European Association of Fish Producers Organisations, pointing to Danish fishers who catch 90 percent of their fish on the Dogger Bank, a shallow area of the North Sea about 100 kilometers off the British coast.


In 2018, U.K. boats caught 1,318 tons of fish on the Dogger Bank, while EU fleets caught 34,758 tons — the estimated value of the catches amounted to £2.7 million for the U.K. and £10.6 million for the EU.

Visser said he doesn’t understand why the U.K. changed its position about bottom trawling.


“I’ve followed the discussion in the last seven, eight years. The U.K. has always had a point of view where about 30 percent of the most vulnerable area would be closed, and they have now come to a blanket approach of 100 percent closure,” he said, calling the step "absolutist."


The Dogger Bank is a protected zone under the EU Habitats Directive and is shared among the U.K., Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Environmental groups have repeatedly called for a complete ban of bottom trawling in the zone, arguing this fishing technique is not selective enough, threatens conservation efforts and the long-term sustainability of fish stocks.


“Under the Habitats Directive … for fishing to take place in a marine protected area, there should be an appropriate environmental impact assessment of whether the activity concerned is damaging to the special area of conservation involved,” said Clover. “That has not happened."


EU countries are currently working on a joint recommendation to be presented in the first quarter on how to make fisheries rules compatible with environmental protection in the Dogger Bank. As part of the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the EU committed to establish fisheries management measures in all marine protected areas.

EU & UK struggle to overcome Brexit bad blood!

4th Feb 21 - Report from Politico Europe

The EU and UK are learning to live as exes, but their new relationship is framed by mistrust and lingering resentment.


The late Friday night phone call between U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen centered on a theme familiar to many divorced couples still entangled by financial, legal and social obligations: What the hell have you done?


In this case, Johnson was asking what in the world the Commission was thinking when it invoked an emergency override of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement’s delicate arrangements for managing the Ireland-Northern Ireland border, as part of new coronavirus vaccine export restrictions — a blunder that inadvertently set off a political firestorm in Dublin, Belfast and London.


The same question, however, could easily have been asked at several other points in the month since the U.K.’s de facto breakaway from the EU on January 1.


Why did London downgrade the status of the EU’s ambassador in Britain, a seemingly gratuitous display of diplomatic pettiness that has led to retaliatory snubbing of the U.K.’s new ambassador in Brussels?

Why are border guards unnecessarily hassling travelers — with British authorities demanding proof of residence from EU nationals, which under the rules is not yet required, and EU authorities unnecessarily stamping passports of British residents on the Continent, which could potentially create bureaucratic headaches for them down the line?


And what’s the point of each side still blaming the other’s intransigence for the inevitable unhappy consequences of Brexit, such as musicians and artists needing visas in order to travel for performances and exhibitions?


The signatures on the EU-U.K. divorce decree have barely had time to dry. The European Parliament has yet to formally ratify the Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached on Christmas Eve. Years of tough, often bitter, negotiations avoided a no-deal catastrophe but left many questions about the future relationship unanswered. The U.K. and the EU have settled into a new, uncomfortable coexistence framed by deep mistrust and lingering resentment — punctuated by occasional cheap barbs and arguably juvenile jabs.


“A trade deal is a very narrow means of communication for two neighbors in such proximity,” a senior EU official said. “We haven’t talked about climate. We haven’t talked about security and defense, and we haven’t talked about our multilateral view on the world. So, there are quite a few things that we need to talk through with the Brits.”

Life beyond Brexit

Friday night’s call between Johnson and von der Leyen ended, as many conversations between exes do, with an apology, a promise to fix things, and mutual assurances that everybody really just wants to get along. Von der Leyen announced that night that she had deleted the provision overriding the Northern Ireland border rules. She has since publicly accepted responsibility, saying it was a mistake to even consider invoking the emergency clause in the Brexit deal known as Article 16.


Johnson on Tuesday night said the EU’s move had “undermined” the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and reiterated his government’s “unshakeable” commitment to Northern Ireland. On Wednesday, No. 10 made clear that it would seek to use the EU's misstep as leverage to demand further changes to the border provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement.


But by Johnson’s standards, it was a relatively gentle slap at Brussels, and his government has otherwise shown restraint in recent days as the Commission engaged in a public spat with England-based vaccine-maker AstraZeneca over production shortfalls.


Top current and former officials and diplomats in Brussels and London said they viewed the post-Article 16 détente as clear recognition in No. 10 Downing Street and the Berlaymont that neither side stands to gain from cycles of mutual destruction — especially not in the midst of a pandemic and accompanying economic crisis. But they also expressed worry about what lies ahead.  


“The events of last week, and the Commission’s appallingly ill-judged move on invoking Article 16 of the [Northern Ireland] protocol, from which they only just about pulled back, have further damaged trust,” said Ivan Rogers, who served as the U.K.'s ambassador to the EU from 2013 to 2017. “The optimistic view is that both sides will ultimately learn from their missteps and recognize that they have often had precisely the opposite result from the one they intended. I am not so sure.”


Rogers and other experts said that the coming months will only reveal further practical difficulties for citizens and businesses arising from Brexit, as well as new efforts by the U.K. to diverge from the EU that could trigger disputes — for example, over how far London is straying from the level playing field provisions in the new trade deal.


“Both sides are now thinking vastly more about domestic constituencies than about how really to try and make this relationship productive,” Rogers added. “I really don’t see that changing.”


Making the relationship productive was the central theme of remarks by João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s ambassador to the U.K., in a recent lecture hosted by Bright Blue, a London think tank that advocates for liberal conservativism.


The U.K.’s long relationship with the Continent, once defined by royal marriages and military campaigns, and for the last nearly half-century by more prosaic ties within the bureaucratic framework of the EU treaties, is now entering yet another new cycle, Vale de Almeida said.

“This is a turning point,” he said, calling the separation “painful.”


“There is life beyond Brexit,” Vale de Almeida said. “It is for us now to build that life, to make it happen in a way that it works for our citizens, it works for our business but it also fulfills what I believe is our role in the global community as countries that share fundamental values of democracy, of the rule of law, [of] human rights.”

Protocol error

Even as Vale de Almeida has called for new common purpose, his own status has become one of the earliest sore spots in the new relationship, after the British government declared that he would be treated as the envoy of an international organization — ranking him lower than the ambassadors from partner nations.

A U.K. official described London’s stance in the dispute over the ambassador’s status as one based simply on “the principle that [the EU] aren’t a state.”


Since the vote to leave, the U.K. has frequently signaled its intention to deal primarily (on matters of foreign affairs) with nation states directly — outside of EU structures — and some in Whitehall view the row as one driven by a desire to demonstrate that basic distinction between nation state and international organization.

Negotiations over the matter are, however, “ongoing,” the official said. 


In Brussels, the move was regarded as a petty and vindictive effort by No. 10 to play to its home audience of Brexit supporters, mirroring a similar move attempted, but quickly reversed, by former U.S. President Donald Trump. U.K. officials said it was a false comparison: Trump downgraded an ambassador from existing status; before Brexit, the EU didn’t have a regular ambassador in London.


Still, infuriated EU officials noted that most countries in the world treat the bloc on par with nation states because the EU has legislative authority, a currency and a judicial system, which set it apart from other multilateral organizations. Concern goes beyond mere symbolism; there are genuine worries among EU officials that the U.K. move could give license to repressive regimes to take away protection from EU diplomats.


Retaliation was swift. The U.K.’s new ambassador to the EU, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, quickly found his first meeting cancelled — “postponed for the time being,” an official told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook — and there were suggestions that Croisdale-Appleby would not be able to formally present his credentials to Council President Charles Michel until the matter of Vale de Almeida’s status is resolved.


“That was largely on the U.K. side that they wanted to make their point very publicly,” the senior EU official said. “Hey, we’re sovereign and can take whatever decision we want. That sort of set off the wrong signal.” The official predicted the matter would be resolved soon.


Along with the ambassador spat, there have been a series of mini skirmishes over border controls that some officials dismissed as minor and others said highlighted the resentment and ill will that has built up through more than four years of Brexit negotiations. This has included Dutch border guards confiscating ham sandwiches from British truck drivers based on rules that now bar the import of meat products from Britain.

Vaccine rivalries

The well of mistrust was evident in the Commission’s rush to impose vaccine export restrictions, which resulted at least partly from frustration that the EU is badly trailing countries like Israel, the U.S. and the U.K. in vaccinating its citizens, and also a sense that AstraZeneca was unable to meet delivery targets in part because it was showing preference to its contracts to supply vaccines to the U.K.


Beyond that, some Commission officials clearly feared that Northern Ireland, which enjoys special status under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, would become the conduit for illicit vaccine shipments to the U.K. That resulted in the ill-fated provision invoking Article 16, followed by the protests from Johnson and Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, and the rapid Friday night row-back by von der Leyen, who was left posting tweets after midnight about her phone calls with her counterparts in Dublin and London.


No. 10's restraint cracked a bit Tuesday after French President Emmanuel Macron publicly raised doubts about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is approved both in the U.K. and EU and has already been administered to millions of British citizens.


One Downing Street official told POLITICO’s London Playbook: “It is frankly astonishing that the EU, and the leader of a supposedly functioning Western democracy, would essentially spread anti-vax disinformation.” A minister similarly told Playbook that Johnson now viewed Macron as “a disgrace.”


But with Johnson apparently intent on maintaining civility and an open line of communication with Brussels, the question for many officials is what the early tension will mean as the EU and U.K. start to address the myriad questions left unaddressed by the Trade Cooperation Agreement — especially on the question of equivalence in the financial services industry, which is particularly crucial to the City of London.


Rogers, the former U.K. ambassador to Brussels, said that he was not very hopeful, either for cooperation on financial services or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). “On the issues the negotiators parked, I remain highly skeptical,” he said.

Luisa Poritt, a former British member of the European Parliament who is now the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor, said that she expected further cooperation with Brussels would prove essential in many areas.


“We're only really seeing the early ramifications of Brexit,” Porritt said, citing the need for agreements on services, which are a major part of London ’s economy, and on easing travel for touring musicians and artists. “There will be more to come and I think inevitably that will expose a range of areas where we need to build on the deal.”

Frenemies with benefits

Several officials predicted that the U.K. chairing the G7 this year, as well as the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November, would provide two important platforms for British and EU officials to collaborate and build renewed trust.


"When you look at the rise of China and the fact that in the next few years the largest economy in the world will — for the first time in our lifetimes — not be a democracy, you realize there is far more to unite than divide us with continental European countries," former U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told POLITICO. "But as with inheritance and divorce, money can poison any relationship and that is the risk with any kind of vaccine trade war which is why it would be such a catastrophe."

Maintaining trust will not be easy. In a blog post this week, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, cited the need to work together on foreign affairs and security matters, but some of his comments were tinged with acid, portraying Brexit as a lose-lose proposition and lamenting the U.K.’s unwillingness to discuss foreign policy during negotiations.


“It is clear that the U.K. has lost the ‘multiplier effect’ of EU membership and that it faces a diminished international stature,” Borrell wrote. “In turn, the EU has lost U.K. assets: its permanent seat on the UN Security Council; its security and defense capabilities and its global outlook and diplomatic heft. With Brexit, nothing gets easier and a lot gets more complicated. How much more complicated depends on the choices that both sides will make.”

Both Brussels and London are still figuring out exactly who will manage the new relationship.

On the U.K. side, a key figure will be the former chief Brexit negotiator David Frost. He was appointed last week into a new, multifaceted job in No. 10: Boris Johnson’s “representative for Brexit and international policy.” In this role he will “lead the U.K.’s institutional and strategic relationship with the EU,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.


Whitehall officials familiar with the thinking behind the new role said Frost’s knowledge of the intricacies of the Withdrawal Agreement and the trade agreement were seen as obvious assets that would have been diluted had he been appointed to the job originally earmarked for him: national security adviser.

It is, however, unclear precisely how Frost’s role will fit into the structures set out in the trade deal. The U.K. has yet to appoint its representative to the EU-U.K. Partnership Council mandated by the deal. That person will have to be a government minister. Frost is not — and the expectation in Whitehall is that the role will go to the Cabinet Office, perhaps to Michael Gove, who is viewed as something of a polarizing figure in Brussels.


Von der Leyen, meanwhile, has appointed Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič to the Partnership Council for the EU. Within her own Cabinet, von der Leyen’s top adviser on U.K. relations is her deputy Cabinet chief, Stephanie Riso, who was formerly part of the EU’s Brexit negotiating team.


New structures are still being created on each side, including the U.K.’s new international policy unit, and a new service for managing the U.K. relationship within the Commission’s General Secretariat. To what extent Frost will be able to focus on strengthening the EU relationship will be an early test of the new institutional bonds between London and Brussels.

In his lecture to the Bright Blue think tank, Vale de Almeida urged Brussels and London to keep in mind the global stakes of how they manage their relationship.


“Let’s not forget the essence of things” he said. “And the essence of things is that our citizens, our businesses and, I would dare to say, the world need the EU and the U.K. to get their act together, to build on the basis that we have with this agreement, and to move forward.”

Source: Politico - Cartoon: Ben Jennings


Report from Austrian paper Der Standard - 1st Feb 21

European-British vaccination dispute:  All moderation lost

The EU is proving inflexible, bureaucratic and arrogant in the dispute over the Oxford-developed Astra-Zeneca vaccine.

British supporters of the idea of European unity have had difficult days. On the anniversary of the 48 per cent vote against leaving the EU, the vaccine dispute has shown the EU to be inflexible, bureaucratic and arrogant, displaying all the qualities that ideological Brexiteers have always accused the Brussels institutions of being. The fact that the hastily imposed export controls, in themselves a fatal blow to free trade and international cooperation, also jeopardised peace in Northern Ireland, seems to have escaped the attention of no one in the Commission. Only energetic objections from Dublin and London put an end to the spook.

Conditions on the Emerald Isle

The unprecedented nature of the process can only be recognised by those who know about the conditions on the Emerald Isle. Keeping the inner-Irish border open has always been the top priority of the EU negotiators, and rightly so: the peace process in the former civil war region is based on it. With a stroke of the pen, the wrangling in the Brexit negotiations of the past four years should be undone.

Whoever succeeds in forcing the particularly pro-European grand coalition in Dublin into an alliance with Brexiteer leader Boris Johnson; whoever turns all the leading politicians in Northern Ireland against himself, from Irish nationalists to ardent unionists; whoever has to have the Archbishop of Canterbury write into his book that the European approach violates solidarity and thus the principles of Christian social teaching - there is really no helping him.

Devastating mistake

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides have lost all sense of proportion in the dispute over the vaccine developed at Oxford University and marketed by Astra Zeneca. They lost sight of the interest of a small member state particularly affected by Brexit.


Reader comments:

I am surprised that the EU has not developed a vaccine itself and is using it primarily for itself. Licences could be granted in other regions. China, Russia and the USA have also invested a lot of money and know-how. The EU just set up a funding pot without know-how. It's easy to get money, just increase EU contributions and local taxes. But thinking is not required!


Unworthy EU
Soriot did what any dealer would do, he sold as much as he could to wherever he was allowed (UK). Pre-production and warehousing for on-time delivery to the EU was too risky for him because of the uncertainty of approval.
If the contracts cover his behaviour, well, then one or more EU negotiators must have pulled a boner, if not, one should sue immediately.
I think the posturing (arguments) is unworthy - either you have something in your hand and exert pressure or you admit to your negotiating mistakes.
But the EU is a union of corporations. In this respect, it is no great wonder that the set of rules between AZ and the EU has a pro-corporate and contra-citizen effect.

As reported in Austrian paper Der Standard 21st Jan 2021     

4.9 million Europeans applied for right to stay in Great Britain

London - Nearly 4.9 million citizens of EU member states and other European countries have applied for the right to stay in Britain. This was announced by the British Home Office in London last Thursday. Just under 4.4 million of the applications were positively decided, according to the report. But about 34,000 were rejected.

Most applications through September came from Poles (773,840), Romanians (670,600), Italians (401,800), Portuguese (306,350) and Spaniards (246,600). Data on Austrians were not available.

Since Great Britain's final EU exit from the European single market at the turn of the year, the free movement of persons between the island and the continent has been abolished.
Applications still open until June 30

Citizens from the European Union, the European Economic Area and Switzerland who have already settled in the United Kingdom before Dec. 31, 2020, can still submit their applications until June 30. They are to be entitled to the same rights as before, according to the withdrawal agreement.

However, there is to be no physical document as proof in the future, as Home Secretary Kevin Foster told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.  Foster sees concerns from interest groups, who warned that digital proof would not be sufficient, as unfounded.   "A digital status cannot be lost, it cannot be falsified and it cannot be stolen, Paper documents, meanwhile, are "incredibly insecure and could easily be forged," he said.

Reader comments:

I guess the right to stay will be given to those who are employed. The rest the British want to get rid of. Quite understandable that migration to the extent in social systems are not desired.

To many foreign workers - that was one of the triggering problems, but it was not about Poles, Romanians, Austrians :-) ... who work in GB !!! , but about the hundreds of thousands of so-called refugees forced on England by the EU (and indirectly also by the USA), and England said "we just don't have room and money for them anymore, we have enough unemployment and poverty without them, we won't be patronized anymore...."

22.12.20 - News from Austrian paper Der Standard


Even in big world politics there are sometimes stories that cannot be invented, they are so curious. One such paradox took place in Brussels on Monday. A delegation of the British government has been negotiating a free trade agreement with the Community around the clock for a good week. This is supposed to replace the EU rules that have continued to apply since the formal exit from the EU at the end of January in a transitional period until the end of the year. The aim is to avert chaos at the borders and in trade - i.e. in supplying the population on both sides of the Channel.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson's envoys had travelled from London to the EU capital on the superfast Eurostar train under the "Channel". Since Sunday evening they have had a problem. They can no longer go home so easily, even if they reach a compromise Brexit succession deal with the EU-27.

Because after the discovery of a mutated coronavirus in southern England, which is even more contagious than the one known so far, the governments of the EU states have reacted: they are closing the borders to Great Britain. The bordering states Belgium, France, the Netherlands immediately stopped all flights from England, the trains, the road traffic.

What an irony!    Or a hint of fate to the populists in 10 Downing Street who always threatens the EU partners with breaking off relations? In real life, suddenly the island is isolated, as a pandemic measure.


There are traffic jams in the coastal area, at airports and on ferries in England. People want to go to Europe. The British need the EU and the continent more than Johnson would like to admit.


It would be hard to show more clearly how much better orderly relations are than a no-deal world, a brusque breakdown of friendly interaction. Corona makes it possible.


Austria Reader comments:

1.    it's a pity that it's just "a twist of fate".
i prefer honesty:   i.e.  "the channel is closed" state as of 1 january.
not because i hate the english. because i want to give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. but for that they first have to pay bitterly!!


2. These one-sided propaganda articles are getting more and more tiresome the longer they go on. Every leaf that falls from a tree is sold as the result of BREXIT.! 

What is the point of this nonsense. I don't want pointless wishful thinking, I want to finally experience reality. Then we'll see.

Dec 15th 2020 -  from Austrian paper Der Standard


Boris Johnson is always good for a gag!

Boris Johnson is always good for a gag. In the crucial phase of the talks on an EU free trade agreement, the British Prime Minister let it be known that the Navy was ready with four ships for a fish war with the French, Belgians and Dutch in the North Sea and the Atlantic.


It's not just a bad joke. It shows the bizarre world of ideas in which the Oxford graduate in classics lives. Gunboat politics existed between England and France for centuries. To bring this into play - a few weeks before Joe Biden will replace Donald Trump, even more bizarre from a global perspective - as US President - is an unnecessary provocation. EU leaders and heads of government should nobly ignore this - and negotiate all the harder. It wouldn't hurt the British. After Biden's swearing-in, a reorganization of global trade relations and climate protection is pending anyway. The British only play second fiddle, their economy stands or falls with both partners. Maybe Johnson will come to his senses next year.


Reader comments:

An extension of the status quo would mean That the British would benefit from the EU internal market for another 1-2 years without having to bear the obligations of EU membership. And we know exactly what it would look like. Johnson would always take more provocative steps (see Northern Ireland problem) use it as a bargaining chip in order to then "generously" take it back and then sell it as a concession. How naive can one still be. Then there is an extension and then another ... The British have decided to leave the EU and, through the election of Johnson, implicitly for a hard Brexit. On December 31 the curtain must finally fall! It is enough!


Can you finally get rid of them please? And please in such a way that the British can feel it and not some soft compromise, otherwise the EU is dead. An example is needed for the other countries with EU exit supporters. If this is not the case, France will try next.

December updates  - 10th Dec 20 - From German paper Spiegl

Great Britain and the EU are heading for a severe break in trade relations!


The EU Commission is now proposing emergency measures. If no more trade agreements are concluded, these are intended to alleviate “some of the major disruptions” in air and road traffic, for example.

Four emergency regulations are planned:

The "basic air traffic" between Great Britain and the EU is to be ensured for six months - based on reciprocity with Great Britain.

Various safety certificates for products should still be able to be used in European aircraft so that they do not have to remain on the ground.

A minimum of people and goods traffic should be ensured, also for six months and with mutual guarantee.

In the dispute over fishing, a legal framework is intended to guarantee access for British and European fishermen to the other waters until a corresponding contract is concluded, but no later than the end of 2021.

 According to the communication, the EU Commission intends to work closely with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to enable the relevant regulations to come into force by January 1, 2021. It is now "more important than ever" to be ready for the turn of the year, the statement continues. There will be disruptions, with or without a trade agreement.


Reader comments:

Now finally let the island people go ... the good Lord already knew why he installed the English Channel there. That is a natural barrier that makes the little difference between a union and an apostate people. And that's good.

Today I heard 'early' that there could be a famine in the UK if the supply can no longer be guaranteed from January 1, 2021 due to the exit. Well, I'm looking forward to that, then Mr. Johnson will be lynched by his own followers.

30/11/20   - from Austrian newspaper - Der Standard

Brexit flexibility: bitter British jokes:

The independent bean counters predict a medium-term decline in gross domestic product of six percent for the British economy in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit. The consequences of Brexit would outweigh the corona costs in the medium and long term, said Central Bank Governor Andrew Bailey in the House of Commons.

Actually a clap of thunder, after all, the pandemic caused a slump of 11.3 percent in the current budget year. But Bailey's warning found little echo in the media or opposition. It almost seems as if nobody wants to get their hands dirty on the unpleasant topic. The British will regret this for years to come!

Reader comment.

Didn't it even mean that everything had to be in place at the beginning of October so that we still have enough time to get the free trade agreement through the various parliaments and now it's the beginning of December? And there is no option to extend it, because it should have been requested in June, right?
Well ... the way I see it, this is the toughest of all hard Brexits. Certainly not good for the EU, but I think there is an even more painful wake up for the British ..


 January 20



So, today 24th January 2020, Brussels has signed off the Brexit Withdrawal agreement.

The impact of Brexit will vary considerably across the European Union, with some regions bracing for severe costs and others less exposed.


That's the message from data collected by the EU's Committee of the Regions on the predicted local economic and cultural fallout of the U.K.'s departure from the bloc. The document, made up of questionnaire responses submitted by local officials and obtained by POLITICO, reveals a detailed and diverse patchwork.


The findings is sure to bolster the view among Brexiteers that there may be divisions on the EU side that can be exploited to Britain's advantage in Phase 2 of the negotiations, which are due to start within weeks. So far, the EU has demonstrated rock-solid unity over the three divorce issues of citizens' rights, the Brexit bill and the Northern Irish border. But that may be harder to sustain when talks touch on issues for which countries (and regions within countries) have differing interests.

A survey was sent out to all EU countries and the responses are quite telling and below are some examples.

Trade and agriculture

Trade is a concern for the great majority of local authorities across Europe who responded to the survey. The German city of Bremen stressed that the U.K is its third-largest trade partner while Berlin pointed out that the U.K. is its fifth-largest. For Cyprus, “Britain is the second trading partner ... as a whole and the first one in terms of services, investment and shipping.” And while Polish regions made clear their biggest concern is a reduction of the EU budget, the province of Lublin, southeast of Warsaw, is also worried about reduced exports, “especially agricultural and agri-food products.”


The prospect of the U.K. leaving the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and potentially blocking access to the waters in its Exclusive Economic Zone — the area around its shores where it will regain control of fishing rights — is causing anxiety in several coastal communities across Europe.


The French département of Finistère, in Brittany, is bracing itself for a hit to its fishermen. “The end of the access to the British fishing areas to the Finistère fishing boats is a real economic risk, 50 percent of the fishing activity in Brittany region ... is made inside the British Exclusive Economic Zone,” warned local official Nathalie Sarrabezolles.


Hauts-de-France is home to France's main fishing port, Boulogne-Calais, which the report describes as the main European center for the treatment and processing of sea products. “Along the region's coastline nearly 170 small-scale and deep-sea fishing businesses produce a turnover of close to €80 million with a fleet of around 190 vessels, providing nearly 900 on-board jobs,” writes Decoster.


“Wholesaling and processing of sea products provides 5,000 jobs in 150 companies. Thus significant effects are to be expected in the case of a hard Brexit,” he adds. The official warns that if the U.K. withdraws from the CFP, the whole thing may "unravel."


Regions of the Netherlands are also potentially heavily impacted by losing access to U.K. waters. In the central Dutch province of Flevoland, the coastal town of Urk (which sports a fish on its coat of arms), is concerned that the fishing and fish processing industries will be badly hit (40 percent of its economic activity is based on fishing). The provinces of Flevoland and Overijssel predict a potential drop of 60 percent in fishing business!


Source: Politico