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Brexit. Why do Brits want Out of the EU?

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Wed 5 May, 2021 11:21 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
By now, the British government grants full diplomatic status for the EU ambassador to the UK after months of refusing to accede to EU demands.

And the UK sends navy vessels to Jersey amid the post-Brexit fishing row with France.

In the EU chief negotiator’s diaries, The Great Illusion, Michel Barnier gives blow-by-blow account of the moves behind the UK’s departure.
Quote:
Tory quarrels determined UK’s post-Brexit future, says Barnier
The UK’s early problem, writes Michel Barnier in The Great Illusion, his 500-page account, was that they began by “talking to themselves. And they underestimate the legal complexity of this divorce, and many of its consequences.”

Soon, however, the talking turned to Conservative party infighting, and by the end it had become “political piracy … They will go to any length. The current team in Downing St is not up to the challenges of Brexit nor to the responsibility that is theirs for having wanted Brexit. Simply, I no longer trust them.”

Published in France on Thursday and in English, with the title My Secret Brexit Diary, in October, the book is a blow-by-blow account of the four years Barnier, a former French cabinet minister and European commissioner who has said he expects to “play a role” in the country’s next presidential election, spent as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 01:16 am
@Walter Hinteler,

https://i.imgur.com/79WbPQZ.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/CWIMLpm.jpg
(Screenshots, Marinetraffic)

Just now, about 80 French vessels gather in St Helier.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 04:21 am
More than three out of five UK firms (61 per cent) are reporting difficulties due to Brexit, resulting in rising costs, higher prices for consumers and reduced competitiveness, according to a new report.
And almost a quarter (24 per cent) of exporting firms reported that Brexit has caused sales to the EU to fall, while one-third said that imports from the continent were down.
London School of Economics' Centre for Economic Performance: Brexit Difficulties Affecting Majority Of Firms.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 05:58 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Not only UK Royal Navy ships are patrolling close to Jersey but there's a Frech coastguard (Gendarmerie maritime "Athos") and a French maritime affairs (Direction des Affaires maritimes "Thémis [PM 41]") ship as well.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 09:02 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Events in Jersey may have made massive - and lurid - headlines in the UK, but in France the media has given it one big Gallic shrug.
It should be noted, too, that the UK sent navy ships, while the French boats are from the Coast Guard and fishery protection.

Meanwhile, the French fisher boats have left, but the UK navy has been ordered to stay there.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 12:47 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
British navy patrol boats, protesting French fishers and Brexit

Quote:
What are the post-Brexit arrangements and is the UK in breach of them?

When the UK left the EU’s single market and customs union on 31 January 2020 – the so-called transition period after the end of the country’s membership of the bloc – it left the common fisheries policy that has peacefully divvied up the spoils of Europe’s waters since the 1970s.

It also ended the Bay of Granville agreement, signed in 2000 by Britain and the Channel Islands government, which had established a pattern of rights for French boats up to three miles from the islands’ coasts.

Within the Brexit trade and cooperation agreement struck last Christmas Eve there is a new EU-UK fisheries agreement that offers French fishers the continuation of the status quo in a zone between six and 12 miles from the UK’s shores up to 2026, if they can prove that they had previously been operating in those waters.

Jersey published on Friday a list of licences issued for 41 French boats of more than 12 metres that could prove they had met the requirement they had fished in the island’s waters for at least 10 days over a period of 12 months within the past three years. The licences also show what species of fish they were fishing and the numbers of days spent at sea.

An extended amnesty on providing such proof has been offered to smaller vessels. But there are 17 larger boats that have been unable to provide the evidence required and those who were granted access complain that additional conditions were set on securing the licences.

Those extra conditions were that dredgers could have only 12 lines coming off them and that the vessels respected the closure of the bream nesting areas for a small period of time to allow scientific research to be undertaken. The French government said those conditions were “null and void” claiming they were “were not arranged or discussed” with them. The European Commission has also said that the conditions are in breach of the trade and cooperation agreement.


Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 6 May, 2021 12:48 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
What has cutting off Jersey’s energy supply got to do with it?

The trade and cooperation agreement foresees that both the fisheries agreement maintaining the status quo in the Channel and the UK’s retention of access to the EU single market in energy ends in 2026. The deal also contains a dispute resolution mechanism that could allow one party in extremis to unilaterally suspend part of its obligations in the agreement – but it would need to be proportionate. On Tuesday, the French minister for maritime affairs, Annick Girardin, had made the link between Jersey continuing to benefit from three sub-cables from France supplying the island with energy and the smooth running of the fishing arrangements. “The agreement contains retaliatory measures,” she had told the French national assembly. “Well, we are ready to use these retaliatory measures; Europe, France has the means, it is written into the agreement. So as far as Jersey is concerned, I would remind you, for example of the transport of electricity by sub-marine cables. So we have the means, and, sorry it has come to this, we will do so if we have to.”


Quote:
Is this serious?
Whenever armed forces get involved in disputes of this sort there is a risk, however small, of mistakes and escalation. A dispute between the UK and Iceland over fishing waters known as the ‘cod wars’ led to violence on the high seas at various points from the 1950s to the 1970s, with ramming and net cutting abounding. In the early 1970s, the Icelandic prime minister at the time, Ólafur Jóhannesson, even reportedly asked the US to send jets to bomb the British frigates. But the dispute seems eminently fixable. The Jersey authorities are looking for a compromise.

Above quotes from: What is behind the dispute over fishing rights around Jersey?
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2021 05:50 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Boris Johnson to relax ‘burdensome’ EU state aid rules in green light for new subsidies
Quote:
The Queen's Speech on Tuesday included the announcement of a new Subsidy Control Bill that will set a new framework on how cash should be doled out to firms and projects.

The bill will create a set of UK-wide principles that public authorities must follow when granting subsidies – replacing the old EU framework transposed into UK law at the point of exit.

And it will also exempt certain categories of subsidy – yet to be named – from "certain obligations" or leave them entirely unrestricted, potentially giving ministers a freer hand when allocating funds.

Ministers say state aid could be helpful in meeting strategic goals such as increasing research and development investment, or achieving the UK's net zero climate commitment.

But it remains to be seen how far the rules can be relaxed, as the UK is bound to the EU's "level playing field" by the trade agreement Boris Johnson signed.

Other trade agreements also include restrictions on state aid, and the World Trade Organisation also requires countries to keep subsidies within certain limits.

If the details of the new regime are too lax it could trigger a trade row with Brussels, or with other countries under the WTO.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2021 01:27 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
One of the key architects of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal has admitted it is damaging Northern Irish businesses and warned it may not be sustainable.

Britain warns EU that Northern Ireland protocol unsustainable
Quote:
The UK government has warned that the special Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland as they stand are unworkable, in what appears to be a loaded intervention during sensitive talks with the EU on the controversial border checks.
[...]
Frost has urged the EU to be pragmatic with his statement suggesting he believes there is more scope for movement on the Brussels side.

But Brussels sources insist they are not in the business of “negotiation” as the protocol is a direct consequence of the hard Brexit Boris Johnson had opted for.

The UK government has repeatedly said it supports the Northern Ireland protocol, which has seen checks on supermarket food and plants arriving from Britain, and is not seeking to scrap it like the Democratic Unionist party.

Talks aimed at finding a path to minimise the checks, which led to tensions and violence in loyalist communities, have been ongoing for weeks.

But agreement has only been reached on a handful of items including waivers for guide dogs and for pedigree livestock crossing the Irish Sea.

Diplomatic sources say that the UK has ruled out the most helpful option of aligning food standards with those of the EU.

This could have seen a reduction of about 90% of documentary checks and 98% of physical checks conducted at the border, according to recent select committee evidence from Shanker Singham, one of the government’s key advisers in the Brexit negotiations on the Irish border question.

Talks are now centring on the potential for checks exclusively on food and other goods going into Northern Ireland from Great Britain which are considered “at risk” of crossing the border into the republic.

Under the withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland is observing the EU rules on food and although the UK follows the same rules, there has been strong political resistance to formalising alignment as it would be seen as a breach of the clean-break from EU law.

Experts have also suggested a food standards agreement similar to that operating between New Zealand and Australia.

Insiders in Brussels say this has not been requested by the UK, and in any case it would not be “a silver bullet” as it covers individual products rather than the broad range of food that crosses the Irish sea.


Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 17 May, 2021 05:19 am
@Walter Hinteler,
UK proposes phasing in post-Brexit Irish Sea border checks on food
Quote:
The UK has made a fresh attempt to solve the Brexit tensions in Northern Ireland by asking Brussels to phase in border checks in four stages, it has emerged.

The plan, revealed by BBC Northern Ireland, comes as the Brexit minister, David Frost, urged Brussels to stop “point-scoring” over the Northern Ireland protocol, hinting that the UK would take unilateral action if needed.

In a bluntly worded newspaper article, Lord Frost urged Brussels to find a new way to implement the protocols for trade across the Irish Sea, arguing that the EU had adopted a “purist” approach that was threatening the “political, social, or economic fabric of life in Northern Ireland”.

Frost again hinted that the UK could take unilateral action over the Brexit arrangements. “We are responsible for protecting the peace and prosperity of everyone in Northern Ireland and we will continue to consider all our options for doing so,” he wrote.

His comments reinforce a robust statement he made a week ago, seen in some quarters as an overtly political message to calm tensions among loyalist communities.

But behind the scenes work has intensified between Brussels and London. The UK has ruled out a food standards alignment deal that would have done away with 90% of border checks, according to Shanker Singham, one of the lead proponents for alternative arrangements for the border.

According to internal documents seen by the BBC and the Guardian, the UK instead wants to phase in border checks on food. Phase 1 from 1 October would involve the introduction of export health certificates for fresh meat. Phase 2, from the end of January, would cover dairy products, garden centre plants, seeds and wine.

Phase 3 would cover fruit and vegetables and pet food, and phase 4 would cover “ambient” foods such as jams, products with a short shelf life and high-risk foods not of animal origin.

The UK says “concrete timelines” would evolve over the coming months, with the timings of phases 3 and 4 determined by the success of the first phases and some technical delivery conditions.

The discussion over practicalities contrast with political tensions being fanned on the UK side, with one ally of Boris Johnson reportedly saying the protocol was “dead in the water” over the weekend.

In the Mail on Sunday, Frost described the protocol as “a huge improvement on the old backstop” that was proposed by Theresa May and torn up as soon as Johnson succeeded her in 2019.

Frost accused the EU of trying to treat goods coming from Britain into Northern Ireland “in the same way as the arrival of a vast Chinese container ship at Rotterdam”.

“We did not anticipate this when we agreed the protocol and it makes no sense,” he said. “If the protocol operates so as to damage the political, social or economic fabric of life in Northern Ireland, then that situation cannot be sustained for long. So my message to our friends in Europe is: stop the point-scoring and work with us. Seize the moment, help find a new approach to Northern Ireland, and then we can build a new relationship for the future.”
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 May, 2021 09:15 am
@Walter Hinteler,
According to the Brexiters, the consequences of Britain's exit from the EU are not so bad. However, one of the country's top bankers sees it quite differently:
There are few people who know the financial centre of London as well as Howard Davies. For many years he was the head of the British Financial Market Authority (FSA), and now Davies heads the board of directors of the major bank NatWest. The financial institution, whose full name is actually "National Westminster Bank", is a British institution - and Davies' word carries weight.

Both Brexit camps were essentially wrong with their forecasts, both the Remain side and the Brexiters. The effects of leaving the EU were neither as fatal as the EU supporters had claimed. Nor would they be "minimal", as the Leave faction likes to claim.

However, the consequences of the Brexit are becoming apparent: the number of companies relocating part of their activities away from London was 269 two years ago. In the meantime, the number has risen to 440.

According to Davies, developments in the real estate markets also clearly signal the end of London's overwhelming dominance. Since 2019, he says, house prices in Paris have risen by 20 per cent, in Amsterdam by almost 40 per cent - and in London by just six per cent. So prices in Britain's capital are no longer rising as fast as they have in recent years.

For the EU, London is changing "from its most important domestic financial centre to an important offshore financial centre", Davies judges. No more - and no less.

A Brexit Post-Mortem for the City

Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 May, 2021 10:59 am
@Walter Hinteler,
UK didn’t get deal it wanted for NI, Frost admits as Britain ‘desperate’ over trade talks


Quote:
The UK did not secure the Brexit deal it wanted for Northern Ireland, the former chief negotiatior David Frost has admitted.

Speaking toThe Spectator, the minister blamed the pressure the government faced in late 2019 for the disappointing result.

His words paint a different picture from Boris Johnson’s assurances in November 2019 that Northern Ireland had “a great deal”.

In other Brexit-related news, an expert has accused the government of appearing “desperate” in its attempts to strike free trade deals.

David Henig, the co-founder of the UK Trade Forum, told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that a deal with Australia will set a precedent for future ones with other major agricultural exporters like New Zealand and the US.

He suggested it was not “the smartest of moves” for the UK to strive for a deal by the G7 Summit on 11 June, as this gives Australia a stronger bargaining position.

“We are desperate to get those deals - that’s the modus operandi of this government. We need to hope they are going to be the right deals and balance all the different interests,” Mr Henig said.


The Spectator: Bloc buster: David Frost on Brexit, Barnier and the backstop
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2021 10:43 am
@Walter Hinteler,
‘We mean business,’ says chair of body for EU citizens in UK
Quote:
Ashley Fox says organisation will not hesitate to take public bodies to court if they breach Brexit withdrawal agreement

A statutory body launched to protect EU citizens living in the UK will not hesitate to take the Home Office or other public bodies to court if they are found to be in breach of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, its new chairman has vowed.

“We are here and we mean business,” said Sir Ashley Fox, the chair of the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA).

In his first interview since the Guardian’s reports on EU citizens being locked up by border officials, Fox said the IMA needed to hear directly from EU citizens who feel badly treated.

“Our job is to uphold the rights of EU citizens protected under the withdrawal agreement. That’s our job and that’s what we’ll do. I am concerned at the treatment of those EU citizens of the border but I want more information before I say that we’re going to take any further action,” said Fox in an interview with the Guardian.

The IMA was set up in January under the withdrawal agreement to monitor the implementation and application of EU citizens’ rights following Brexit including the delivery of social welfare and other employment rights across various government departments.

So far it has received around 70 complaints and reached resolution on several of those about the delay and uncertainty some EU citizens experienced in obtaining health insurance cards.

Fox says the IMA has a number of powers to remedy complaints not resolved through direct engagement with a public body or government department.

“We can launch a formal inquiry into why a situation has occurred. And finally we can institute judicial review proceedings of a government body that, shall we say, ignores the evidence of an inquiry,” he said.

The IMA is also investigating whether the delays in issuing national insurance numbers because of the suspension of in-person appointments during the pandemic is breaching EU citizens’ rights.

The IMA has already intervened in a case taken on behalf of two Romanian nationals. The high court ruled in their favour over improved access to social benefits for those in the country for fewer than five years and pre-settled status.

But the so-called Fratila case has now gone to the supreme court after an appeal by the Department for Work and Pensions.

On Monday the IMA launched an official call for evidence from EU citizens to share their experiences of the EU settlement scheme, which was launched more than two years ago by the Home Office.

The IMA has identified a number of issues with the process but is looking for evidence as part of a pre-inquiry fact-finding exercise.

Some 5.4m EU applications have been received in what is seen as a hugely successful process but concerns remain over vulnerable citizens who do not apply and the backlog of 320,000 applications.

Fox said the IMA would like the backlog dealt with “as quickly and effectively as possible” but warned against haste. “We don’t want mistakes made. It’s better to do this in the effective manner, and get it right.

Fox defended a tweet over the weekend on the IMA’s account suggesting EU citizens will have “#nilpoints” like Eurovision song contest entrants if they didn’t apply for the settlement scheme before the cut-off date.

The tweet has since been deleted and an apology issued for “any offence caused”.

“To the extent that it raised awareness of the IMA and to the extent that it might cause some citizens to apply that might not have done. Then, it hasn’t done any harm has it?” he said.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2021 07:22 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
UK trade with the EU collapsed by nearly a quarter at the start of 2021 compared with three years before as Brexit and Covid-19 disruption hit exports, while China replaced Germany as the biggest single import market, according to official figures.
Office for National Statistics via a report in The Guardian.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2021 08:29 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Quote:
EU chiefs have ‘tin ear’ over protocol, says outgoing DUP leader
Outgoing DUP leader and first minister Arlene Foster has accused the EU of having a “tin ear” to concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Foster was speaking after European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the protocol needs to be implemented.

Responding to those remarks, Foster said: “I think it is hugely disappointing, in spite of everything that has happened, the fact that we are talking about cancer drugs being prevented from coming into Northern Ireland.

“The fact that there are more checks from Great Britain into Northern Ireland than there are in Rotterdam; that still the European Union and the European Commission have had a tin ear to the concerns and the absolutely genuine concerns of the people in Northern Ireland.”
The Independent
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 May, 2021 11:10 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
UK hits back at Von der Leyen over Northern Ireland protocol

Quote:
Downing Street has hit back at Ursula von der Leyen’s “disappointing” lack of recognition of the anger in Northern Ireland and of the EU’s duty to ease tensions after the European Commission president blamed Brexit for recent problems.

Following a summit with leaders in Brussels, Von der Leyen reiterated her offer to find “practical solutions” to issues destabilising politics in the region but insisted arrangements in the withdrawal agreement to avoid a border on the island of Ireland must be fully implemented.

“I think it is important to reiterate that the protocol is the only possible solution to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland while protecting the integrity of the European Union’s single market,” she told reporters. “If we see problems today we should not forget that they do not come from the protocol but they result from Brexit. That is the reason why the problems are there.

“Now, it’s our common duty with the United Kingdom to do whatever we can to reduce tensions in Northern Ireland and that is why we are exploring practical solutions to help to minimise the disruptions to the everyday life in Northern Ireland.”

Under a protocol in the withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland in effect stays in the EU’s single market for goods, and a customs border is enforced on goods crossing the Irish sea. But checks on goods at the ports of Belfast and Larne have sparked anger among unionists and loyalists who feel Northern Ireland is being separated from the rest of the UK.

Symbolic issues such as the difficulty of buying British-grown plants and other products in shops in Northern Ireland have offered an excuse for some to engage in violent protest.

Last week, the chair of the Loyalist Communities Council in Northern Ireland, with links to former paramilitaries, warned of the risk of further violence and described tensions over Brexit as “probably the most dangerous for many years”. The new leader of the Democratic Unionist party, Edwin Poots, has also said the Northern Ireland protocol is impractical and should be “dismantled”.

In response to Von der Leyen’s comments, a government spokesperson said the EU should not treat the “regulatory border” between Northern Ireland and Great Britain like any other and insisted that both sides had a responsibility to find a “pragmatic” solution.

“The protocol relies on the support of all communities in Northern Ireland so it is disappointing that there was not more recognition from the Commission president of the impact that the current operation of the protocol is having in Northern Ireland,” the spokesperson said. “While the EU prioritise protection of the single market and treat the regulatory boundary as if it were like any other external EU border, our focus remains on protecting the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions”.

The spokesperson said Von der Leyen should recognise that article 6.2 in the protocol “explicitly recognises Northern Ireland’s ‘integral place in the UK’s internal market’ and says that ‘[EU] and the UK shall use their best endeavours to facilitate the trade between Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK’”.

The spokesperson added: “We are committed to working constructively with them to find solutions which protect the Belfast [Good Friday] agreement in all its dimensions. However, for this to happen, the EU must show common sense and take a pragmatic, risk-based approach to the challenges that remain.

“The EU has a responsibility to work with us to address the significant challenges that the protocol is causing for businesses and citizens.”

Officials in London and Brussels are continuing to discuss how they might find solutions to the checks and paperwork hampering the smooth flow of trade at ports in Northern Ireland. The UK has recently proposed that checks on food crossing the Irish sea be phased in from the autumn in four stages.

UK sources have suggested that the commission’s main representative in the talks, Maroš Šefčovič, the vice-president of the EU’s executive branch, has shown willingness to be flexible but that there is more resistance from the member states. Some of those issues were discussed at a summit dinner attended by the heads of state and government in Brussels on Monday evening.

In her comments after that discussion, Von der Leyen sought to offer reassurance to the EU capitals, concerned about goods passing into the single market that do not meet Brussels standards, but they appeared to fall foul of Downing Street.

Talks are continuing against a background of choppy relations between the UK and the EU, with the most recent flashpoint being Boris Johnson’s deployment of the Royal Navy in response to threats of a blockade by French fishers of the Jersey port of St Helier. It is claimed that EU fishing vessels are not being granted the level of access to British waters guaranteed in the trade and cooperation agreement struck with the UK on Christmas Eve.

Von der Leyen said: “The beginnings are not easy, tensions are being felt around the access, for example, of EU fishing boats, or tensions are without any doubt there around the implementation of the protocol of Northern Ireland.”

France’s president Emmanuel Macron echoed Von der Leyen’s demands over the strict implementation of the withdrawal agreement and trade deal. He said: “We reaffirmed our clear and simple wish to simply see the text and spirit of the agreements applied. Applied completely and in good faith.

“The situation in which we find ourselves as regards our fishers, as regards respect for our common market, and as regards the Irish border – today these are the subject of unilateral measures by the British which do not respect the agreements.

“The negotiation of Brexit is behind us, no one wants to return to it. But we stand ready to defend our interests and ensure these agreements are applied.

“We will not in any case accept any weakness … We reiterated very clearly our desire to see the British accept what they have signed, recalling simply that if these situations are difficult to manage it’s precisely because of Brexit and in no case because of the EU.”
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2021 07:11 am
@Walter Hinteler,
EU citizens win right to access personal data held by Home Office
Quote:
EU citizens have won the right to get full access to records about them held by the Home Office or any other body after a legal battle by campaigners.

Three judges at the court of appeal unanimously overturned an earlier high court decision that their case had no legal merit and ruled the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) unlawfully denied them access to their data through an “immigration exemption” clause.

It brings to an end a three-year challenge by campaign groups the3million and the Open Rights Group.
[...]
The Open Rights Group and the3million had failed in their attempt to overturn the immigration exemption in the DPA in a judicial review in 2018, arguing it undermined their legal right to challenge decisions by the Home Office.

The exemption meant an EU citizen seeking to challenge a decision to refuse settled status or future leave to remain in the UK was automatically handicapped because they did not have access to the records used against them. The Home Office had argued the law was necessary.

But the case lifted the lid on the secretive decision-making processes in the Home Office, with case workers using a “prejudice test” for the “maintenance of effective immigration control”.

The judgment ruled against the Home Office’s consideration that immigration control policies “outweighed the benefits of the individual exercising their data subject rights”.

The judges noted that in the first year of the DPA coming into force, the Home Office relied on the immigration exemption rule in 10,823, or 59%, of cases.

The ruling means EU citizens who are denied settled status or future immigration visas can have full access to Home Office databases to see records used against them that could include social benefits, entry to the country records, criminal and civil offence records.
[...]
The Open Rights Group and the3million had failed in their attempt to overturn the immigration exemption in the DPA in a judicial review in 2018, arguing it undermined their legal right to challenge decisions by the Home Office.

The exemption meant an EU citizen seeking to challenge a decision to refuse settled status or future leave to remain in the UK was automatically handicapped because they did not have access to the records used against them. The Home Office had argued the law was necessary.

But the case lifted the lid on the secretive decision-making processes in the Home Office, with case workers using a “prejudice test” for the “maintenance of effective immigration control”.

The judgment ruled against the Home Office’s consideration that immigration control policies “outweighed the benefits of the individual exercising their data subject rights”.

The judges noted that in the first year of the DPA coming into force, the Home Office relied on the immigration exemption rule in 10,823, or 59%, of cases.
... ... ...
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 12:13 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Boris Johnson to welcome the Hungarian prime minister, a fierce critic of Joe Biden and ally of China.

Viktor Orbán to become second EU leader hosted at No 10 after Brexit
Quote:
Boris Johnson will welcome his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orbán, a fierce critic of Joe Biden and an ally of China, to No 10 on Friday, only the second EU leader the UK prime minister has greeted since the the country left the bloc.
[...]
Downing Street said it was not going to predict whether the prime minister would raise human rights during the meeting, but asked about Orbán’s references to Muslim invaders and asylum seekers as poison, a spokesperson said those comments had been divisive and wrong.

Johnson’s staff have described the meeting as routine, but some major European powers will see it as a sign that the UK prime minister is more interested in disrupting rather than coexisting with the EU. He has so far only met the Irish prime minister, Micheál Martin, in an effort to reform the Northern Ireland protocol.

The risks to Johnson of a close relationship with the EU’s enfant terrible are clear, given that the Biden administration has frequently described Hungary as a totalitarian regime that is too close to China.

The US deputy secretary of state, Wendy Sherman, met EU leaders in Brussels on Wednesday, when she pointedly praised a strong EU, including its stance on China. Nearly a third of the 30 MEPs who opposed the European parliament suspending its planned investment deal with China earlier this month came from Orbán’s Fidesz party.

Hungary has twice used its veto against EU criticism of China, most recently in May when it vetoed a motion criticising Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong – a move the German foreign minister, Heiko Mass, described as “absolutely incomprehensible”.

Fidesz was suspended from the European parliament’s ruling European People’s party group in 2019, and quit before it was thrown out in March. Orbán touted a populist alliance intended to rediscover Europe’s roots when he met the leader of the Italy’s League, Matteo Salvini, and the Polish prime minster, Mateusz Morawiecki, last week.

The Conservative party was part of the European Conservatives and Reformists group. Led by Poland’s Law and Justice party , it is also where Fidesz and the League might well end up. A broader populist bloc would be a great prize for Orbán.

Pawel Zerka, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said “Orbán might be interested to display an image of a leader who still matters internationally”, mostly for internal political reasons including the national election next year. “It’s not much more than that.”

He said he doubted the UK would help Orbán and others to establish a stronger populist bloc within the EU. “At most, a visit to London could serve as a further opportunity to criticise Brussels”, particularly given the UK’s successful vaccination campaign, Zerka said.

A key theme at next month’s G7 summit chaired by the UK in Cornwall is an assertion of western democratic values against China and other autocracies such as Russia. Hungary, by contrast, boasts close investment and educational ties with China.

Last week it also blocked an EU statement containing criticism of Israel’s response to the rocket attacks by Hamas from Gaza. Nathalie Tocci, an adviser to the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrel, said Hungary now opposed common EU foreign policy positions as a matter of principle.

Despite its stream of criticism of the EU, Hungary is likely to receive as much as €16.8bn (£14.5bn) under the the bloc’s resilience and Covid recovery plan.

Tryagain
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 01:25 pm
China has overtaken Germany to become the UK's biggest single import market for the first time since records began.

Goods imported from China rose 66% from the start of 2018 to £16.9bn ($24bn) in the first quarter of this year, the Office for National Statistics said.

Imports from Germany fell by a quarter to £12.5bn in the same period.

The change came as trade with the European Union was disrupted by Brexit and the pandemic boosted demand for Chinese goods.

Since modern records began in 1997, Germany had been the UK's biggest source of imports, except for a six month period at the end of 2000 and the start of the following year when the US briefly took the top spot.
0 Replies
 
Tryagain
 
  0  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 04:32 pm
Jilted EU issues angry statement after Swiss walk out of talks with Brussels

THE European Union has lashed out at Switzerland after the Alpine nation walked out of their negotiations to broker a trade agreement.

The Swiss federal council said it pulled the plug on its talks with Brussels, claiming “substantial differences” between the two sides had made the wrangling untenable. Brussels hinted at almost instant retaliation, suggesting there would be inevitable deterioration in their co-operation. In a fiery statement, the European Commission said: “We regret this decision, given the progress that has been made over the last years to make the Institutional Framework Agreement a reality.
 

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