Welcome to the new expansion off of our previous UK news roundup. We realized that many of our readers are interested not only in news from the UK, but would also like to hear more about what’s going on in Europe at large. So welcome to the first edition of the European News Roundup!
Headway being made in Brexit talks?
Prime Minister Theresa May has been reaching out to all corners of the House of Commons to find some compromise on a potential agreement for Britain exiting the European Union, which has just over two months to be agreed before the nation leaves without a deal. Though opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn remains stubborn, as May has not agreed to rule out a No Deal, some headway with Brexiteers within her own party may be made.
There are some signs that the most passionate of Leavers that so hated May’s Brexit deal, that was voted down in Parliament last week – Jacob-Rees Mogg remains hopeful that an arrangement can be struck with his Conservative Party colleagues over the controversial “Backstop” arrangement that maintains the soft border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Parliament to take control?
In the meantime, the Commons is considering a range of potential amendments to the motion put forward by Theresa May that has been constructed by various MPs. Remainer MPs from all parties have tabled variations of deals that could potentially gain a majority in Parliament. Most Remainer proposals include proposing that the government categorically rules out a No Deal. This is the most insisted upon amendment, but one of the hardest to implement, because leaving without a deal is the only thing out of anything suggested that is currently enshrined in law. Other options put forward include a Norway-style deal that maintains certain trade arrangements with the EU outside of the Backstop.
The second referendum is a no-go if Corbyn is not on board
Supporters of a “People’s Vote,” a second referendum on EU membership, have admitted that without Jeremy Corbyn’s support, it is unlikely to make much headway. At the moment, Corbyn has not ruled out a second referendum but has not thrown his support into it either. It’s dividing the Labour Party between ardent Remainers and wishy-washy old-timers like Corbyn and Diane Abbot.
Former Scottish Minister Alex Salmond arrested.
As of writing, Alex Salmond has been arrested and charged for an as yet unknown crime, appearing in court today. The rumor mill on Twitter is saying either contempt of court or related to sexual assault allegations.
Violent crime up 19%
Homicides and robbery are up from last year, the highest total since 2007.
Nigel Farage applies to form new “Brexit Party”
Former UKIP leader, and leading Brexit figure, Nigel Farage has applied to the electoral commission to form a new party called The Brexit Party. He is doing this for two reasons: one is that he believes there are credible plans by Remainers to block Brexit, and he wishes to remain in politics to ensure this does not happen, and second that he believes UKIP has gone “too extreme,” and wants to bring reasonability back to the Brexiteer movement.
Macron and Merkel’s “Friendship pact” is just more centralisation
Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, President of France and German Chancellor respectively, have made a “Friendship Pact,” restating their commitment to the EU whilst generally agreeing to some common economic and military policies. The latter Merkel says will help lead the way to a European Army (remember when they said that a European Army was just a conspiracy theory?).
France and Germany will force a joint national security council and commit to helping each other in the case of military attack. They have also committed to some economic convergence. This is widely seen amongst detractors as a means of huddling up with like minds in defense against the rising tide of populist movements in their respective companies.
Salvini invites tensions between Italy and France
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has urged the French people not to vote for Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche Party in the forthcoming European elections. The nationalist minister believes the French President has failed the nation, encouraging third world immigration to Europe. The differences between the two worlds couldn’t be starker – the populist Italian wearing firefighter outfits during public events versus the smarmy Bond villain Macron.
You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.