UK and EU talk again, but France and Italy bicker

The European News Roundup 08/02/2019

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EU, Britain, France, Italy, Poland

UK

May goes back to EU again, but they’re still not budging

Prime Minister Theresa May and the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, have met to negotiate alternative arrangements regarding the UK/EU withdrawal bill. May has promised the EU that some kind of deal will be agreed in Parliament, and it will be done on time before the March 31st deadline. As it stands, by law, the UK will leave the EU with no agreement, unless parliament can agree to ratify one before the deadline.

May is looking for legally binding reassurances over the Backstop transitional arrangement, but EU leaders are still adamant no renegotiations can take place over the bill. They can only agree on the future relationship. They continue to talk.

Labour MPs furious at Corbyn for perceived capitulation to May

The leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has sent a letter to the Prime Minister outlining stipulations the eventual EU will have to have in order for the party to back it in a Parliamentary vote. This includes ensuring that the UK stays in the single market and some form of a customs union. Pro-EU members of Corbyn’s Labour Party are angry at him for what is being seen as capitulation.

Remainers such as Chuka Umunna and Owen Smith have slammed the decision, as it appears to violate a party agreement on the ‘Six Brexit Tests’ which included “worker protection” and the possibility of a second referendum on EU membership. Mr. Umunna Tweeted:

The latter is considering leaving the party in protest, the final straw against the leader who has not been opposing Brexit per se but offering only a tepid opposition. Labour Remainers want to stay in the EU at all costs, whereas Corbyn is at best ambivalent about the Union, and spent time earlier in his career opposing it.

France

More diplomatic troubles between France and Italy

Tensions between France and Italy were worsened this week as Italian Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the Five Star Movement Luigi Di Maio met with members of the Yellow Vest Movement who are running campaigns for the forthcoming European Elections. The French Foreign Ministry derided this move as interfering and a violation of respect.

Ireland

Soccer legend praises Liam Neeson for admitting racist past, calls Winston Churchill a “white supremacist”

Former Liverpool and England player John Barnes came on to Sky News yesterday, who were probably expecting him to deride Irish actor Liam Neeson, who this week admitted in an interview that he once sought to kill a black man after his friend was raped. Neeson, who grew up during the Northern Irish troubles, said that he went out at night in hope that someone would attack him to justify his violence, but then deeply regretted it. Instead, Barnes, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, praised him for coming out and admitting it, and slammed the media for deriding him.

Barnes then went on to point out universally revered World War II Prime Minister Winston Churchill had severely racist views and was likely a white supremacist, yet he does not get the same treatment from the media.

“There have been people going around and doing it for 20 years, but if they don’t admit it, they’re okay … Liam Neeson deserves a medal.”

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