Ireland says UK cannot unilaterally scrap border backstop : Reuters


DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is willing to examine ways in which a “backstop” to keep the Irish border open after Brexit could be reviewed so long as it does not permit Britain to unilaterally walk away from it, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday.

The sides in the negotiations have signalled progress on agreeing customs arrangements for an emergency Irish border fix but differences persist on the lifespan of the so-called “backstop”.

 

Source: Ireland says UK cannot unilaterally scrap border backstop : Reuters

Henry Newman: How to manage No Deal? To start with, pledge to reduce tariffs. | Conservative Home


Another alternative, any comments?

61chrissterry

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Brexit negotiations are stalled. Only one issue matters – the Irish backstop. Despite all the drama and noises off about Chequers, “Norway for now”, and Super Canada, none of that matters if we cannot agree a divorce. And, unless the EU shifts tack, the only path to an orderly divorce is via the backstop. So we are facing down a growing risk of No Deal. No Deal could mean tariffs on trade with our largest partner – the EU. So, the Government should commit now to reduce our overall tariffs in the event of No Deal.

No Deal should be nobody’s preferred option. It would mean significant disruption. Aviation, haulage and transport, citizen’s rights, and many other areas would potentially be affected. Almost by definition it would suggest that relations across the Continent had broken down – the political and strategic effects could be profound.

But there might be little choice if the alternative would mean a backstop which threatens the long-term integrity of the United Kingdom. So what would it mean in economic terms? Open Europe’s analysis, published yesterday, reveals that in the medium term the static macroeconomic effects of No Deal would be material but relatively small. GDP growth would be affected – down an estimated 2.2 per cent by 2030.

Our model considers the cost of tariffs with the EU, as well as costs for customs and other non-tariff barriers. But despite these new costs, we found that No Deal would not be the biggest determinant of our prosperity over that period. Over the medium term up to 2030 the UK economy would continue to grow by around 30 per cent, even in the event of No Deal. Our research is in line with findings by the LSE, PwC and the OBR. Yes, other people have come up with bigger numbers, including the Treasury, but they have thrown in other effects which are much harder to model successfully.

What our research also shows is that the Government could take action to mitigate some of the medium-term effects of No Deal. If we left without a deal, there would be tariffs payable on our trade with the EU under WTO rules. (Britain can’t just choose not to levy tariffs on European trade). But we can change our overall tariff regime. Although our WTO commitments impose a maximum level on tariffs which can be charged with any member state, it’s open to the UK to charge less as long as they do this on a most-favoured nation basis. WTO commitments are a ceiling not a floor.

So in our No Deal report Open Europe looked at the effect of lowering all our tariffs on industrial and manufactured goods to zero (and we phased in reductions on agricultural goods). We then also improved our openness to services trade and foreign investment (we moved the UK to “best in class” levels). These steps – which the UK could do without any negotiation – would dramatically reduce the impact of No Deal. Our model suggests that the macroeconomic effect over the same period up to 2030 would be reduced from a 2.2 per cent to 0.5 per cent drag on growth.

 

Source: Henry Newman: How to manage No Deal? To start with, pledge to reduce tariffs. | Conservative Home

A Brexit alternative for the Cabinet today | Conservative Home


Is the below mentioned a reasonable alternative, has suggested, what are your views?

61chrissterry


The Cabinet meets this morning.  Its members will wonder whether No Deal is now inevitable.  Perhaps the EU is now so set on carving up our country in any settlement that a collapse of the talks cannot be avoided.  But there is a potential escape route.

The EU’s support for the backstop is only one of many problems in the wider negotiation.  These cluster around the Prime Minister’s Chequers scheme, which was unequivocally rejected at Salzburg last month.  As the EU sees it, Chequers, with its core proposal to harmonise goods but not services with EU regulation, would breach the four freedoms of movement of goods, services capital, and workers; threaten the unity of its internal market, and potentially undercut EU27 businesses.

Were the backstop to be reduced to the onlydifficulty in the talks, it is possible to imagine that the EU would move to resolve it.

This is what would happen were Theresa May to take up a solution that the EU itself has offered – namely a Canada-style settlement.  Donald Tusk proposed it last spring.  “It should come as no surprise that the only remaining possible model is a free trade agreement,” he wrote.  “I hope that it will be ambitious and advanced – and we will do our best, as we did with other partners, such as Canada recently – but anyway it will only be a trade agreement.  I propose that we aim for a trade agreement covering all sectors and with zero tariffs on goods. Like other free trade agreements, it should address services.”

 

Source: A Brexit alternative for the Cabinet today | Conservative Home

The culture of respect for religion has gone too far | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian


The pope has flown home after a roughing-up in Ireland. Just a few years ago it was unimaginable that a gay taoiseach would dare berate a visiting pontiff face-to-face about the “dark aspects” of Ireland’s history and “brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic church”.

Leo Varadkar’s magnificent assault eviscerated his country’s past cultural capture by the church. “The failures of both church and state and wider society created a bitter and broken heritage for so many, leaving a legacy of pain and suffering,” he said. “It is a history of sorrow and shame.” The sorrow is not just for victims of monstrous priestly abuse, but the abuse of an entire society in thrall to clerical oppression: lives crimped, warped and blighted, no escape from the church’s domination of everything. The best Irish literature breathes that pernicious incense.

Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland had the opposite effect of the healing intended: it set a seal on the liberation of a nation broken free with its votes on same-sex marriage and abortion. Varadkar’s government plans to loosen the grip of the Catholic church over primary education, ripping out indoctrination by the roots.

The pope apologised for the “grave scandal”, for the failure “adequately to address these repellent crimes” that “remain a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community”. But the Irish horrors are beyond apology, the women enslaved in Magdalene laundries, babies snatched into forced adoption, and 800 children’s bodies dumped into a cesspit at a convent in Tuam. For thousands revealed to have been abused by Catholic priests around the world, whose crimes were covered up by bishops and the Vatican, no mere apology will do.

 

Source: The culture of respect for religion has gone too far | Polly Toynbee | Opinion | The Guardian

May’s new Brexit plan. There is an alternative – from within the Government itself. | Conservative Home


The Cabinet was reportedly presented with a Treasury assessment of the impact of four outcomes to the Brexit talks: no deal, a Canadian-type deal, the EEA…and the Government’s own new scheme.  This itself should give pause for thought to the suggestion that, other than the EEA and no deal, there is no alternative to the plan agreed at Chequers.  It is a statement of the obvious that there will be as many of the last as there are people willing to propose them.

Far more to the point, however, there was one from within the Government itself – a proposal for it to seek “Canada Plus Plus Plus”, as David Davis once referred to it.  It is well known that DexEU was working on a draft of the White Paper that would outline this idea during the run-up to the Chequers meeting.  We are told that it went through some nine iterations.  The last ones were largely cuts for length.  None of them have been made public.  Until now.

Today, ConservativeHome publishes key extracts from a full draft of this White Paper.  They are not from one of the briefer final versions, but they set before our readers the main pillars of DexEU’s approach, which we are told were unchanged in any of those nine drafts.  As we write, we don’t have the advantage of also having seen the Government’s own White Paper, apparently to be published later, and thus the capacity to make comparisons between its text and that we publish today.

However, there will clearly be substantial overlap between the two – but, on the basis of the Government document published in the aftermath of Chequers, some key differences too.  A central one is the proposed regulatory treatment of manufactured goods.  In her Mansion House speech earlier this year, the Prime Minister referred in this context to “a comprehensive system of mutual recognition”.  She also set out in her Florence speech last year a three-basket approach to regulation.

“There will be areas which do affect our economic relations where we and our European friends may have different goals; or where we share the same goals but want to achieve them through different means.  And there will be areas where we want to achieve the same goals in the same ways, because it makes sense for our economies,” she said.  This was the approach agreed at the Chequers mee

 

Source: May’s new Brexit plan. There is an alternative – from within the Government itself. | Conservative Home

Ireland ends abortion ban as ‘quiet revolution’ transforms country | Ace Newsroom Live


Ireland has voted by a landslide to liberalize some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws in what its prime minister described as the culmination of a “quiet revolution” in what was one of Europe’s most socially conservative countries.

 

Source: Ireland ends abortion ban as ‘quiet revolution’ transforms country | Ace Newsroom Live

Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President – The New York Times


In many of the president-elect’s international development ventures, his business partners have close ties to foreign governments.

Source: Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President – The New York Times

Ireland ONLY dealing with UK government after Sturgeon’s bid to stop Brexit | UK | News | Daily Express


NICOLA Sturgeon’s bid to keep ties with the EU has been dealt another blow after Ireland said it would only hold formal talks with the UK Government.

Source: Ireland ONLY dealing with UK government after Sturgeon’s bid to stop Brexit | UK | News | Daily Express

Britain does not want return to Northern Ireland border controls, says May | Reuters


Britain does not want a return to border controls in Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday on her first visit to the British province following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union.

Source: Britain does not want return to Northern Ireland border controls, says May | Reuters