EU

US Pentagon

A new European Union military pact risks shutting American companies out of defence contracts and undermining NATO, the United States has told the bloc, hinting at possible retaliation. In a May 1 letter, the U.S. government said limitations on the involvement of non-EU countries under consideration in the European pact amounted to “poison pills”. “It is clear that similar reciprocally imposed U.S. restrictions would not be welcomed by our European partners and allies, and we would not relish having to consider them in the future,” said the letter from two U.S. Department of Defense undersecretaries, Ellen Lord and Andrea Thompson, to the EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini. Any rules limiting U.S. defence contractors’ participation would also amount to “a dramatic reversal of the last three decades of increased integration of the transatlantic defence sector,” said the letter, seen by Reuters. Mogherini said the American concerns over the EU accord – agreed in December 2017 and aiming to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together – were unfounded. “The European Union is and remains open to U.S. companies and equipment,” she told reporters on Tuesday, adding the European procurement market is more open than that of the United States, which is already dominant in the global weapons trade. EU defence ministers, who discussed the rules governing the pact on Tuesday, are trying to agree legislation by June on how to allow the involvement of non-EU countries, including Britain after it leaves the bloc and the United States. Dutch Defence MinisterHere's the full story.

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Brexit - UK News

Britain will eventually leave the European Union and agree a free-trade deal with the bloc, according to the vast majority of economists polled by Reuters who were, however, split on whether the two sides would divorce on Oct. 31.

Prime Minister Theresa May failed to get her Withdrawal Agreement ratified by the British parliament on three attempts so the EU allowed a Brexit delay until the end of October, giving May time to try to convince lawmakers to reach agreement.

When asked if the latest deadline - delayed from March 29 - would be extended, 17 of 33 economists who answered an extra question in the May 3-10 Reuters poll said it would not.

“Failure to come to an agreement runs the risk that the EU will simply lose patience in October and not grant any extension,” said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.

“We are by no means out of the woods.”

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Iran and EU

European countries said on Thursday they wanted to preserve Iran’s nuclear deal and rejected “ultimatums” from Tehran, after Iran scaled back curbs on its nuclear programme and threatened moves that might breach the pact.

Iran announced steps on Wednesday to ease curbs on its nuclear programme, in response to new U.S. sanctions imposed after Washington abandoned the deal a year ago.

Experts say the new moves announced by Tehran so far are not likely to violate the terms of the deal immediately.

But President Hassan Rouhani said that unless world powers find a way to protect Iran’s banking and oil industries from U.S. sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium beyond limits allowed in the deal.

“We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT,” read a statement issued jointly by the European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

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Iran and EU

The top European diplomats said, “We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). In this respect, we recall the key role of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments.”Here's the full story.

Jeremy Corbyn - UK Politics News Headline

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will urge both pro-EU voters and Brexit supporters on Thursday to vote for his opposition party at this month’s European election, a poll he blamed on the Conservative government’s “complete failure” to steer the country out of the bloc.

Again setting out Labour’s stance that a second referendum is an option only to stop the government’s “bad deal” or leaving the European Union without an agreement, Corbyn will call on voters to see beyond divisions over Brexit to back his party.

The need to contest elections to the European Parliament on May 23 - after the country failed to meet an original March 29 deadline and still has not agreed on a deal for the departure - poses difficulties for both Labour and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Both parties have internal divisions over Europe and both were punished by voters in local elections last week over the delay to Brexit.

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Jean-Claude Juncker And David Cameron

Jean-Claude Juncker: “The second mistake I made was to listen too carefully to the British government. Cameron. Because the then prime minister asked me not to interfere, not to intervene in the referendum campaign. It was a mistake not to intervene and not to interfere because we would have been the only ones to destroy the lies which were circulated around. I was wrong to be silent at an important moment.”Here's the full story.

European Union - EU News Today

In three weeks, Europeans will vote for a new European Parliament but the real struggle for power over the bloc will begin only after votes are counted. Here’s why?

More than 400 million people in the European Union’s 28 member states can vote from May 23 to 26, including nearly 50 million Britons who were due to leave the bloc in March. Their votes for 73 lawmakers who may have to quit within weeks has upset some calculations after a delay to Brexit agreed in April.

By proportional representation, Europeans will elect 751 members to the European Parliament, which divides its time between Brussels and Strasbourg. Ranging from Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus with six seats each to Germany with 96, for five years Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will pass laws proposed by the European Commission, subject to approval by national governments in the EU Council.

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Theresa May - Jeremy Corbyn - UK Politics Today

“The legal summary document is worse than we feared: the backstop customs union is indefinite, the UK would be a rule taker and the European Court (of Justice) is in charge of our destiny, rather than the sovereign UK parliament,” former Brexit minister David Davis said. “This is not Brexit.”Here's the full story.

Theresa May - UK Brexit Politics

“There is a lot more for me still to do, not least delivering on Brexit and being the prime minister that does take the United Kingdom out of the European Union,” Theresa May told a news conference at the G20 Summit in Argentina, when asked what her legacy would be if she is forced to quit.Here's the full story.