The European Union on Tuesday congratulated incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson but was firm that it would not heed his election promises of renegotiating Brexit. The bloc’s executive European Commission was willing to work with Johnson, a spokeswoman said, but the limits were clear. “We look forward to working constructively with PM Johnson when he takes office, to facilitate the ratification of the withdrawal agreement and achieve an orderly Brexit,” said the bloc’s negotiator of the unprecedented divorce, Michel Barnier. “We are ready also to rework the agreed declaration on a new partnership,” he added, referring to a political declaration that accompanies the legal withdrawal agreement. Minutes before Johnson’s victory was announced in the Conservative Party leadership contest, the Commission’s deputy head Frans Timmermans said the EU would not agree to change the deal it had sealed with outgoing British leader Theresa May. That deal was rejected three times by the British parliament. “The United Kingdom reached an agreement with the European Union and the European Union will stick to that agreement,” Timmermans told a news conference. “This is the best deal possible.” Timmermans said the EU would hold the line on Brexit and that Johnson’s flamboyant “character or persona or attitude” made no difference. The EU is bracing for a no-deal Brexit, or another delay to Britain’s departure, should Johnson follow through on his promises as Britain’s leader. “We will hear what the new prime minister has to say when he comes to Brussels,” Timmermans said, but warned
Zimbabwe and the European Union began political talks on Wednesday aimed at turning the page on hostile relations during Robert Mugabe’s rule, a step that could enable a resumption of direct financial aid for the ailing economy. During Robert Mugabe’s four-decade rule until 2017, he would routinely blame European “colonialists” for Zimbabwe’s problems, and snarled at EU and U.S. sanctions for rights and vote abuses. The EU has only kept sanctions on Mugabe, his wife and the state arms manufacturer, but is yet to resume direct funding to the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, preferring to channel money through local charities and U.N. agencies. With the economy afflicted by dollar shortages, fuel queues, power-cuts, and soaring prices, Mnangagwa has said restoring ties with the West and multilateral lenders like International Monetary Fund is one of his major priorities. At the start of the open-ended talks between diplomats and officials in Harare, EU Zimbabwe delegation head Timo Olkkonen said they would discuss issues including economic development, trade, investment, rights, rule of law and good governance. The government has already signed up to an IMF monitoring programme where it has committed to political and economic reforms in a bid to set a track record of fiscal discipline that could earn it debt forgiveness and future financing. At a separate event in a Harare hotel, Mnangagwa signed a new bill creating a tripartite negotiating forum intended to bring labour, business and government together to shape policy. The 76-year-old leader is under pressure
The European Union’s traditional center splintered in the hardest-fought European Parliament elections in decades, with the far right and pro-environment Greens gaining ground on Sunday after four days of a polarized vote. Turnout was at a two-decade high over the balloting across the 28 European Union countries. The elections were seen as a test of the influence of the nationalist, populist and hard-right movements that have swept the continent in recent years and impelled Britain to quit the EU altogether. Both supporters of closer European unity and those who consider the EU a meddlesome and bureaucratic presence portrayed the vote as crucial for the future of the bloc. In Britain , voters went for the extremes, with the strongest showing for Nigel Farage’s the newly formed Brexit party and a surge for the staunchly pro-European Liberal Democrats, versus a near wipeout for Conservatives. In France, an electorate that voted Emmanuel Macron into presidential office in 2017 did an about-face and the party of his defeated opponent, Marine Le Pen, drew into first place. In Germany , Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition saw a drastic loss in support to the Greens and, to a lesser extent, the far right. Italy’s League party, led by Matteo Salvini, claimed 32% of the vote in early projections, compared with around 6% five years ago. “Not only is the League the first party in Italy, but Marine Le Pen is first in France, Nigel Farage is first in Great Britain. Therefore, Italy, France and England:
As voters in all 28 European Union countries elect a new shared parliament , here are some key races to watch in the battle to fill the 751 seats in the European Parliament: ITALY: Italy’s anti-migrant, anti-Islam interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has been campaigning hard to boost his right-wing League party to become the No. 1 party in Italy and possibly Europe. Salvini has been using his hard-line credentials to expand a parliamentary group of European populists that already includes far-right politicians in France, Germany and Austria. Salvini is promising to restore sovereignty over key issues like immigration to national capitals, thwarting the EU’s drive toward closer integration of its members. In Europe, the populists will find it difficult to deliver on their transformation promises. But Salvini is also looking to capitalize on the outcome of the European elections to boost his power at home in the League’s uneasy populist ruling coalition with the left-wing 5-Star Movement. Salvini could use European electoral gains to leverage his position in the government and pass policies important to his base of northern Italian entrepreneurs, like a flat tax or the high-speed train connecting Lyon, France, with Turin. Most analysts believe that Salvini is unlikely to seek an early election in Italy even with a big victory on the European stage. The 5-Star Movement, on the other hand, could decide to pull the plug on the coalition government. FRANCE: France is looking at an epic battle between pro-EU centrist President Emmanuel Macron and anti-immigration,
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.
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.”
The United States and European Union have expressed deep concern over Turkey’s plans for offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by Cyprus as its exclusive economic zone, adding to tensions between Ankara and its Western allies.
The statements at the weekend came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “we are starting drilling” in the region.
Turkey and the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“The United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Sunday.
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.
“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.”