EU set to reject Davis’s plan for Brexit negotiating groups: Brexit News for Saturday 14 April

EU set to reject Davis’s plan for Brexit negotiating groups: Brexit News for Saturday 14 April
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EU reportedly set to reject David Davis’s plan for Brexit negotiating groups

The EU is to rebuff David Davis’s plans to establish up to 50 Brexit negotiating groups to start work on a trade and security treaty with the bloc. The Brexit secretary claimed this week that there would be “about 40 to 50 negotiating strands starting shortly”. His remarks, at a conference in London, come after a letter was sent to Whitehall departments calling for officials across government to take part in the next phase of the negotiations. Senior figures in the European Council and Commission said that Britain had not put forward proposals for such working groups and any attempt to do so be would be rejected. – The Times (£)

“There will be no negotiation strands, no ‘hundreds’ of British negotiators,” one EU diplomat told The Telegraph, referring to the Brexit Secretary’s plans for expansive pre-Brexit trade talks. “Trade negotiations will not start properly until after 29 March 2019. Before that we must get the fundamentals right,” the source said. – Telegraph (£)

Holyrood faces legal challenge over Brexit powers row

Theresa May’s government is preparing to launch legal proceedings against key Brexit legislation passed by the Scottish parliament in a move which could signal the biggest breakdown in relations between Westminster and Holyrood since devolution. UK government sources have said that law officers in London will mount a challenge early next week against the Scottish continuity bill, which is designed to ensure a seamless transition for Scots law after Brexit. The position of Scots law was due to be covered by the EU Withdrawal Bill, which is going through Westminster. This is designed to ensure that there are no gaps in UK law after Brexit. – The Times (£)

Jaguar blames Brexit and ‘demon diesel’ for sharp fall in sales

Britain’s largest carmaker will cut 1,000 jobs in the West Midlands after a slump in sales that the company blamed on uncertainty over Brexit and the “demonisation” of diesel-engined vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover will say on Monday that it is not renewing 1,000 agency workers’ contracts at its plant in Solihull, the first cuts to the workforce since 2009. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has warned that the prospect of Brexit is causing carmakers to hold back on investment until they know what access they will have to the EU’s single market, customs union and harmonised tariffs and regulations. – The Times (£)

It seems implausible that Brexit killed those jobs in light of what has been going on the British car industry in recent years. A bubble of car credit has been inflated in the UK, to the concern of financial regulators and the Bank of England. You don’t need to look far for the physical manifestation of this consumer binge… Jaguar Land Rover cars are everywhere, on just about every street you drive or walk down in the UK. A luxury brand, once unobtainable, has gone mainstream…The truth is, there is epic overproduction in the motor industry facilitated by the easy availability of finance. In the US the warning lights have been flashing for some time. Auto loan delinquencies rates are worse than during the financial crisis. – Iain Martin for Reaction

Boris Johnson accused of ‘betraying UK’ after foreign firms win lucrative fishing licences…

Boris Johnson has been accused of “betraying Britain” after foreign companies were picked for six new lucrative fishing licences. UK bidders for rights to fish waters around the Falkland Islands ripped into the Government after being snubbed. Of the six contracts, four went to a Norwegian company, one to a New Zealand business and one to a Chilean vessel. Documents seen by The Sun reveal that Foreign Secretary ordered that one licence was kept for a Chilean-registered boat. The four-year contracts to fish Chilean Sea Bass or Patagonian toothfish – said to be Prince Charles’ favourite catch – are thought to be valued at more than £75 million. SG Fisheries – one of the two British companies to miss out – is now weighing a judicial review, claiming the award was flawed on the basis of bias and legality. – The Sun

…as EU’s Brexit chief claims Britain will cave to Spanish demands over Gibraltar

Michel Barnier has predicted that Britain will cave to Spanish demands over Gibraltar in Brexit talks between EU-backed Madrid and London. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said Spain could use the “lever of unanimous solidarity” from the other 26 member countries of the bloc to get its way over the Rock. Madrid has since made a string of demands, including the joint control of Gibraltar’s airport, cross-border cooperation on smuggling and ending what Spain sees as a tax haven with far lower corporation rates by its shores. – Telegraph (£)

  • Britain ready to cave in to Spain’s Gibraltar demands, claims Michel Barnier . – The Sun

Michael Gove faces backlash from Philip Hammond and Chris Grayling over ‘green Brexit’

Michael Gove is facing a Cabinet backlash over his plans for a “green Brexit” amid concerns that it will lead to increased red tape and damage the economy after Brexit. The Environment Secretary has committed to an independent “world-leading” statutory body to maintain environmental standards after Brexit and “embed” protections for land, water and air in law. However The Telegraph understands that Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, has raised concerns about the potential cost of new regulations while Mr Grayling, the Transport Secretary, has warned it could hinder the construction of new roads and railway lines. – Telegraph (£)

Pound climbs to its highest point since January against the dollar

The pound has jumped to its highest level against the US dollar since January this morning as the greenback continued to slump on uncertainty. Sterling shot to a peak of $1.4296 against the dollar and rose to an 11-month high of €1.1589 against the euro, though at the time of writing it had edged down somewhat from those highs. “Dovish minutes from the ECB [European Central Bank] yesterday, coupled with a wider story of USD weakness has ensured the pound continues to outperform against its main peers,” said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG. – City A.M.

Politician from Angela Merkel’s party ‘open to talks with AfD’

A regional politician from Angela Merkel’s party has become the first to break a taboo by saying he is ready to go into coalition with the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD). Ingo Senftleben, leader of Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in the state of Brandenburg, said he was prepared to open talks with the AfD after regional elections next year. The AfD became the first nationalist party to sit in the German parliament since the sixties after it came third in last year’s general election, and also hold seats in all but two of the country’s 16 regional parliaments. – Telegraph (£)

India using immigration ‘as a stick to beat us with’ in Brexit trade talks

India is using immigration as a “stick with which to beat us” in early talks on a post-Brexit trade deal by exaggerating the UK’s resistance to handing out more visas, business leaders have warned. Richard Heald, the head of the UK-India Business Council, said the situation was “not as bad as it is portrayed by the Indians,” pointing out that the number of visas handed out last year had increased “significantly”. It comes after high-ranking Indian officials warned that Britain must be prepared to allow higher levels of immigration if it wants to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement. – Telegraph (£)

James Forsyth: Will Britain find a new role in the world after Brexit?

Britain’s imperial past distorts the debate about our place in the world, but not in the way that is commonly assumed. It is often asserted that claims about this country’s international importance are a form of nostalgia. It would be more accurate to say that Britain tends to underestimate its power because it is no longer the global hegemon.Britain might not be, in 1066 and All That terms, ‘top nation’ any more. On any objective reading, however, the United Kingdom is still an influential global player.- James Forsyth for The Spectator

Graham Gudgin: Where Are We On the Irish Border?

The Irish border thus remains the key battleground in the war of attrition that is the UK-EU Brexit talks. Negotiations continue in Brussels with a hope that progress can be made before the EU Council of Minister’s meeting on 28th June, but reports suggest that few meetings have actually taken place. Meanwhile, EU Council President Donald Tusk affirmed in his Dublin speech of April 10th that the border issue remains at the centre of his attention over Brexit, an issue which still makes him ‘very angry’. The two side remain far apart. – Graham Gudgin for Briefings for Brexit

Leopold Traugott: The Macron-Merkel EU reform engine is spluttering

As the UK is on its way out, the rest of the EU is seeking to move on. With a transatlantic trade war looming, Russia looking increasingly aggressive, and the Eurozone still on the path of recovery, the case for the EU to be made more resilient still stands strong. The electoral victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French Presidential Elections in May 2017 caused optimism – with an ambitious pro-European in the Elyséee, so the narrative went, France would once more lead the vanguard of EU and Eurozone reform. – Leopold Traugott for the Telegraph (£)

Alan Locke: There’s a role for a new centrist party, but it’s not opposing Brexit

For something the collective “wisdom” of political Twitter finds so patently ludicrous, the idea of a new “centre” party doesn’t half seem resilient. Just what is it about the SDP, our electoral system and “one per centrist” memes, these people don’t understand? Well, for a start, a little about Britain’s more recent political history. Indeed, as Nick Clegg – an apparent advocate – and the unfortunates of Scottish Labour know only too well, the political fortunes of mainstream parties can change quickly. – Alan Locke for CapX

Brexit in Brief

  • What to make of Labour’s Brexit tests? – Henry Newman for Open Europe
  • An immigration system for a global Britain – Robert Bates for CommentCentral
  • The economic watchdog is caught between a rock and a hard Brexit – Philip Aldrick for The Times (£)
  • You can check out the Musée du Remain… but you can never Leave – Matt Chorley for The Times (£)
  • Britain and Australia to meet over a bumper £7bn post-Brexit trade deal – The Sun
  • Hundreds of anti-Brexit protests in Britain this weekend – Express