Brexit News for Saturday 2 December

Brexit News for Saturday 2 December
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Donald Tusk says that if the UK’s Brexit offer is unacceptable to Ireland, it’s unacceptable to the EU…

The EU will not accept any Brexit offer from the UK if it is unacceptable to Ireland, Donald Tusk said today. The President of the European Council made the remarks in a speech in Ireland today, where he met with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin. “I came to Ireland to reassure the Taoiseach and the Irish people that the EU stands with you,” he said. “Before proposing guidelines on transition and future relations to the leaders, I will consult the Taoiseach if the UK offer is sufficient for the Irish government. Let me say very clearly: If the UK offer is unacceptable for Ireland, it will also be unacceptable for the EU. I realise that for some British politicians this may be hard to understand.” – City A.M.

  • Ireland says Brexit border breakthrough ‘doable’ by December summit – Reuters
  • Will the Irish border derail progress on Brexit? – Sky News
  • Brexiteer Kate Hoey launches a furious attack on Ireland and demands it “accept” the Brexit vote and work with Britain to resolve the border issue – Express
  • EU holds hard line as Brexit talks enter frenzied weekend – Politico
  • Border checks are nothing to fear, say DUP leader’s band of loyalists – Times (£)
  • The Government’s plan does not consign Northern Ireland to the Customs Union – Owen Polley for ConservativeHome
  • The Irish border – John Redwood MP for John Redwood’s Diary

> On BrexitCentral’s YouTube: Hugh Bennett: EU must be flexible to keep Irish border open

…as speculation continues that the EU could assent to Brexit trade talks next week

The European Union expects to offer a first signal next week that enough progress has been made in Brexit talks to warrant opening new negotiations with London in December on future trade relations, diplomats said. The sources saw that happening even though no detailed agreements are likely to have been made by then on the post-Brexit Irish border, a key outstanding issue after what diplomats in Brussels describe as a breakthrough on the divorce bill London will pay the EU as it leaves. – Reuters

  • Pound sterling on track for best week since October spurred by Brexit negotiation hopes – Independent

Government seeking to remain in EU air safety body post-Brexit

The Government will tell the EU it wishes to stay in a key aviation safety body, under the indirect jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, in order to keep planes flying after Brexit. Sky News understands the UK will say it wants to remain in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which runs safety and maintenance checks and sets crucial standards across Europe and the UK. – Sky News

Britain’s £40 billion Brexit divorce bill will be dwarfed by the cost of staying in the EU for just four more years, figures reveal

The Brexit divorce bill will be dwarfed by the cost of staying in the EU for just four more years, official figures reveal. Theresa May faced a backlash from some MPs this week after agreeing a formula that could see the UK hand Brussels up to £40billion to settle ‘liabilities’ run up during our EU membership. But the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that staying in the EU for just four years after March 2019 would cost the UK £55 billion. – Daily Mail

Corbyn heads to Portugal as Labour develops ties with EU

U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will meet with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa in Lisbon on Saturday as he seeks to strengthen ties with European leaders. “As Britain leaves the European Union, it is more important than ever that we forge strong relationships for international cooperation on crucial global issues,” Corbyn said in an emailed statement. Areas for potential collaboration include “tax dodging, fair trade, climate change, the refugee crisis and peace and security,” his office said. – Bloomberg

UK factory orders hit four-year high…

Britain’s factories are enjoying the best business conditions for more than four years as strong demand at home and abroad boosts order books, production and jobs. Comfortably beating expectations in the City, the monthly health check of industry from the research firm IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply was the most upbeat for the sector since the summer of 2013. The purchasing managers index – seen as a guide to the performance of manufacturing in the months ahead – rose from 56.6 in October to 58.2 in November, with all parts of manufacturing in upbeat mood. IHS said it was the 10th best showing in the survey’s 26-year history. – Guardian

…as factories ramp up hiring to cope with surging demand

Britain’s factories increased their output at the fastest pace in more than four years as surging orders gave manufacturers a boost and pushed them to ramp up hiring again. Export demand is particularly strong as the weak pound makes British goods competitive abroad, and order books have reached such a scale that backlogs grew in November for the first time in six months. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), compiled by IHS Markit, rose to 58.2 last month, the highest level since August 2013. Any score of above 50 indicates growth, so this move up from 56.6 in October shows an acceleration in the manufacturing sector. – Telegraph

UK landed record foreign investment in year of Brexit vote

Net flows of foreign direct investment into the United Kingdom hit a record high in 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, boosted by major takeovers, Britain’s official statistics office said on Friday. Net FDI flows jumped to 145.6 billion pounds in 2016, up from 25.3 billion pounds in 2015 and the largest value recorded for a year since comparable data began to be compiled in 2006. Anti-Brexit campaigners had warned before the June 2016 referendum that a vote to leave the European Union would make Britain less attractive place to foreign investors. Prime Minister Theresa May has welcomed big takeovers since the vote as a sign of confidence in Britain. – Reuters

Merkel faces demand for further EU integration as price to end government crisis

Angela Merkel faces demands for sweeping European Union reform and further integration as the price of a new coalition government in Germany, it emerged on Friday. Martin Schulz, the leader of the rival Social Democrats (SPD), told an interview with Spiegel magazine he would insist on deeper integration as a condition of joining any new government under Mrs Merkel. – Telegraph

UK’s economy worth billions, experts say – ‘We have nothing to fear’

In a paper for discussion forum Politeia, leading City lawyer Barney Reynolds of Shearman & Sterling has also suggested that if the UK is forced to leave the EU without a deal it could be better for the City than if it signs an agreement. The report is a body blow to Remainers who have claimed through their Project Fear campaign that Brexit will be a disaster for the City and deprive the treasury in billions in revenues as financial services providers flee to Brussels and Frankfurt. Instead, it reveals that London is secure and can prosper further outside EU control. – Express

Brexiteer MPs compare Tory rebels to Nazi collaborators and predict they will end up blocking our EU exit

Rebel Tories were last night compared to pro-Nazi traitors by Brexit-backing MPs who warn they could end up scuppering our EU exit. One senior Eurosceptic said Conservative MPs were forming a “coalition of quislings” and called for virtual trench warfare to defeat them. Another anti-EU veteran suggested firms which fight against Brexit are guilty of “appeasement”. As a result of MPs undermining the Brexit process, there is now a 60 per cent chance we will never quit the EU, a backbencher said. Speaking at a meeting of the Bow Group think-tank last night, Sir Bill Cash slammed fellow Tories who are trying to amend the EU Withdrawal Bill to keep us tied to European institutions. – The Sun

62% of Scots want European powers moved to Holyrood after Brexit, poll finds

Almost two-thirds of Scots want powers currently held by Brussels to be transferred to Holyrood and not Westminster when Britain leaves the European Union, a new poll has revealed. According to the survey, 62% want to see responsibilities over devolved areas currently held by Europe to be transferred straight to the Scottish Parliament in the wake of Brexit. The research, for the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, was released as negotiations continue between Scottish and UK ministers in a bid to break the deadlock over where the powers should go. – Jersey Post

Top fund manager attacks hysteria of Bremoaners and compares it to Millennium bug panic

One of Britain’s leading fund managers yesterday branded warnings that Britain faces economic Armageddon because of Brexit ‘profoundly wrong’. Speaking out against ‘Brexit-driven hysteria’, Neil Woodford said ‘Remoaners’ who wanted to stay in the European Union should ‘get over themselves’. The star stock-picker even used the interview with the Financial Times to accuse the newspaper – which opposes Brexit – of going ‘a little bit mad’ in its coverage of the referendum result and its aftermath. – Daily Mail

The Sun: Theresa May needs courage as she faces obstacles in the EU debate

Theresa May has not had many good weeks since her election debacle. The last two, though, have been exceptions. For once, the Budget did not unravel. At long last there were concrete measures on tax and duty to help the “just about managings”. No huge giveaways, admittedly . . . but every little helps. Last Monday the Government’s new ­industrial strategy, focusing on technical skills and extra spending on infrastructure and research, went down well — even with some on the Left. Then Mrs May upped our Brexit offer to the EU, aiming to persuade Brussels to begin trade talks. She was right to do so. But the crunch is now coming. – The Sun editorial

James Forsyth: Don’t let the European Union make a meal of Brexit talks, Prime Minister

Theresa May doesn’t really do lunch. She has never enjoyed sitting down for a long conversation over several courses. When she announced she was running for Prime Minister, she declared: “I don’t gossip about people over lunch.” But on Monday, May will sit down for the most important lunch in recent British history. Her dining companion will be the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The subject for discussion: whether the UK has made “sufficient progress” to move on to talks about trade and transition. This lunch is so important for May because she has already made compromises. – James Forsyth for The Sun

Paul Goodman: The key negotiation issue now is the role of the ECJ

“We will determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU.” With these words, last June’s Conservative Manifesto prepared the ground for the Theresa May’s reported agreement over money in the Brexit negotiations. The EU originally floated a sum of up to £100 billion. The Government’s opening bid was roughly a tenth of it. – Paul Goodman for ConservativeHome

Brexit in brief

  • Bitcoin is the financial equivalent of Brexit – Allister Heath for the Telegraph (£)
  • Theresa May’s fearful Brexit is leading us towards a Declaration of Dependence – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • Time for Brussels to reciprocate Britain’s goodwill in the Brexit talks – Telegraph (£)
  • Divorce bill ‘dwarfed’ by total effect of Brexit and the productivity crisis, watchdog says – Telegraph

And finally… EU health drive threatens to skewer the doner kebab

The doner kebab, a grilled meat sandwich that originated in Turkey, is under threat. The EU is moving to ban the phosphates used in the meat at the heart of the street snack. Brussels lawmakers are citing health concerns based on studies that link phosphates to cardiovascular disease. Owners of takeaways and industry groups claim that the additives are essential to keep seasoned kebab meat juicy and full of flavour, both during transport and on the vertical rotisseries on which it is cooked. – The Times (£)