European Union


The European Union has weathered the storms of eurozone bailouts, the migration crisis and Brexit, but some fear coronavirus could be even more destructive.

In a rare intervention Jacques Delors, the former European commission president who helped build the modern EU, broke his silence last weekend to warn that lack of solidarity posed “a mortal danger to the European Union”.

There’s a silver lining to every cloud then….

Bugger off mateys

The largest group in the European parliament has urged the UK government to do the “responsible thing” and extend the Brexit transition period, as coronavirus plays havoc with the timetable for an EU-UK deal.

The centre-right European People’s party (EPP), which unites the parties of 11 EU leaders, including Angela Merkel and Leo Varadkar, issued a statement on Monday calling on the government to extend the Brexit transition beyond the end of the year.

Christophe Hansen, a MEP from Luxembourg who sits on the European parliament’s international trade committee, said: “Under these extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see how the UK government would choose to expose itself to the double whammy of the coronavirus and the exit from the EU single market, which will inevitably add to the disruption, deal or no deal.

Once the pass is sold then there will always be another extraordinary crisis, won’t there?

A hard exit it is then, eh?

Britain will have to guarantee “uniform implementation” of Brussels’s state subsidy rules while the European court of justice will hand down rulings to British courts, under the EU’s vision of the future relationship with the UK.

That’s a deal breaker right there. P is sovereign, not the courts or the law or a treaty of J Foreigner. P is.

Seriously Lisa, sod off

With coronavirus, the government must extend the Brexit transition period
Lisa Nandy


So first, we must agree with the EU to extend the Brexit transition period. Our businesses and our communities cannot cope with more uncertainty during this outbreak. British companies who trade with the EU do not know what terms they’ll be trading on in 10 months’ time. Add to this the falling demand and disruption created by coronavirus and it is reasonable to expect many businesses will not survive. The government has boxed itself into a corner by legislating to end the transition period in December come what may. It now faces a direct choice between narrow partisan ideology and the interests of the nation.

So, to reduce uncertainty you wish to extend the period of uncertainty?

Seems sensible

Boris Johnson is preparing to reject EU demands to guarantee that the UK will continue to be bound by European human rights laws once the country becomes fully independent, The Telegraph can disclose.

This newspaper understands that British negotiators will refuse to accept proposed clauses in a post-Brexit trade agreement that would require the UK to remain signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – leaving the door open to break away from the treaty as soon as next year.

The connection between human rights and the voluntary exchange of cauliflowers does seem a little loose, doesn’t it? Perhaps human rights might be dealt with in some treaty about human rights, leaving trade issues for a trade treaty?

This is interesting

A detail that could be rather important:

It is already offering so little in trade talks that the differential cost of the WTO option is trivial.

If the benefits of “a deal” are trivial then so had the costs better be or the correct answer is bugger you mateys, isn’t it?

Ahh, business as usual

The president of the European Commission has admitted that she made mistakes in allowing lucrative contracts to be improperly handed out to consultants during her time as Germany’s defence minister.

Glad to see that standards are being maintained. The entire continent is back in the hands of someone who can’t count – or if they can, makes sure that the numbers prefer her friends.

European politics, business as usual.

The EU’s buggered then

The Conservatives are under pressure to discipline the MP Daniel Kawczynski for speaking at a conference alongside some of Europe’s most notorious far-right politicians.

The Tory co-chair of the all-party group on antisemitism, Andrew Percy, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews have asked the party to investigate his appearance on Tuesday at the conference in Rome.

Other speakers included Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, Italian leaders closely associated with Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and a member of the Le Pen family.

Orban attends EU summits. Salvini has varied MEPs – another Italian party elected Il Duce’s granddaughter. Le Pen has a number of MEPs.

If you’re not allowed to speak at events where such gather then that’s all European summits and the entire workings of the European Parliament screwed.

Well, OK, if you insist, I guess.

How much better to be out

Boris Johnson has become “privately infuriated” with what he sees as the EU’s attempts to frustrate a comprehensive free trade deal, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The Prime Minister believes Brussels has unilaterally been “changing the terms” of the deal he agreed last year, when both sides set out to work towards an ambitious and deep trade agreement.

If we were still in then we’d be bound, still, by their change in the rules. As we were, when we were in.

Now we’re out we have a veto….

Brexit’s such a bugger, eh?

The UK economy will outpace the struggling eurozone in the first two years after Brexit, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted for the first time.

Britain also outpaced the monetary union in 2019, giving it three straight years of faster growth, according to the IMF’s latest forecasts.

Yes, yes, of course, the correct measure is how would the UK do without Brexit and how would it do with, not how is it doing relative to the foreigners.

But still, rather fun.

This isn’t quite the same thing

Boris Johnson insisted that Britain would not follow any EU rules after Brexit as he set up a showdown with Brussels over a trade deal.

The Prime Minister made clear that he would pursue a hard Brexit by saying there would be “no alignment” between the two sides, defying the EU’s claim that it was a “must” for any future relationship.

Alignment, when translated, means we must do whatever they decide to do. So if they decide that eggs must be packed in dozens then we must pack in dozens. Not following any of their rules would mena if they pack in dozens then we don’t – which is rather stronger than Boris is saying.

What a great Brexit comment

Hopes for a second referendum on Brexit are receding, as more and more Tories show their true colours and fall in line behind Boris Johnson and his controversial deal. They have passed through all the stages of grief to arrive at acceptance of a Brexit that they know will make Britain poorer and weaker. One of their leading lights, the former home secretary Amber Rudd, explicitly acknowledged that the deal would “hurt the economy” – but she said “it’s the right thing to do because we had a referendum”.

Pursuing an economically devastating Brexit is a choice, not a necessity. The referendum was a mandate to change the political basis of our relationship with Europe, not to terminate all our economic cooperation altogether, as envisaged in the new withdrawal agreement. The proposal would give Britain the same economic relationship with the EU as distant countries such as Mexico or Canada. That’s why the extremist interpretation of the 2016 referendum that was begun by Theresa May and accelerated by Johnson can and must be resisted. If that cannot be achieved by a second referendum – even the most ardent campaigners now accept they don’t have the numbers – then it is vital that politicians return to the arena of compromise.

The people don’t want it – that’s what not having the numbers means – therefore the people must have it by another means.

Where are the lampposts when you need them?

Yep, quite right

Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England, warned today that Brexit has dragged on “far too long” and was preventing Government from addressing underlying issues within the UK economy.

Speaking as City traders braced themselves for yet more volatility on the markets after MPs on Saturday delayed approval of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, Lord King said he thought most people now have the view “just do it”.

As Mark Carney has also been saying. It’s the uncertainty itself which is now doing more damage to the economy than whatever action might actually be taken. We’re at that piss or get off the pot moment. Past it actually.

Well, yes Willy

Looking back, not only to the referendum but to the years before, it’s clear that the greatest weakness of the pro-EU cause has been an inability to find ways of fighting Europhobic faith with passionately argued reason.


That is the great question. Other than the EU being, well, you know, our sort of things among wet upper middle class types, why?

Give us an actual reason other than guff about playing nice with Johnny Foreigner.

Err, why?

Jolyon Maugham is at it again, this time he wants to stop Britain leaving with a deal. He has just tweeted “I intend to lodge an immediate petition for an injunction in the Court of Session preventing the Government from placing the Withdrawal Agreement before Parliament for approval. We expect that petition to be lodged tomorrow and to be heard on Friday.”