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Statement by Donald Tusk 16 October 2018

Remarks by President Donald Tusk on 16 October 2018 following the Tripartite Social Summit.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/10/16/remarks-by-president-donald-tusk-following-the-tripartite-social-summit/

Good afternoon. Let me start by thanking the Social Partners for today’s good and constructive discussions. This Social Summit takes place at a critical time for the Brexit talks. Unfortunately, the report on the state of the negotiations that I got from Michel Barnier today, as well as yesterday’s debate in the House of Commons, give me no grounds for optimism before tomorrow’s European Council on Brexit. And as I see it, the only source of hope for a deal, for now, is the goodwill and determination on both sides. However, for a breakthrough to take place, besides goodwill, we need new facts. Tomorrow, I am going to ask Prime Minister May whether she has concrete proposals on how to break the impasse. Only such proposals can determine if a breakthrough is possible.

While working on a Brexit deal, we also need to make sure, that we are prepared in case an agreement is not possible, or in case it is rejected. Therefore, tomorrow, leaders will discuss how to step up our preparations for a no-deal scenario. But, as I have already stressed: “the fact that we are preparing for a no-deal scenario must not, under any circumstances, lead us away from making every effort to reach the best agreement possible, for all sides.”

Among other things, the European Council will also debate internal security. The latest cyber attack against the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, at a time when it was investigating the Salisbury poisoning, shows what new threats we are facing. Therefore, I will propose actions to the leaders that will strengthen our resilience and resolve. It is time the EU got ready for all possible cyber security risks.

The economy is another area where the EU wants to be more resilient. Good progress in reinforcing the Economic and Monetary Union by December is still possible. Even if the tensions among members of the euro area are greater today than they were in June. Therefore, the Euro Summit will discuss how to ensure that we have further progress in reforming the EMU by the end of the year.

For many of the issues discussed during the Social Summit – including migration and security, investments, EMU, digital innovation – the EU budget is key. As Social Partners noted today, the EU budget is also our best lever for promoting social and economic convergence. That is a very important reason why the ongoing MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) discussions must accelerate. And that is why I will give special prominence to the MFF at the December European Council.

Before concluding, I want to recall that today is the first anniversary of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Since then, other journalists have been murdered, also in Europe. And today we are all troubled by reports of the killing of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. And I am absolutely convinced that without a free press, our societies will not be free. This is why I call for a full investigation to establish what happened, and to hold those responsible to account. The violence against journalists has to stop. Thank you.

Questions and answers at the press conference following the Tripartite Social Summit

President Tusk you have called for concrete proposals from Theresa May, proposals on what? If those proposals aren’t forthcoming, what will happen? Lastly, is there going to be a summit in November or not?

The problem is clear: it is the Irish question and the problem with the borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the so called backstop. It looks like a new version of the Gordian knot. Unfortunately, I can not see a new version of Alexander the Great, it is not so easy to find such kind of creative leader. It’s for the leaders to decide if we need an extraordinary summit in November or not. Logistically we are ready but we need also the feeling that we are at least close to a positive breakthrough. What we need today, is to finalise our negotiations. The clock is ticking and I hope that tomorrow, Theresa May will present something creative enough to solve this impasse.

Is it a no deal Brexit now your number one assumption? Is that the most likely scenario in your eyes?

It is a question about our responsibility and not our predictions or our plan. A no deal scenario is more likely than ever before but it does not mean that it becomes our political priority, but quite the opposite. Because the situation is tricky as it is today, we need to prepare for this black scenario. I still believe, it is not only hope but also a rational assessment, that we can find a better solution than a no deal scenario.

Do you think it is realistic to make progress on the Eurozone reform when the Italian government is challenging European rules, European institutions, the markets. Do you fear a new euro crisis because of Italy?

I hope positive progress is still possible. This is why I decided to organize this Euro summit. We have to be realistic and frank. I am aware that the atmosphere is more tricky than it was in June but I think we can use time before December to clarify the positions of some Member States. Our goal remains to have visible progress in December. What we need today is a respectful dialogue between the Commission and Italy.

President Tusk, you want Theresa May to come up with concrete solutions. Is the EU going to think creatively about how to break this impasse too? You mentioned Alexander the Great, Alexander is also the first name of Boris Johnson. Is he a figure that the EU is looking at to rescue this negotiations? Are you even thinking about the next government after Theresa May’s?

To compare Boris Johnson to Alexander the Great is a sort of exaggeration I think, but of course this is my private opinion. Both sides are responsible for this still possible breakthrough. When it comes to this very context, the backstop, we need something fresh in our discussions and to be very clear, because I have heard some comments, sometimes very dramatic comments, one of the authors is also Boris Johnson, that the EU wants to annex economically Northern Ireland and also to split the UK. Of course this is not true. Objectively this is a very difficult and complicated issue. The question of the Irish border is an unfortunate natural and automatic result of the Brexit decision. This is why we need something very creative to protect at the same time our values, the single market and to fully respect the UK and its sovereignty. For me it is clear, the goal must be clear for all of us, but for this we need maybe a new way of thinking because objectively this is something really difficult.

PM statement on Brexit: 15 October 2018

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, updated the House of Commons about the Brexit negotiations on the 15 October 2018, ahead of a European Council meeting scheduled for 17 October 2018.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-on-brexit-15-october-2018

Watch the video at https://goo.gl/2p2GU9

With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House ahead of this week’s European Council.

We are entering the final stages of these negotiations. This is the time for cool, calm heads to prevail. And it is the time for a clear-eyed focus on the few remaining but critical issues that are still to be agreed.

Yesterday the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union went to Brussels for further talks with Michel Barnier.There has inevitably been a great deal of inaccurate speculation.

So, I want to set out clearly for the House, the facts as they stand.

First, we have made real progress in recent weeks on both the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration on our future relationship. And I want to pay tribute to both negotiating teams for the many, many hours of hard work that have got us to this point.

In March, we agreed legal text around the implementation period, citizens’ rights and the financial settlement. And we have now made good progress on text concerning the majority of the outstanding issues. Taken together, the shape of a deal across the vast majority of the withdrawal agreement – the terms of our exit – are now clear.

We also have broad agreement on the structure and scope of the framework for our future relationship, with progress on issues like security, transport and services. And perhaps, most significantly, we have made progress on Northern Ireland – where, Mr Speaker, the EU have been working with us to respond to the very real concerns we had on their original proposals.

Mr Speaker, let me remind the House why this is so important.

Both the UK and the EU share a profound responsibility to ensure the preservation of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, protecting the hard won peace and stability in Northern Ireland and ensuring that life continues essentially as it does now.

We agree that our future economic partnership should provide for solutions to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland in the long term. And, while we are both committed to ensuring that this future relationship is in place by the end of the implementation period, we accept that there is a chance that there may be a gap between the two. This is what creates the need for a backstop to ensure that, if such a temporary gap were ever to arise, there would be no hard-border between Northern Ireland and Ireland – or indeed anything that would threaten the integrity of our precious union. So this backstop is intended to be an insurance policy for people of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Previously, the European Union had proposed a backstop that would see Northern Ireland carved-off in the EU’s customs union and parts of the single market, separated through a border in the Irish Sea from the UK’s own internal market. As I have said many times, I could never accept that, no matter how unlikely such a scenario may be. Creating any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would mean a fundamental change in the day-to-day experience for businesses in Northern Ireland – with the potential to affect jobs and investment.

We published our proposals on customs in the backstop in June, and after Salzburg, I said we would bring forward our own further proposals – and that is what we have done in these negotiations. And the European Union have responded positively by agreeing to explore a UK-wide customs solution to this backstop.

But Mr Speaker, two problems remain.

First, the EU says there is not time to work out the detail of this UK-wide solution in the next few weeks. So even with the progress we have made, the EU still requires a “backstop to the backstop” – effectively an insurance policy for the insurance policy. And they want this to be the Northern Ireland-only solution that they had previously proposed.

We have been clear that we cannot agree to anything that threatens the integrity of our United Kingdom. And I am sure the whole House shares the government’s view on this. Indeed, the House of Commons set out its view when agreeing unanimously part 6, section 55 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade Act) on a single United Kingdom customs territory.

This states:

“It shall be unlawful for Her Majesty’s Government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain.”

So, Mr Speaker, this message is clear – not just from this government, but from this whole House.

Second, Mr Speaker, I need to be able to look the British people in the eye and say this backstop is a temporary solution. People are rightly concerned that what is only meant to be temporary could become a permanent limbo – with no new relationship between the UK and the EU ever agreed. I am clear we are not going to be trapped permanently in a single customs territory unable to do meaningful trade deals.

So it must be the case, first, that the backstop should not need to come into force. Second, that if it does, it must be temporary. And third – while I do not believe this will be the case – if the EU were not to co-operate on our future relationship, we must be able to ensure that we cannot be kept in this backstop arrangement indefinitely. I would not expect this House to agree to a deal unless we have the reassurance that the UK, as a sovereign nation, has this say over our arrangements with the EU.

Mr Speaker, I do not believe the UK and the EU are far apart.

We both agree that Article 50 cannot provide the legal basis for a permanent relationship. And we both agree this backstop must be temporary. So we must now work together to give effect to that agreement.

Mr Speaker, so much of these negotiations are necessarily technical. But the reason this all matters is because it affects the future of our country. It affects jobs and livelihoods in every community. It is about what kind of country we are and about our faith in our democracy. Of course, it is frustrating that almost all of the remaining points of disagreement are focused on how we manage a scenario which both sides hope should never come to pass – and which if it does, will only be temporary.

We cannot let this disagreement derail the prospects of a good deal and leave us with the no deal outcome that no-one wants.

I continue to believe that a negotiated deal is the best outcome for the UK and for the European Union. I continue to believe that such a deal is achievable. And that is the spirit in which I will continue to work with our European partners.

And I commend this Statement to the House.

Dominic Raab’s update on EU Exit negotiations

Dominic Raab’s statement in the House regarding the UK government position on Brexit negotiations, on 9 October 2018.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/secretary-of-state-dominic-raabs-statement-update-on-eu-exit-negotiations

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the progress in negotiations to leave the EU, and the government’s planning for No Deal.

Negotiations

Since I last updated the House, our negotiations with the EU have continued and intensified. Over the recess break, we have been engaging constructively with our EU counterparts.

Let me take the main areas of the negotiations in turn.

On the Withdrawal Agreement, while there remain some differences, we are closing in on workable solutions to all the key outstanding issues, building on the progress we made during the summer on issues such as data and information, the treatment of ongoing police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters, and ongoing Union judicial and administrative procedures after the date of exit.

We have also been discussing proposals on the linkage needed between the Withdrawal Agreement and the Future Relationship, and the EU is engaging constructively.

On the Northern Ireland Protocol, we remain committed to the undertakings we made in the Joint Report back in December, to agree a backstop in case there is a delay between the end of the Implementation Period and the entry into force of the treaty on our future relationship.

That was agreed to avoid any risk of a return to a hard border in the intervening period. But we will not accept anything that threatens the constitutional or economic integrity of the United Kingdom. Creating any form of customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which is what the EU had proposed, would put that at risk and that it is unacceptable.

As my Rt Hon friend the Prime Minister has said, it is not something she, nor any British Prime Minister, could conceivably agree to. We are engaging with the EU on our alternative proposals that preserve the integrity of the UK. They will be in line with the commitments we made back in December, including the commitment that no new regulatory barriers should be created between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK unless the Northern Ireland Executive and the Assembly agree.

On the Future Relationship, we continue to make progress, for example, on both the internal and the external security arrangements for future cooperation, although there is still some way to go.

And as the House will know, the Prime Minister presented our proposals on the economic partnership to EU leaders, at the informal Salzburg Summit. We understand that the EU has raised some concerns, particularly around the distinction between goods and services under the common rule book and with respect to the Facilitated Customs Arrangement. We continue to engage constructively with the EU, we continue to press our case.

The UK’s White Paper proposals are the best way of ensuring there is continued frictionless trade in goods after Britain leaves the EU, whilst fulfilling the joint commitment to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and respecting the referendum.

These negotiations, Mr Speaker, were always bound to be tough in the final stretch. That is all the more reason why we should hold our nerve, stay resolute and focused, and I remain confident that we will reach a deal this autumn. Because it is still in the best interests of the UK, and the European Union.

It is the best way of protecting trade between Britain and the EU, trade which underpins millions of jobs across Europe.

It is the best way of making sure we continue to cooperate seamlessly on security matters, to tackle crime and terrorism to keep UK and EU citizens safe.

And it is the best way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland that would adversely affect communities living there, or indeed separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain which we will not countenance.

To achieve these aims, the UK has brought forward serious and credible proposals. We continue to engage with the EU to press our case, and to better understand the nature of some of their concerns. Equally, it is time for the EU to match the ambition and pragmatism that we have shown.

No Deal

Mr Speaker, while we intensify negotiations to secure the deal we want,the deal that we expect, we are also expediting preparations for no deal. In case the EU do not match the ambition and pragmatism we have demonstrated.

As the Prime Minister stated on 21 September after the Salzburg Summit.

The government has made clear we will unilaterally protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of No Deal. To the 3 million here, we say: you are our friends, our neighbours, our colleagues, we want you to stay. And we will be setting out all of the details as soon as is practical.

We also now urge the EU and all its member states to step up and give UK citizens on the continent the same reassurances. Mr Speaker it is time, on both sides, to provide all our citizens with that comfort and with that confidence.

Since I last updated the House in September, we have published 52 more technical notices, in two further batches.

They inform people, businesses and other key stakeholders of the steps they need to take, if we don’t reach a deal with the EU.

They cover a wide range of sectors, building on other work that has taken place across government over the last two years. They enable us to prepare the UK for Brexit irrespective of the outcome of the negotiations. They acknowledge that there are risks to a no deal scenario. But they also demonstrate the steps we will take to avoid, mitigate and manage any potential short-term risks and disruption.

Overall now we have published 77 technical notices which form part of the sensible, proportionate, measures that we are taking to prepare the country for every eventuality.

Mr Speaker our most recent batch of technical notices were published on the 24th of September they are set out in a written Ministerial statement today. There are 24 and they range from aviation, and the advice for airlines on the impact of ‘no deal’ and the actions for them to consider to maintain services on the day we leave the EU, through to car insurance, and the arrangements to ensure Green Cards will be available free of charge from insurance companies to enable UK drivers to continue to drive on the continent.

The publication of the technical notices enables further engagement as part of our No Deal planning.

So for example, our earlier technical notice on VAT set out the VAT changes that companies will need to prepare for when importing or exporting goods from the EU, when supplying services to the EU, or interacting with EU VAT IT systems. That one was welcomed by the British Chamber of Commerce, and we are grateful to them and to all of our stakeholders for their constructive ongoing engagement on that necessary planning.

More broadly, I met with the British Chamber of Commerce, the CBI, the IoD, EEF and the Federation of Small Businesses as part of the government’s Business Advisory Group on the 17th of September, to make sure we are explaining our negotiating proposals and No Deal planning, and listening to UK businesses of all sizes, and across all sectors.

We will keep providing people and businesses with the advice they need as we negotiate our exit from the European Union.

We also keep working with the devolved administrations on all aspects of our planning for exit. I attended the joint ministerial committee on the 13th September. It has now met 12 times, and our last meeting was a valuable opportunity to give the devolved administrations a full update on the negotiations, as well as discuss the necessary No Deal planning. We continue to listen very carefully to all of their views.

Mr Speaker, that is the way, with concerted effort on all fronts, that we have put ourselves in the best possible position to make the best of Brexit.

And I commend this statement to the House.

How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there’s no deal.

The UK Government has published a series of technical notices. These notices are designed to inform people, businesses and stakeholders about steps they may need to take in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Last updated 13 October 2018

Details at

How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Notices have been published on the following areas:

Overview

  • UK government’s preparations for a no deal scenario

Applying for EU-funded programmes

  • Connecting Europe Facility energy funding if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Delivering humanitarian aid programmes if there’s no Brexit deal
  • European Regional Development Funding if there’s no Brexit deal
  • European Social Fund (ESF) grants if there’s no Brexit deal
  • European Territorial Cooperation funding if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Funding for UK LIFE projects if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Horizon 2020 funding if there’s no Brexit deal
  • The government’s guarantee for EU-funded programmes if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Funding for British Overseas Territories if there’s no Brexit deal

Driving and transport

  • Aviation safety if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Aviation security if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Driving in the EU if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Flights to and from the UK if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Operating bus or coach services abroad if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Vehicle insurance if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Rail transport if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Meeting rail safety and standards if there’s no Brexit deal

Farming

  • Farm payments if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Receiving rural development funding if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Regulating pesticides if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Commercial fishing if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Plant variety rights and marketing of seed and propagating material if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Breeding animals if there’s no Brexit deal

Handling civil legal cases

  • Handling civil legal cases that involve EU countries if there’s no Brexit deal

Importing and exporting

  • Buying and selling timber if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Classifying your goods in the UK Trade Tariff if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Commercial road haulage in the EU if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Exporting animals and animal products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Exporting controlled goods if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Importing and exporting plants if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Importing animals and animal products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trade remedies if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading with the EU if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Exporting GM food and animal feed products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Exporting objects of cultural interest if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading and moving endangered species protected by CITES if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Maintaining the continuity of waste shipments if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Existing free trade agreements if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Importing high-risk food and animal feed if there’s no Brexit deal

Labelling products and making them safe

  • Appointing nominated persons to your business if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Labelling tobacco products and e-cigarettes if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Producing and labelling food if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Producing and processing organic food if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Protecting geographical food and drink names if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Regulating chemicals (REACH) if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading goods regulated under the ‘New Approach’ if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading under the mutual recognition principle if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Travelling with a European Firearms Pass if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Vehicle type approval if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Control on mercury if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Control on persistent organic pollutants if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Regulating biocidal products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Classifying, labelling and packaging chemicals if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Health marks on meat, fish and dairy products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Export and import of hazardous chemicals if there’s no Brexit deal

Meeting business regulations

  • Accessing public sector contracts if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Broadcasting and video on demand if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Copyright if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Exhaustion of intellectual property rights if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Merger review and anti-competitive activity if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Patents if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trade marks and designs if there’s no Brexit deal
  • What telecoms businesses should do if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Accounting and audit if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Providing services including those of a qualified professional if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Structuring your business if there’s no Brexit deal

Money and tax

  • Banking, insurance and other financial services if there’s no Brexit deal
  • VAT for businesses if there’s no Brexit deal

Personal data and consumer rights

  • Data protection if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Geo-blocking of online content if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Consumer rights if there’s no Brexit deal

Protecting the environment

  • Industrial emissions standards (‘best available techniques’) if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Reporting CO2 emissions for new cars and vans if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Upholding environmental standards if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Using and trading in fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Meeting climate change requirements if there’s no Brexit deal

Regulating energy

  • Civil nuclear regulation if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Generating low-carbon electricity if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Nuclear research if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Running an oil or gas business if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading gas with the EU if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading electricity if there’s no Brexit deal

Regulating medicines and medical equipment

  • Batch testing medicines if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Ensuring blood and blood products are safe if there’s no Brexit deal
  • How medicines, medical devices and clinical trials would be regulated if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Quality and safety of organs, tissues and cells if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Submitting regulatory information on medical products if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Trading in drug precursors if there’s no Brexit deal

Regulating veterinary medicines

  • Accessing animal medicine IT systems if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Registration of veterinary medicines if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Regulation of veterinary medicines if there’s no Brexit deal

Sanctions

  • Sanctions policy if there’s no Brexit deal

Satellites and space

  • Satellites and space programmes if there’s no Brexit deal

Seafaring

  • Getting an exemption from maritime security notifications if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Recognition of seafarer certificates of competency if there’s no Brexit deal

State aid

    State aid if there’s no Brexit deal

Studying in the UK or the EU

  • Erasmus+ in the UK if there’s no Brexit deal

Travelling between the UK and the EU

  • Mobile roaming if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Taking your pet abroad if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Travelling in the Common Travel Area if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal
  • Taking horses abroad if there’s no Brexit deal

Workplace rights

  • Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal
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