Climate protection as a catalyst for rapprochement

The author

Andreas Kuhlmann is the managing director of the German Energy Agency (Dena).

(Photo: dena / Christian Schlüter)

Progress is a snail. That sounds more negative than it is, because the incremental improvement of a large number of processes and products is a core competence of German industry. Many small but permanent improvements bring lasting progress. They have put Germany’s companies in the top position worldwide for a large number of products.

Incremental changes, however, will not be enough in all that politics has set out to do. This particularly applies to the attainability of climate protection targets, which have recently become more stringent with increasing speed.

The European Union’s Green Deal increases the pressure considerably on Germany as well. Critics are already predicting that the current German target – greenhouse gas neutrality in 2050 – is not compatible with the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement. This applies to the target set according to the proposal of the EU Commission, but again considerably more to what the majority of the European Parliament considers possible.

In a world full of trade conflicts and geopolitical challenges, which is also in the midst of a global health crisis, this goal appears to be unattainable, especially if the said snail is the driving force.

However, sometimes it is faster. Events and developments occur unexpectedly, and suddenly it becomes apparent that many things can go much faster than assumed. We are moving towards such a “moment of time”. It is all the more important to be aware of developments and to make preparations.

In his speech to the UN on September 22nd, Chinese President Xi Jinping surprisingly announced the goal for China to be “carbon neutral” by 2060. Given China’s starting position, this may be even more spectacular than the EU’s goal.

Glimmer of hope for climate protection

In the USA, too, there is a lot going on. Joe Biden, promising Democratic candidate for president, promotes the “Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice”. The main objective of the program: 100 percent clean energy and “net zero emissions no later than 2050”.

A glimmer of hope for climate protection – and beyond. In the background there are completely different, more profound problems between the three most important industrial regions in the world by far. In the USA, with a view to China, people speak quite openly of the war of the systems.

In the EU, much more withdrawn, at least from the systemic rival. Many fundamental questions about togetherness in the 21st century are open: reciprocity in trade relations, hegemonic ambitions, human rights, trade restrictions, security and the free market itself.

If you look at the discussion of the past few years, you can see that the universalist claim often sought in Sunday speeches, which would be necessary in particular for a successful climate policy, has increasingly given way to a particularism of the trading blocs.

This also applies to the planned “CO2 border adjustment system”. This border mechanism is intended to price greenhouse gas-intensive EU imports into the EU and thus ensure fair competition. Even before it is implemented, the so-called climate tariff is critically assessed by many experts. It is clear to all sensible actors that particularism cannot be the solution, but that it is becoming a gigantic problem for the questions of the future of the 21st century.

So far, China has been reliable in the energy transition

In view of the ambitious climate announcements by Biden, Xi and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, there would be an opportunity to get closer: It is precisely the compatibility of the objectives in terms of climate policy that is an occasion to get all actors around the table and the conglomerate of problems in a summit process to address and resolve. Everyone should be interested in constructive cooperation – because global challenges can only be mastered multilaterally.

In the end, it depends on what really happens. The steps since Xi’s opening speech in Davos 2017 are rather sobering, but China has so far been quite reliable when it comes to the energy transition and climate protection. The pressure is great in the USA, and the commitment to Biden’s plan is clear.

And the EU? Despite all the criticism of climate policy, the EU is the furthest of all regions. There is enormous expertise and experience here. In any case, we have something to contribute to this process.

Ursula von der Leyen

The EU Commission President wants to reduce CO2 emissions in the EU by at least 55 percent by 2030.

(Photo: Reuters)

A common climate policy could help resolve the crises of the 21st century. It is clear, however, that such a moment must be prepared. Dialogues on climate policy are not enough; consistent implementation is required.

To this end, the EU must develop joint positions as quickly as possible on other open issues. Initial findings have been gained in recent years, and this is where we need to start. So that when the moment comes, the EU can act properly and safely. She has shown time and again that she is capable of this.

It would be the ultimate success of the Paris Climate Agreement if it were to be the basis for the political architecture of the 21st century beyond climate policy. A guide for the great transformation that goes far beyond the post-fossil economy that the Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Issues (WBGU) described almost ten years ago.

A common solution is needed for economic and climate-friendly cooperation. The main features of such a summit are already clear. The EU should prepare to host such a summit. A great moment in the best sense of Stefan Zweig is on the horizon. Using them takes determination and judgment. But first, the voters in the USA have the floor.

More: Germany under water stress: conflicts of use are increasing.

.

Faced with pressure from London, Europeans are staying the course

Correspondent in Brussels

If there is one quality that we should recognize in Europeans, it is their tenacity. Boris Johnson had this bitter experience. At this point, not one of London’s maneuvers has succeeded in dividing the Twenty-Seven or deviating from their course. Neither the pursuit of «blame game», neither the sterile sessions of discussions, nor the threats to put an end to the negotiations. Europeans have never left the discussion table. “It will be the British who will stop the negotiations. Not us”, warns a European diplomat. However, the Twenty-Seven would like to seal a trade agreement with the United Kingdom so as not to further upset economies already very weakened by Covid-19. “It would be logical and good for both sides, Britain and the European Union, to come to an agreement in the face of many global challenges. If necessary, we have to do without it, but I think it would be better if we had such an agreement ”, believes Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But this agreement will not be able to be done at any price, repeat the leaders over and over again, listing for months the three prerequisites that have become the main sticking points in the negotiations: fair competition rules in order to protect against possible British dumping, a fishing deal allowing Europeans to continue catching in British waters and robust governance, as London already plans to slash the Withdrawal Agreement with its bill in the domestic market.

And this is what they repeated on Thursday when they arrived in Brussels, where they met for a European Council devoted in particular to Brexit, two and a half months from the end of the transition period and while their last discussions of background on this subject go back to … a year. Unsurprisingly, Emmanuel Macron insisted a lot on fishing. “In no case can our fishermen be the sacrifices of this Brexit”, warned the president. “Finding a good compromise is an important point of this discussion”, he added, thus leaving the door open for negotiation but also speaking of a France ready for a «no deal». No question of showing the slightest excitement.

SEE ALSO – Brexit: an agreement with London is preferable, but the EU “can do without it”, according to Merkel

During the afternoon, as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left the meeting in a hurry to self-quarantine because a member of her team had tested positive, the chief negotiator of the ‘EU, Michel Barnier, took stock of the situation, speaking of“An outcome still uncertain” but also claiming that British negotiator David Frost wanted a deal. The leaders would also have shown great unity during their discussions, in particular on the fisheries file which, however, concerns only 8 countries out of the 27. The Spaniard appeared much firmer than usual when the The Italian and the Luxembourger, relatively unaffected, said they were attentive to the subject.

In its conclusions, the European Council invites London to “The necessary movements” on the three main bottlenecks in order to reach an agreement “in the coming weeks”. Charles Michel boasted “An extremely calm and extremely peaceful position”. Leaving the meeting, Angela Merkel called for an effort on both sides. “We asked Britain to remain ready to compromise in terms of the deal. Of course, this also means that we have to make compromises ”, she said, admitting however that each party “has its red lines».

On Thursday, the Twenty-Seven mainly returned the ball to «BoJo», who, in early September, had set the October 15 deadline for an agreement and let it be known on Wednesday that he would make his intentions known after learning of the Europeans’ position. He must react this Friday. Could he go so far as to break up? The mood, in any case, was cloudy Thursday night in London. Through the voice of David Frost, the UK said to itself “disappointed” by the demands of the Twenty-Seven and “Surprised that the EU is no longer committed to working intensively” in the formal summit conclusions. “It’s not for the Europeans to intensify the negotiations, it’s for the British to move”, we entrust to the Commission. “We have toughened the conclusions. And they were surprised because they are much firmer than what was planned in the project ”, says a European diplomat. For now, the Twenty-Seven do not exclude any scenario. The European Council also called on Thursday “The Member States, the Union’s institutions and all the stakeholders to step up their work to prepare, at all levels, for whatever will happen”. Including therefore a «no deal».

.

Terror in France: “Definitely an Islamist attack”

Dhe beheading of a teacher on Friday near a school in the suburbs of Paris caused great consternation in France. According to the prosecutor, the perpetrator is an 18-year-old Russian of Chechen origin who lived as a refugee in France.

The attacker Abdullah A., who was shot dead by the police near the crime scene northwest of Paris, has not yet been prosecuted in France or recorded for radicalization.

In connection with the attack, nine people were taken into police custody as of Saturday. Among the arrested were the grandparents, parents and a 17-year-old brother of the assassin, said the anti-terrorist prosecutor of France.

also read

The father of a student who is said to have argued with the 47-year-old history teacher about his lessons was also taken into custody. The man had complained on the Internet that the teacher had shown his students naked Mohammed cartoons. The half-sister of the arrested person is said to have moved to Syria for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia.

Macron gave a short speech at the scene

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke on Friday evening near the crime scene in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine of a “clearly Islamist terrorist attack”. “One of our fellow citizens was murdered today because he was teaching, because he taught students the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not to believe,” said a visibly ailing Macron. “I call on all of our compatriots to stand together, to be united,” said President Macron at the scene. “You won’t get away with it,” he said, referring to violence and terrorists.

President Emmanuel Macron visited the crime scene near Paris on Friday evening

President Emmanuel Macron visited the crime scene near Paris on Friday evening

The teacher was reportedly assaulted and beheaded on the street on Friday afternoon. The anti-terror prosecutor took over the investigation. The alleged perpetrator, who, according to witnesses, shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) after the crime, was picked up by police in nearby Éragny and shot a short time later. Investigators reported that he was armed with a knife, had a soft gun with plastic bullets and refused to put down his weapons.

The class was about freedom of expression

There is speculation in France about the motive for the crime. The history teacher is said to have shown Mohammed cartoons in class on the subject of freedom of expression. There was also displeasure at the school; the teacher had been threatened, reported Franceinfo. The father of a 13-year-old told France Inter that the teacher asked Muslim students if they wanted to leave the room before showing the pictures. The teacher was not “condescending or disrespectful”.

It was not clear whether the alleged perpetrator was connected to the school. The broadcaster BFM reported on a video that the father of a schoolboy is said to have published on YouTube earlier this month. The video is also said to have been about the Mohammed cartoons.

The police secured the crime scene on Friday evening

The police secured the crime scene on Friday evening

Quelle: Getty Images/Kiran Ridley

“Islamism is waging a war against us: we have to force it out of our country,” responded right wing politician Marine Le Pen on Twitter. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer wrote on the net of an attack on the republic: “Our unity and determination are the only answer to the enormity of Islamist terrorism.” To attack a teacher means to attack all French citizens and freedom, wrote the President of the National Assembly , Richard Ferrand, on Twitter.

The crime scene is in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine

The crime scene is in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine

What: REUTERS

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also condemned the fatal attack. “We must never allow ourselves to be intimidated by terror, extremism and violence,” Maas wrote on Twitter on Saturday. Von der Leyen emphasized the importance of teachers in democracy.

Again and again Islamist attacks in France

Only a few weeks ago there was a knife attack in front of the former editorial building of the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris. Two people were injured – here too, the investigators assume a terrorist background. There was a fatal attack on the editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” in January 2015, in which a total of 17 people were killed. At the beginning of the trial against the alleged helpers of the terror series, the magazine had published cartoons of Mohammed again and was threatened with massive threats. The perpetrator of the knife attack stated that he could not bear this.

The trial in Paris has been running since the beginning of September, and you can only enter the Palace of Justice under high security conditions. A verdict is expected in November. The editorial staff of “Charlie Hebdo” expressed their condolences to the relatives of the killed teacher.

A man was beheaded in an Islamist-motivated attack in 2015. A 35-year-old was overwhelmed while trying to cause explosions in an industrial gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier near Lyon. He had previously beheaded his employer and stuck his head with two Islamist flags on the factory fence.

France has been rocked by Islamist attacks for years – more than 250 people died. Therefore, people are almost always aware of the threat of terrorism. The French government has made the fight against terrorism a top priority and continues to warn that the risk of terrorist attacks is very high.

.

The goal is a non-toxic environment

Se since EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen took office, it was not always clear who was responsible for climate protection in Brussels. Actually, the Dutchman and first Vice-President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, is supposed to promote the fight against climate change. It was his core theme when he entered the 2019 European election campaign as the top candidate for the European Social Democrats. Since then, von der Leyen has announced the big lines. Timmermans was then only allowed to explain the technical details. Apparently, Timmermans did not want to miss the opportunity to put himself in the right light before the October summit of heads of state and government that began this Thursday.

Hendrik Kafsack

At dinner, the EU leaders will talk about the planned tightening of the 2030 climate targets for the first time. A decision on this should not be made until the summit in December. But Timmermans doesn’t want to wait for that. On Wednesday he presented a whole series of strategy papers on how the EU can move forward on its long-term goal of becoming climate neutral by 2050, and added a new chemicals strategy to these. Two climate papers stood out: the wave of renovations, which is intended to reduce CO2 emissions from buildings, and the methane strategy.

Methane is often neglected in the debate

With the methane strategy, the EU Commission is directing attention to a gas that is often neglected in the debate about climate protection, although it is the second most important greenhouse gas after CO2. If the EU wants to achieve its climate goals, emissions must be reduced by a third, said Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, who is jointly responsible for the dossier. The main cause is agriculture, which emits 53 percent of methane, followed by waste management with 26 percent, where the gas is generated in landfills, and the energy sector with 19 percent. The Commission is initially looking at the energy sector, because it is there that emissions can be reduced most easily and often virtually free of charge. In a first step, she wants to oblige the energy companies to better monitor where methane escapes, for example in natural gas pipelines, so that they can repair leaks. Timmermans wants to present specific proposals for this in the coming year.

Cooperation with third countries is to be intensified in order to be able to better monitor the leakage of methane along the entire supply chain, i.e. from the extraction of natural gas to the end customer. A ban on the widespread flaring or simply letting methane escape when extracting fossil fuels is also being considered. The Commission is not currently planning any concrete targets for reducing methane emissions from agriculture. First and foremost, she wants to ensure that there is more reliable data available. New technologies, for example for using methane as biogas, should then reduce emissions.

The chemicals strategy should also make a contribution to climate protection. However, the focus is on the goal of a “non-toxic environment”. Everyday objects such as children’s toys, cosmetics and packaging should only contain chemicals that are absolutely necessary. Substances such as endocrine disruptors, which have an effect on the hormonal balance in humans and are therefore carcinogenic, should disappear from everyday products as early as next year. The Commission also places a special focus on chemicals that cannot be broken down, such as PFAS, and wants to give more consideration to how chemicals interact.

.

Assault rifle for the Bundeswehr: a comment – politics

Just as one likes to say in the trade that the complaint is the merchant’s greeting, so it is said of the soldiers that those who would ever be satisfied with their equipment must still be found. It was all the more astonishing from the start that although the public, the parties and weapon manufacturers spoke of scandal and affair for years when it came to the Bundeswehr’s standard G 36 rifle, this was praised by the troops.

Yes, there were experts there who warned that the rapid fire rifle could not withstand extreme loads. The opposite opinion was and is more widespread: The G 36 is a good weapon that, for example, proved itself in the hands of the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters when they successfully defended their autonomous region in Iraq against the IS terrorist militia from 2014 with German military equipment.

The endless affair of the G 36 began with an act of haste. After indications that the G 36 had shown deficiencies in Afghanistan, the then Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen suddenly announced the end of the weapon and had a new one written out.

The contract was awarded to the company CG Haenel, which is now suspected of possible patent infringements. This is how an affair goes on that may never have had to be. There is some evidence that more diligence instead of a demonstrative demonstration of leadership by von der Leyen would have saved the Bundeswehr a lot of money and trouble.

.

Pedro Sánchez expects to create 800,000 jobs in 3 years

The Government has proposed to speed up the management of the European Recovery Fund and plans to tender and execute in just three years (from 2021 to 2023) the 72 billion of transfers assigned to Spain for investments, instead of consuming the six years (until the end of 2026) that the European framework allows. Already the project of State Budgets for 2021 foresees the incorporation of 27,436 million European transfers.

In these three years, in addition, it is expected that the investment linked to the full absorption of these funds will allow the creation of 800,000 additional jobs as well as a higher level of GDP of 2.5 points in each of the annuities, thus helping to leave behind the recession of the pandemic and to take a modernizing leap to the country.

This was explained this Wednesday by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, during the presentation of the ‘Recovery, transformation and resilience plan of the Spanish economy’ that the Executive will send to Brussels this month [aquí en PDF] and containing its strategy to face the coronavirus crisis and the challenges of the next decade for the “second modernization“of the Spanish economy. A plan that will allow Spain” to grow in a new way, on much more robust pillars & rdquor ;, according to the president.

Sánchez revealed that 37% of European transfers will be destined for investment projects related to the ecological transition; 31% will focus in favor of digital agenda. The rest will serve the objectives of reducing inequality gaps gender and territorial and to achieve greater social cohesion, by way of improvements in education and personal care policies for the elderly and dependents.

The plan will allow Spain “grow in a new way, on much more robust pillars & rdquor;

And to prevent the “bureaucracy” from hindering the rapid and effective absorption of funds, Sánchez announced yesterday changes in the laws of State contracts, subsidies and the legal regime of the public sector, to overcome the “bottleneck“.

They were summoned to the presentation ceremony by videoconference all members of the Executive, the social agents, presidents and senior executives of Spanish companies, media executives and representatives of different sectors of civil society, as well as the ambassadors of the 27 member countries of the European Union. The ‘ceremony’ was opened and closed by the piano performance, by James Rhodes, from the anthem of Europe.

Mechanisms

The recovery plan designed by the European Union, for a total of 750.00 million, assigns to Spain an approximate amount of 140 billion of which some 72,000 million must come in the form of transfers from the Next Generation EU and the rest, in the form of advantageous loans.

The EU facility represents 59,000 million, and the React-EU fund, 12,400

In turn, the 72,000 million of the European Recovery Fund consists of two instruments through which the resources will be channeled: on the one hand, the Ease of Recovery and Resilience, which concentrates the bulk with 59,000 million in transfers, and on the other hand React-EU that allows our country to obtain financing for an amount of 12,400 million.

Of the 12,436 million in the React-EU program, a total of 10,000 million will go to the autonomous communities, while the remaining 2,436 million that will be incorporated into the Ministry of Health to, later, distribute it among the regions for the acquisition of vaccines, reinforce primary care or renew health material.

Ten driving policies

Sánchez detailed the “ten driving policies” in which the specific investment projects that the State, in collaboration with autonomies and municipalities and with private initiative (large companies and SMEs), can enforce before the European authorities between next January 1 and April 31, which is the period set for it.

'Recovery, transformation and resilience plan' & # 160; of the Government of Spain, October 7, 2020. & # 160;

Government recovery plan

The first driving policy described by Sánchez has to do with the urban and rural agenda, depopulation and agriculture. This block is intended to absorb the 16% of resources Europeans in the next three years.

Second, the policies of infrastructure and resilient ecosystems (12% of resources), among which Sánchez cited aspects related to the preservation of coasts, water resources, biodiversity and transportation, among others.

Investments linked to the energy transition (third block) absorb the 9% of funds and that another 5% be linked to the modernization of administrations (fourth block), in matters such as those related to cybersecurity and the modernization of the Justice system.

In policies related to productive fabric, the digitization of companies, tourism and the project of ‘Spain, an entrepreneurial nation’ is expected to consume The 17% of European transfers.

He Pact for Science and Innovation and the strengthening of the National Health System will monopolize 17% of funds, with special attention to R + D + i.

18% of the money will focus on policies related to education, knowledge, professional training (for young people and workers) that make up the seventh block described by the chief executive. Here are issues such as the national plan for digital skills envisaged by the Government for the population as a whole or the promotion of 65,000 new child education places from 0 to 3 years.

Urban agenda, ecosystems, pact for science, education and productive fabric, the basic levers

The eighth driving policy that Sánchez referred to has to do with the new care economy and employment policies (6% of European resources), which includes the objective of providing home care to 870,000 dependents in the next three years and the modernization of active employment policies.

In ninth place, the Prime Minister cited the development of “two industries”, culture and sport, including the boost to the videogames sector, which will account for 1.1% of resources.

And as the tenth driving policy, he noted modernization of the tax system, increasing progressivity.

Gap closure

The plan is based, in turn, on four basic axes: ecological transition, transformation digital, equality Y social and territorial cohesion. Sánchez indicated some of the investments that the program contains, such as the electrification of mobility in Spain (deployment of 250,000 electric vehicles in 2023 and five million in 2030, and the enabling of 100,000 charging points), the reach of 100% renewable energy in 2050, the rehabilitation of more than half a million homes in the next three years to make them more efficient, the reinforcement of the integral management of the coast, the restoration of 3,000 kilometers of rivers, the preservation of natural habitats, the restoration of wetlands and the most vulnerable ecosystems.

There will be more than five million electric cars in 2023 and 5G will be rolled out

Regarding the digital pillar, it will be promoted that 75% of the population have 5G coverage and that the entire population has access to fast internet, and the impact of digitization programs will be extended to 2.5 million SMEs. Equally, commitment is the fight against all gender gaps, and that approach will be transversal and will print all the tractor projects.

Regarding social and territorial cohesion, the aim is to address the demographic challenge and combat precariousness to create a society “fairer, more supportive and resilient“. To do this, the welfare state will be strengthened,” one of the great lessons we have to draw from this crisis. “” There are three key objectives: closing social and territorial gaps, rural development and intergenerational justice “, he synthesized.

Full appearance of the President of the Government on the economic recovery plan, this October 7, 2020 in Moncloa.  & # 160;

Speech by Pedro Sánchez on the recovery plan

The presentation made by Sánchez on Wednesday morning had a second part, in the afternoon at 6:00 p.m., in which the four vice presidents of the Government — Carmen Calvo, Pablo Iglesias, Nadia Calviño and Teresa Ribera— explained the main pillars of the plan from their respective competencies.

Budget Project

The presentation of the recovery plan came a day after the Council of Ministers approve the new macroeconomic framework, which contemplates a fall in GDP from 11.2% this year and a rebound of 7.2% in 2021, which will reach 9.8% thanks to the impact of the European programs.

Further, the Executive has already set the non-financial spending limit, known as the spending ceiling, of the State Budget for 2021, which increases by 53.7%, to 196,097 million euros, including extraordinary transfers to the autonomous communities and Social Security and part of the European funds.

Macro picture

Questions and answers of the Government's 'Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan', as of October 7, 2020. & # 160;

Recovery plan questions and answers

With a lag forecast of 11.3% of GDP this year and a public debt of 118% of GDP, the Executive has established a deficit reference rate of 7.7% in 2021.

The boost associated with the recovery plan in 2021 is 2.7 percentage points of GDP, which represents a multiplier effect of approximately 1.2, according to the information used by the Government to prepare the macroeconomic table and sent to AIReF, which endorses the macro table, but warns of risks based on the outbreaks and the execution of European funds.

In addition, the leader of the Executive and the third vice president, Nadia Calviño, assured that the recovery plan will mean an increase in the potential growth Of 2% in a decade.

.

The EU and Great Britain want to continue looking for a solution

Negotiations for future trade relations

Time is running out: the British Prime Minister has set a deadline of October 15 in the negotiations.

(Photo: AFP)

Brussels In the Brexit dispute, the European Union and Great Britain want to continue trying to reach an agreement on future relations. This was confirmed by the EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a joint statement after a conversation on Saturday.

“They agreed on the importance, if at all possible, of finding an agreement as a strong basis for a strategic relationship between the EU and the UK in the future,” said the brief statement.

Von der Leyen and Johnson had confirmed the assessment of their two chief negotiators that progress had been made in the past few weeks, but that “considerable gaps remained”. “They told their chief negotiators to work hard to bridge these gaps,” it said.

It is about a trade agreement for the time after the Brexit transition phase from 2021. On Friday, the ninth round of negotiations ended without any decisive progress.

Dispute over British internal market law

Time is now extremely short: Johnson had set a deadline of October 15. The EU says an agreement must be ready by October 31st so that it can still be ratified.

The main points of contention in the negotiations are the EU’s demand for the same social, environmental and subsidy standards – in other words, equal competitive conditions, known as the “level playing field”, and the UK’s intention to restrict EU fishermen’s access to its waters.

Regardless of this, a dispute has flared up over compliance with the EU exit agreement that is already in force, which Johnson wants to partially overturn by law. The EU sees this as a serious breach of trust and law – and announced legal action on Thursday.

Great Britain left the EU on January 31st. After the end of the transition period, the country will also leave the internal market and the customs union at the end of the year. If a contract fails, there is a risk of tariffs and high trade barriers.

More: Boris Johnson’s poor corona management could cost him the job

.

Brussels sounds the alert on the rule of law in the EU

In an unpublished report, Hungary and Poland are again pinned. But they are far from the only ones.

The Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova and the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders during their press conference yesterday in Brussels.
The Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova and the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders during their press conference yesterday in Brussels. OLIVIER HOSLET / AFP

Correspondent in Brussels

Will the rule of law be the surprise guest of the meeting of the Twenty-Seven which begins this Thursday in Brussels? Tensions around the issue – flammable if there ever was one – of respect for fundamental democratic standards have, in any case, increased a notch in recent days within the bloc, to the point of becoming a drag, as well for the German EU Presidency than for the Commission. And probably soon for the Twenty-Seven.

Indeed, the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, as well as his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, did not waver in the face of criticism and threats from the EU against their country. And, one like the other, will undoubtedly display a shadowy expression when they arrive at the European Council at the beginning of the afternoon to attend this crucial summit where the burning Turkish and Belarusian issues are however a priority. “There is no formal point on the rule of law but it will definitely be a subject, worries a diplomat

This article is for subscribers only. You have 78% left to discover.

Subscribe: 1 € the first month

Can be canceled at any time

.

“It’s up to our friends”

NAfter another unsuccessful round of negotiations, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the EU responsible for the conclusion of a trade pact. “It’s up to our friends,” Johnson told the BBC on Friday about the chances of an agreement with the EU. The EU must now show common sense. He hopes that a deal will come about.

On Saturday, Johnson wanted to connect with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen via video to talk about further steps. The talks between chief negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost ended without a breakthrough on Friday, although time is becoming increasingly scarce. If no agreement is reached in October, there is a risk of a hard economic break with tariffs and other trade barriers at the turn of the year.

Most recently, to make matters worse, a dispute broke out between the two sides over the British Internal Market Act, which was approved by the lower house of the British Parliament on Tuesday. It is intended to undermine important parts of the agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019. The EU sees this as a serious breach of trust and law – and announced legal action on Thursday.

“Persistent Serious Differences”

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was confident: “As long as negotiations continue, I am optimistic,” said the CDU politician after the EU summit in Brussels. “It will be decided in the next few days.” The British negotiator, David Frost, was also comparatively hopeful: “Although differences still exist, the outline of an agreement is emerging.”

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pleaded for the negotiations to be intensified. However, according to information from EU circles, no new round was initially agreed. Barnier and his team had negotiated again this week with the British negotiator Frost and his staff in Brussels in eleven different thematic rounds. Barnier then stated that there were some convergence and positive developments on issues such as air safety and the safeguarding of fundamental rights.

On some important points such as data protection, climate protection and CO2 prices, however, there was no progress and, on “points of great importance for the European Union, persistent serious differences”, explained Barnier. These would have to be eliminated if a contract were to be concluded. Prime Minister Johnson has set a deadline of October 15 for an agreement, the EU by the end of October.

Time is running out

The British negotiator, Frost, stressed that there had been some progress on some long-debated points – such as the competitive conditions. However, the EU still needs to move further. The rules for fishing in British waters are unfortunately still far apart, Frost confirmed and said he was concerned about the shortage of time.

According to von der Leyen’s words, the most difficult questions are still “completely open”. This also included the dispute over equal competitive conditions, i.e. equal environmental, social and subsidy rules. The EU insists on this “level playing field” and warns of dumping on its own doorstep. Von der Leyen also named fishing as an unsolved sticking point. And she also emphasized that time was running out.

At the EU summit, it was felt that many EU governments were considering an agreement with London increasingly difficult, said a senior EU representative. There is a growing feeling that a bad deal might be worse than no deal at all. Nevertheless, the EU will continue to negotiate.

.

Trade deal increasingly unlikely from an EU perspective

Brussels In the Brexit dispute, the last round of negotiations for the time being did not bring about a breakthrough. EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that the European Union (EU) and Great Britain still have serious differences on the main points of contention. A senior EU representative said that there was growing skepticism among the 27 states as to whether a deal with London was still possible. MEPs made similar statements.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was more confident: “As long as negotiations continue, I am optimistic – but of course I cannot announce a breakthrough,” said the CDU politician after the EU summit in Brussels. “It will be decided in the next few days.” The British negotiator, David Frost, expressed himself comparatively hopefully: “Although differences still exist, the outline of an agreement is emerging.”

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen pleaded for the negotiations to be intensified. However, according to information from EU circles, no new round was initially agreed. Von der Leyen plans to hold a video conference with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday to discuss how to proceed.

This unceremoniously declared on Friday evening that the EU was responsible for whether there would be a breakthrough. “It’s up to our friends,” he told the BBC about the chances of an agreement. The EU must now show common sense. He hopes that a deal will come about.

Barnier and his team had negotiated again this week with the British negotiator Frost and his staff in Brussels in eleven different thematic rounds. Barnier then stated that there were some convergence and positive developments on issues such as air safety and the safeguarding of fundamental rights.

On some important points such as data protection, climate protection and CO2 prices, however, there was no progress and, on “points of great importance for the European Union, persistent serious differences”, explained Barnier. These would have to be eliminated if a contract were to be concluded. Prime Minister Johnson has set a deadline of October 15 for an agreement, the EU by the end of October.

According to von der Leyen, the most difficult questions are still “completely open”

The British negotiator, Frost, stressed that there had been some progress on some long-debated points – such as the competitive conditions. However, the EU still needs to move further. The rules for fishing in British waters are unfortunately still far apart, Frost confirmed and said he was concerned about the shortage of time.

According to von der Leyen’s words, the most difficult questions are still “completely open”. This also included the dispute over equal competitive conditions, i.e. equal environmental, social and subsidy rules. The EU insists on this “level playing field” and warns of dumping on its own doorstep. Von der Leyen also named fishing as an unresolved sticking point. And she too emphasized that time was running out.

At the EU summit it was felt that many EU governments were considering an agreement with London more and more difficult, said a senior EU representative. There is a growing feeling that a bad deal might be worse than no deal at all. Nevertheless, the EU will continue to negotiate.

The Brexit representative of the European Parliament, David McAllister (CDU), said: “Unfortunately, the necessary progress was not made this week on the political issues that were still open.” must be present.

Left MP Martin Schirdewan told the German Press Agency: “The likelihood of a hard Brexit has increased rather than decreased this week.” There was no sign that the British negotiators wanted to roll up their sleeves.

Since the Brexit transition phase expires at the turn of the year, there is a risk of a hard economic break between Great Britain and the EU without a trade pact. The country is leaving the EU internal market and the customs union – so there is a risk of tariffs, traffic jams and other hurdles.

Most recently, to make matters worse, a dispute broke out between the two sides over the British Internal Market Act, which was approved by the lower house of the British Parliament on Tuesday. It is intended to undermine important parts of the agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019. The EU sees this as a serious breach of trust and law – and announced legal action on Thursday.

More: The British House of Commons approved Boris Johnson’s Single Market Act with a clear majority. With this, the prime minister wants to undo parts of the Brexit deal.

.