From Donald to Theresa, the bluntest of messages. Nothing doing unless you drop the Brexiteer options

 

With 51 days to go to and Brexit clarity as elusive as ever, EU council president  Donald Tusk drops a not so subtle hint that most of Mrs May’s renegotiation options are no goers.  

Afterward meeting Leo Varadkar, Tusk said those who promoted Brexit without a plan for leaving deserve “a special place in hell”.

There are 50 days left until the UK’s exit from the European Union, following the decision and the will of the UK authorities. I know that still a very great number of people in the UK, and on the continent, as well as in Ireland, wish for a reversal of this decision. I have always been with you, with all my heart. But the facts are unmistakable. At the moment, the pro-Brexit stance of the UK Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition, rules out this question. Today, there is no political force and no effective leadership for remain. I say this without satisfaction, but you can’t argue with the facts.

Today our most important task is to prevent a no deal scenario. I would, once again, like to stress that the position of the EU27 is clear, as expressed in the documents agreed with the UK government – that is the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration – and the EU27 is not making any new offer. Let me recall that the December European Council decided that the Withdrawal Agreement is not open for re-negotiation. I hope that tomorrow we will hear from Prime Minister May a realistic suggestion on how to end the impasse, in which the process of the orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU has found itself, following the latest votes in the House of Commons.

The top priority for us, remains the issue of the border on the island of Ireland, and the guarantee to maintain the peace process in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement. There is no room for speculation here. The EU itself is first and foremost a peace project. We will not gamble with peace; or put a sell-by date on reconciliation. And this is why we insist on the backstop.

Give us a believable guarantee for peace in Northern Ireland, and the UK will leave the EU as a trusted friend. I hope that the UK government will present ideas that will both respect this point of view and, at the same time, command a stable and clear majority in the House of Commons. I strongly believe that a common solution is possible, and I will do everything in my power to find it.

A sense of responsibility also tells us to prepare for a possible fiasco. The Taoiseach and I have spoken about the necessary actions in case of no deal; I know that you will also be discussing this shortly with the European Commission.

By the way, I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely. Thank you.

Thsi  will annoy a lot of people who will resent the notion that  the EU is the  principle arbiter of peace rather than the UK

Sammy Wilson threw his toys right out of the pram in a tweet  “My response to devilish, trident waving euro maniac Donald Tusk.”

No shift from Leo Vardakar

As a leader of a small country that is fully committed to the EU this solidarity resonates deeply in Ireland, but not just in Ireland, in all small member states. think the events in London and the recent instability demonstrate exactly why we need a legal guarantee.

Varadkar was caught on microphone telling European Council President Donald Tusk that he will get “terrible trouble” from the press for his strong remarks on Brexit on Wednesday. ” I know,” replied Tusk with a smile. Riling Brexiteer opinion was part of his purpose.

His meeting with Donald Tusk concentrated on No Deal contingencies.

Sources say Ireland will be looking for a “long-term fix” in EU budget talks in April rather than a lump sum Brexit bailout.

Politicians have cited the ongoing assistance given to the Baltic states after Russia banned certain food exports from the EU as an example of financial solidarity it hopes to win in a no-deal Brexit.

Ireland exports €4.5bn worth of food and drink a year to the UK, ranging from beef to cheddar cheese. Calculations by the Department of Agriculture put the cost of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules at €1.7bn.

Michael Creed, Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine, has said this would be an “existential challenge” for the food and drink sector. He has previously said Ireland would seek “mega-money” from the EU.

The beef industry alone could face increased costs of up to €700m, which the head of the Irish Farmers Association has said has the potential to wipe out beef production in the country.

From Guardian live

Business secretary Greg Clark says real deadline for Brexit deal within next fortnight. He threatens resignation if the game is about running down the clock. Clark said the effective deadline for a Brexit deal was within “the next couple of weeks” because exporters need to know what is happening before they despatch goods on a six-week sea journey to the far east. In the committee Rachel Reeves repeatedly asked Greg Clark what the government would do to avoid a no deal, if Theresa May failed to come up with a plan that would pass parliament. Clark repeatedly insisted that the way to avoid this was for parliament to pass a deal. Reeves then asked Clark if he would remain in government if May decided to implement a no-deal Brexit. Clark replied:

As long as [getting a deal] remains the policy of the government, I will be a vigorous proponent of that.

But I think it’s obvious to everyone that, if it were ever to be the policy of the government, as a matter of policy, to leave the European Union [without a deal], I think there would be many people on all sides of the House that would regard that as unacceptable.

Greg Clark effectively confirms he would resign from the cabinet if it every adopted no-deal Brexit as policy

The weather vane figure of Labour MP Lisa Nandy claimed:

If [May] were able to come back, and stop this eternal circular conversation within the Tory party, and start reaching out to the rest of parliament and the rest of the country and give us those assurances, I think you’d get somewhere between 40 and 60 Labour members of parliament who would be prepared to step forward and say, we’ve got to come together around this, otherwise we leave with no deal.

 

UUP leader Robin Swann had an interesting take on Mrs May during the meeting with local party leaders in Stormont House  that accords with a perfunctory reference in yesterday’s speech  Swann claimed May appeared reluctant to talk about efforts to restore power sharing.

The conversation we were having with the prime minister was initially about Brexit, we had to drag her to a place were we actually started to talk about how we get these institutions back up and running.

We are not far from March 29, we as a party don’t see a no deal as a positive situation or something that suits Northern Ireland or the UK.

We have asked her to look for an extension of article 50. If she is not prepared to do that, and we are at a situation where the executive and the Assembly isn’t up and running again, she has to put something in place.

She has to put direct rule in place come March 30 because Northern Ireland needs political leadership and it needs political direction.

Labour now backs an extension of article 50, says Emily Thornberry, the party’s substitute for Corbyn at PMQs with May in Belfast.

Nothing daunted the hard Brexiteers have published their proposals for a new free trade agreement deal – part of a sequence of reports released under the slogan A Better Deal which was a text for the Malthouse compromise that informed the renegotiation strategy.

It  proposes zero tariffs and no restrictions in quantity for trade in goods and agricultural and food products and “maximum liberalisation” for services. It proposes “state of the art” highly facilitated customs clearance arrangements between the EU and UK.

On the movement of labour, it calls for easier access to temporary business visas, while on the movement of capital it proposes free flows between the EU and UK. The two sides would be barred from erecting technical barriers to trade or using standards as a means of making trade more difficult. And the two sides would have to commit not to use subsidies or state aid to distort markets.

Written by international trade policy experts Shanker Singham and Robert MacLean, the document states that its proposals would preserve the UK’s ability to strike trade deals around the world.

And  all of 50 days to get it done!

 

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