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Latest News

EU leader urges MEPs to back green growth plan

EU leader urges MEPs to back green growth plan EU leader urges MEPs to back green growth plan
The EU's top official Wednesday launched the bloc's new "Green Deal", hailing it as a strategy for jobs and economic growth, not just for cutting...
Read More...

From Algeria to Hong Kong, a year of anti-establishment rage

From Algeria to Hong Kong, a year of anti-establishment rage From Algeria to Hong Kong, a year of anti-establishment rage
Angry citizens have swelled the streets of cities across the globe this year, pushing back against a disparate range of policies but often...
Read More...

EU chief slams 'severe' budget cut threat

EU chief slams 'severe' budget cut threat EU chief slams 'severe' budget cut threat
  European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday slammed plans by member states to impose drastic cuts on the EU budget, which...
Read More...

Leaked EU audit shows Czech PM in conflict of interest: report

Leaked EU audit shows Czech PM in conflict of interest: report Leaked EU audit shows Czech PM in conflict of interest: report
A leaked European Commission audit has concluded that billionaire Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has a conflict of interest as he still...
Read More...

NATO's birthday overshadowed by top-level feuding

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NATO marks its 70th birthday at a summit next week but the celebration could well turn into an arena of political combat between the alliance's...
Read More...

European centre-right new leader vows to fight populism

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Former EU Council President Donald Tusk pledged Wednesday to fight against political populism as he was set to be elected leader of Europe's...
Read More...

EU calls for all sides in Hong Kong to avoid violence

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The European Union on Monday (Nov 18) urged restraint on all sides in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters have been clashing with police,...
Read More...

Belarus polls showed 'lack of respect' for democracy: monitors

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Parliamentary polls in Belarus lacked respect for democracy and denied basic freedoms to voters and candidates, international vote observers...
Read More...

Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency opening

Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency opening Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency opening
The Netherlands showed off the spoils of Brexit on Friday as it officially handed over the European Medicines Agency's new building in Amsterdam...
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European officials warned Monday that Britain's latest Brexit proposal won't serve as a basis for a breakthrough before next week's Brussels summit.

And, with no draft deal on the table before the October 17 meeting, Britain and Europe will face either a chaotic break-up or yet another Brexit delay.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he will not ask to postpone Britain's planned October 31 departure from the European Union.

But he may be forced to do so by a British law passed to prevent a potentially economically calamitous no-deal divorce, with European negotiators warning time is running out.

Johnson's envoy, senior diplomat David Frost, was in Brussels on Monday for more "technical talks", and Brexit minister Stephen Barclay travelled to the Hague to meet Dutch officials.

But both heard that the latest British plans to impose alternative customs arrangements on Northern Ireland, to be reviewed every four years by the provincial assembly, is unlikely to convince. 

"I think we all agree we need a workable solution now and not something based on untried and revokable arrangements that would be left to negotiation during the transition period," EU spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said. 

"As we have also recalled, the UK proposals presented last week do not meet at present the objectives of the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland," she said, referring to negotiating terms agreed in 2017. 

"This is also the shared view of European Parliament, but also all member states," she added.

- 'More realism' needed -

Meanwhile, after a "frank and honest" discussion with Barclay, Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok said "more realism and clarity" would be needed if this week's talks are to go much further.

And, in an interview with Le Monde, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned that if London "does not come back with new proposals on the two serious problems we have indicated to them, I cannot see how we can move forward".

Despite the divisions, Frost is still meeting with EU officials for technical talks, but doubts remain that a workable Brexit deal text will be available by Friday.

If it is not, European officials warn, there will be no time to get member states to sign off on it before October 17 and 18, the last scheduled European summit before Brexit day.

Britain insists its offer represents significant concessions and now the EU must show similar flexibility, but Brussels is adamant it will not agree to any plan that undermines its single market or leaves Ireland exposed.

In London, a Number 10 spokesman said: "We are ready to talk with the EU at a pace to secure a deal so that we can move on and build a new partnership between the UK and the EU. 

"But if this is to be possible the EU must match the compromises that the UK has made," he warned. 

- 'Landing zone' -

On Sunday, Barclay suggested London could be willing to soften its position on Northern Ireland, describing last week's suggestion as "a broad landing zone" rather than a final take-it-or-leave-it offer.

But, during telephone talks with Johnson on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron made it clear that the EU would decide by the end of this week whether a deal is possible.

The British proposals submitted to Brussels last week centre on how to manage the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Johnson wants Northern Ireland's devolved assembly -- which has been suspended for almost three years -- to vote every four years on whether to maintain EU rather than British regulations there.

He has also proposed the province leaves the EU's customs union along with the rest of the UK, with checks on trade to rely on untried technology and to be carried out away from the sensitive border.

Brussels has said these plans are not a basis for an agreement. 

Separately, British anti-Brexit campaigners failed to secure a court ruling forcing Johnson to seek an extension in the event of a no deal -- but only because the Edinburgh Court of Session decided that the government had already made "unequivocal assurances" it would abide by the law.afp

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