Tuesday, 27 August 2019: Johnson prepared to take Brexit talks down to last minute, G7 summit made progress on seeking Iran solution, France and US reached digital tax deal, Romanian government in crisis


Johnson prepared to take Brexit talks down to last minute: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he was prepared to take Brexit talks with the EU down to the very last minute before the 31 October deadline, and if necessary to take a decision to leave without a deal on that day. After the G7 summit in France, Johnson said he was marginally more optimistic about striking a new Brexit deal with the EU. He reiterated the job of everybody in parliament was to deliver Brexit. Johnson refused to be drawn on whether he would suspend parliament to stop it preventing a no-deal Brexit. According to legal advice obtained by Labour, Johnson would be committing the gravest abuse of power and attack on UK constitutional principle in living memory if he shuts down parliament to help force through a no-deal Brexit. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned that a no deal would leave the UK at the mercy of US President Donald Trump. Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown called for parliament to order an independent inquiry into the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.
uk.reuters.com, bbc.com (Johnson); theguardian.com (Legal advice); bbc.com (Corbyn); theguardian.com (Brown)

Johnson to send Tory loyalists to House of Lords: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to send half a dozen staunch conservative loyalists to the House of Lords, in an attempt to bolster the party’s position in the upper chamber. The peers are unlikely to be confirmed until after the 31 October Brexit deadline – but the appointments will be read as a signal of Johnson’s determination to stamp his mark on parliament.

Patel accused of conflict of interest in MoD contract: Home Secretary Priti Patel has been urged to withdraw from cabinet discussions about a £6bn defence contract, after it emerged that the US company that paid her £1,000 an hour to advise it plans to bid for the work. The Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokesperson, Christine Jardine, said the fact that Patel had worked for the US military tech supplier Viasat in the period running up to her appointment as home secretary created the risk of a conflict of interest now she was in government.

Public relations guru: Tim Bell, Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor, dies at 77 theguardian.com


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G7 summit made progress on seeking Iran solution: US President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may meet in the next few weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday at the conclusion of the G7 summit. Trump said he would certainly agree to meet Rouhani and was prepared to negotiate with Iran but he reiterated his threat that if the country did not give up its weapons programme, it would be met with violent force. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said G7 leaders had taken a big step forward in their efforts to avoid an escalation of tensions with Iran. A meeting between American and Iranian leaders would be the first since the United States Embassy was stormed and American diplomats were taken hostage in 1979. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has stated that Iran would comply with the international nuclear agreement as long as the country was able to sell its oil. Iran on Monday announced that the 2.1 million barrels of crude aboard an Iranian oil tanker pursued by the US has been sold to an unnamed buyer.
politico.eu, reuters.com, nytimes.com (G7); sueddeutsche.de (Zarif); cbsnews.com (Tanker)

France and US reached digital tax deal: France and the United States have reached a deal to end a standoff over a French tax on big internet companies, French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday. Under the terms of the agreement, France would repay companies the difference between its digital tax and whatever taxes come from a planned mechanism being drawn up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a spokesperson for France’s Finance Ministry told CNN Monday. Macron said his preference was for international rules for taxing digital services. Brazil’s President President Jair Bolsonaro has criticised the G7 plan to release 20 million euros for the Amazon, most of which will be used to send fire-fighting aircraft. Bolsonaro accused Macron of launching unreasonable and gratuitous attacks against the Amazon region, and hiding his intentions behind the idea of an alliance of G7 countries. During the G7 summit, the EU announced a €550 million pledge to The Global Fund, to contribute to the fight against Aids, tuberculosis, and malaria around the world. France and Germany will organise a Normandy format summit in the coming weeks to solve the Ukraine crisis. The G7 leaders also support a ceasefire in Libya. US President Donald Trump has said he will visit Germany soon.
uk.reuters.com, cnn.com (Digital tax); bbc.com, france24.com (Amazon); europeaninterest.eu, consilium.europa.eu (Other summit results); politico.eu (Trump)

Building a new EU Commission: The new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has been working hard this summer to get the best candidates from EU member states for her team. She asked all EU countries to send two names, one male and one female. One of her main requests is to get gender parity. Ursula wants to have at least 13 women (including herself), which means four more than the current Commission under Jean-Claude Juncker. A few countries decided to nominate one woman and some of them are old faces from the Juncker team who will serve a second mandate. Von der Leyen has proposed that Poland get the agriculture portfolio.
euronews.com, politico.eu

Companies move to Netherlands over Brexit fears: Nearly one hundred companies have relocated from the UK to the Netherlands or set up offices there to be within the European Union due to Britain’s planned departure from the EU, a Dutch government agency said on Monday. In addition, 325 other firms are considering a move over concerns about losing access to the EU’s single market. The ongoing growing uncertainty in the UK, and the increasing possibility of a no-deal Brexit, is causing major economic unrest for companies.
politico.eu, euronews.com

EU Commission: UK officially declines to name new EU Commissioner euractiv.com
Hong Kong protests: Police arrest 12-year-old cnbc.com


I think we are going to have a deal.
US President Donald Trump has said that China is sincere about wanting to make a trade deal with the United States.


Romanian government in crisis: Romania’s coalition government collapsed on Monday after junior ally Alde decided to exit the coalition over government policy. As a result, the ruling Social Democrats no longer hold a parliamentary majority, leaving them susceptible to a confidence vote. Alde leader Calin Popescu Tariceanu said his party was breaking ties with the Social Democrats to form an alliance with Pro Romania and back Mircea Diaconu, an actor and former MEP, to become president in the upcoming November election. Tariceanu confirmed that the coalition was over due to a loss of faith in Dancila.
dw.com, politico.eu

Italian government crisis: Italian President Sergio Mattarella will meet the leaders of the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party (PD) on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing government crisis, the president’s office said. The timetable of Mattarella’s consultations gives the two parties a little more time to clinch a possible deal over forming a new government. Mattarella will meet minor parties this Tuesday and then hear the PD on Wednesday.

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Greece lifts capital controls: Greece is fully lifting its remaining capital controls, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday. The Greek government had imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals and transfers of capital abroad to avoid a collapse of the banking system at the nadir of Greece’s government debt crisis in the summer of 2015. Fears of an exit from the eurozone and the EU led nervous customers to pull billions of euros of deposits out of the country’s banks. Since then the restrictions have been gradually eased.
uk.reuters.com, politico.eu

Austria: Chancellor Bierlein says shredding hard drives after Ibiza scandal was legitimate spiegel.de
Switzerland: Regulator licenses blockchain-based companies handelsblatt.com
Spain: Military jet crashes into the Mediterranean reuters.com


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politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)


Trump wants to host next G7 summit at his golf resort: US President Donald Trump said Monday that he is possibly looking at hosting the next G7 summit at his Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort. Hosting the G7 will cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Hosting the event at Doral, an 800-acre golf resort close to the Miami airport, would divert a torrent of taxpayer cash into Trump’s own coffers. But Trump denied that he was looking to make money and said it was about getting the right location. Meanwhile, the “New York Times” has reported that conservative operatives allied with the White House are pursuing what they say will be an operation to discredit news organisations deemed hostile to Trump by publicising damaging information about journalists.
cnn.com, theguardian.com (G7); nytimes.com (Press)


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