One Week to Go: News from the Brexit Cliff Edge
22 March 2019
A comprehensive round-up of what other media around the world are reporting about the looming exit of the UK from the European Union.
News Highlights – see more below
- A study Bertelsmann Stiftung said Europeans are facing billions in lost income each year because of Brexit. A hard Brexit would result in 57.3bn Euros in income losses in the UK every year and other member states would lose an average 40.4bn Euros in income. Germany would lose an annual income of 9.5bn Euros, France 8bn Euros and Italy 6bn.
- The Financial Times reported on a study by the IE Business School Madrid which showed that the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds had slashed their investment in the UK. State-backed funds put $21bn into the UK in 2017, but only $1.8bn last year. There were only 8 deals made by SWFs in the UK in 2018 compared with 18 a year before.
- Bank of England said consumers seemed to have shrugged off Brexit uncertainty a little in February, as volumes bought tose by 0.4%, better than the decline of 0.4%, predicted by City economists
- The Bank of England kept interest rates on hold and published a survey which suggested 80% of firms are as ready as they can be for a No Deal Brexit
- Business lobby groups (including the UK’s CBI) wrote to the European Commission warning of possible disruption to flights, drug shortages and critical data-sharing interruptions. The document confirmed European companies are as worried about a No Deal Brexit outcome as UK firms are
- The Ministry of Defence has activated a plan called Operation Redfold, which has 3,500 troops at its disposal, to move food and fuel and help manage traffic congestion around ports
- A German toilet roll manufacturer, Wepa, said it had stockpiled 3.5m rolls in warehouses in preparation for a No Deal Brexit. The UK is the largest toilet roll consumer in Europe and a core market for the industry
- Press reports suggest a Pro-Brexit lorry group will carry out their threat to go-slow and jam motorways on Saturday. The same day as more than half a million are expected to travel to London for the Put it to the People March
- Sky News revealed that the government has imposed gagging orders on all organizations working with it in preparation for a No Deal Brexit. The use of NDAs is now at nearly ‘epidemic proportions’ Sky News observed
No Plan B if your deal fails? The EU throws Theresa May a Brexit lifeline
- Britain’s departure date has been extended by an extra fortnight to Friday, 12th April – the legal deadline when the UK must decided whether to take part in the EU elections. If Theresa May gets her Meaningful Vote 3 through Parliament next week, Brexit Day moves again to May 22nd to give her time to pass legislation. If she fails, the UK has just these two weeks to come up with a new departure plan, either incorporating a long Article 50 extension, participating in the EU elections or leaving on the basis of No Deal
- Theresa May’s performance at the European Council was savaged by some sections of the UK press. ‘Black Thursday: Britain humilated on global stage as it begs for more time’ (Politics.co.uk); ‘We are not in a souk here’ Luxembourg’s PM gives an exasperated response to the UK’s Brexit demands’ (iNews); ‘A collosal failure of statecraft, an epic shambles, the worst political crisis in 70 years’ (The Scotsman); ‘Nine days from Brexit Day, does anyone have a clue what is happening’ (The Guardian); ‘Theresa May needs to recognise that Parliament, not the PM, is sovereign’ (Politics Home; ‘Theresa May has trashed our democracy and put our MPs in danger’ (The Guardian)
- Theresa May’s performance at home was also savaged. ‘Chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs tells Theresa May to quit over Brexit’ (Daily Telegraph). Sir Graham Brady said ‘he had been bombarded with text messages demanding Theresa May quit’.
- In an unprecedented move, the two main business and workers organizations in Britain – the CBI and the TUC – wrote a joint letter to Theresa May saying she needs to urgently change her approach to Brexit as the country is now facing a national emergency
- The Revoke Article 50 public petition quietly sailed past 2m signatures yesterday and is likely to carry on adding names. This is despite the website connection failing, on many occasions, simply due to the volume of people trying to sign the petition every minute.
- BBC’s Europe correspondent seemed dismayed during a podcast on Brexit, as she warned listeners that it is impossible to know what will happen next week as a No Deal Brexit is a now very real possiblility
- The Financial Times said Theresa May had decided that her preferred route, if her deal failed, was a No Deal Brexit last Wednesday evening. It reports many who met her as saying, her mood had hardened and she did not seem concerned about the consequences of No Deal. This also explains her reticence to explain to EU Council leaders what her Plan B should her Meaningful Vote 3 fail next week at the meeting on Thursday
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