The 27 remaining EU states then agreed to new negotiations
Today I can write to you on behalf of Florian Harms. As the head of the service, I make sure that you are informed as comprehensively as possible at t-online.de. I rarely get the opportunity to classify the topics of the day in my own words. So I’m all the more pleased to be able to do this today:
Boris Johnson has a mission.
A mission so important to him that on Monday he had Elizabeth II proclaim it first and foremost in the Queen’s traditional speech to the London Parliament: “My government’s priority is to leave the European Union on October 31st . “
The time for this is gradually running out: there are only 14 days left until B-Day – and until then the British Prime Minister needs a deal with the EU. If Johnson had his way, his country would definitely leave the Union at the end of the month, with or without an agreement. But this plan was destroyed by parliament at the beginning of September by ruling out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit by October 31.
The next three days will be decisive for the further course of the drama. Today in Brussels the heads of state and government of the EU are meeting to find a compromise. Contrary to expectations, the chances of this are not that bad. Hardliner Johnson, of all people, has signaled his willingness in the past few days to give the backstop hated by many Brexit supporters a new chance.
Apparently, he is even ready to cross a red line set by his predecessor Theresa May. May’s backstop solution negotiated with the EU stipulated that the entire United Kingdom would remain in the European customs union until new trade agreements were signed. This should prevent customs controls on the Irish island – but also between Northern Ireland and the rest of the Kingdom.
The new backstop option, which Johnson’s negotiators apparently have already approved, now stipulates that only Northern Ireland de facto remains in the customs union and thus the trade border between the EU and Great Britain should run through the middle of the Irish Sea. May had vehemently rejected such a solution out of consideration for the Northern Irish Unionists.
The new agreement is not yet in the dry towels. But EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier announced on Wednesday evening that the most important questions had been clarified. The British Prime Minister plans to travel to the summit earlier today to clarify the final points of contention.
If the EU states agree, the British Parliament will decide on the possible deal on Saturday. The fact that Johnson is jeopardizing the approval of the Northern Irish Unionists with the new backstop is quite risky: He already lacks a majority in parliament. Former Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley, who is now Vice-President of the European Parliament, at least believes Johnson will be successful: “With all his weaknesses and his unpredictable political style, he may be the one who can push through a Brexit agreement reached with the EU domestically,” said she in an interview with t-online.de author Peter Riesbeck.
Should Johnson fail to break the Gordian Brexit knot, then his days as Prime Minister after October 31st could be numbered.
While a Brexit decision is being fought in Brussels, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is creating facts with the invasion of northern Syria. The conflict has long had an impact as far as Germany: Kurdish demonstrations against the military action in the past few days have repeatedly led to clashes with Erdogan supporters. But the Turkish community itself is divided, as my colleague Patrick Diekmann discovered in his report in the Berlin district of Neukölln.
Does a speed limit help in the fight against the climate crisis? (Source: imago images)
The Bundestag is touching a hot iron today: At the request of the Greens, Parliament is voting on the introduction of a speed limit of 130 km / h on motorways. The proposal is unlikely to have much chance of success. But because of the climate crisis, wouldn’t it make sense to think about the subject again? In any case, environmental associations such as the BUND are vehemently promoting a speed limit and refer to figures from the Federal Environment Agency. The authority expects a speed limit of 120 km / h to save around three million tons of CO2 per year. And what effect would Tempo 130 have? So far there are no reliable figures for this.
The Bundesliga is back at the weekend and I admit that as a supporter of Borussia Mönchengladbach I am particularly looking forward to this matchday. After all, the foal eleven can defend their first lead in eight years on Saturday. Admittedly, when visiting Dortmund it will be extremely difficult on Saturday. Realistically, Gladbach will probably no longer be at the top by the end of the season.
RB Leipzig sports director Markus Krösche. (Source: imago images)
For RB Leipzig and coach Julian Nagelsmann, however, the championship is an entirely achievable goal. My colleague Benjamin Zurmühl was in Leipzig and visited RB sports director Markus Krösche. He didn’t want to talk about title ambitions in the interview, but about the fact that he will soon see Nagelsmann on a par with the master coaches Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.
THE GOOD NEWS
If your children or grandchildren are about to play half the evening on the computer again, then maybe you shouldn’t start scolding straight away. After all, extensive play can be beneficial for your future career. This is shown by the story of Andrej Pavlović from Serbia, which my colleague Dominik Sliskovic recorded. The 22-year-old played “Football Manager” until he led his favorite club into the virtual Champions League semi-finals. Today he works for the team in real life – as a data analyst.
Do you only have eight and a half hours? Then you could include them in the latest edition of the podcast “Alles Said?” of colleagues from “Zeit Online”. The guest is Rezo, the YouTuber who wanted to “destroy the CDU” with a video shortly before the European elections. Don’t worry: it’s worth it. Those who get involved in the listening marathon not only understand better how YouTube works, but also where the almost holy anger of the young Rezo comes from.
Much shorter, but just as worth listening to, is the second part of the “Königsklasse” podcast with t-online.de columnist Stefan Effenberg. You can find the new episode on our website this afternoon.
WHAT AMUSES ME?
Can’t Germany do anything against the Turkish advance in northern Syria? No, thinks our cartoonist and has a suggestion for Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer:
(Source: Mario Lars)
I wish you a great day. Best regards
Daniel FerschChef from the service t-online.deE-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
With material from dpa. Subscribe to Florian Harms’ daily newsletter here.
You can find all the daybreak issues here, and all the news here.
So far there has been little hope that the UK and the EU will still agree on a regulated Brexit. However, after a British-Irish meeting, negotiations began to move.
After unexpected progress in the Brexit dispute, the European Union sees new opportunities for agreement and starts another intensive round of negotiations with Great Britain. This was confirmed by diplomats from the German Press Agency in Brussels. The announcement feeds new hope that a regulated exit of Great Britain will succeed after all. A solution is sought by the EU summit at the end of next week. Brexit is currently announced for October 31st.
EU Council President Donald Tusk said that there were still no realizable and realistic proposals from Great Britain. But there are “promising signals” from Ireland. “Even the smallest chance has to be seized,” wrote Tusk on Twitter. Previously, EU negotiator Michel Barnier had a “constructive conversation” with British Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay on Friday morning, as both sides announced. The 27 remaining EU states then agreed to new negotiations.
Britain and Ireland are nearing a solution
On Thursday, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish colleague Leo Varadkar surprisingly came closer to a solution. A deal is still possible until October 31, said Varadkar after more than two hours of conversation with Johnson near Liverpool. At the same time, he pointed out that something could go wrong.
In his own words, Tusk wanted to publicly declare an agreement impossible if there were no feasible British proposals by Friday. Instead, the Council President pointed out that Johnson and Varadkar themselves could for the first time see the way to a deal. There is of course no guarantee of success, but the opportunity must be seized.
Extension of the deadline or hard Brexit?
The Irish assessment is important for the entire EU. Because the crucial sticking point is the question of how the border between British Northern Ireland and EU neighbor Ireland can be kept open. If there is no deal by October 19, a new UK law requires Johnson to apply to the EU for a longer exit period. However, the prime minister has repeatedly announced that he will lead his country out of the EU on October 31, if necessary without a contract.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined to lead Great Britain out of the EU on October 31, even without a deal. But there is a law that obliges him to apply to the EU for a longer exit period. Photo: Alastair Grant / PA Wire / dpa.
What Johnson and Varadkar talked about in detail was not officially known at first. But information leaked out on a new possible formula for the Irish border issue. The EU wants to avoid a fixed border with checkpoints on the Irish island, because new unrest is feared in the former civil war area. At the same time, the EU wants to prevent uncontrolled and uncleared goods from flowing across the new EU external border into the internal market.
Johnson had already offered Northern Ireland to adhere to EU product standards even after Brexit, which would make goods controls at the inner-Irish border unnecessary. Now, according to British media reports, a special customs partnership for Northern Ireland is up for debate, which could also avoid customs controls. The Northern Irish parliament, Stormont, could, as London wished, have a say in whether the solution would be applied permanently. However, individual parties should not be allowed to exercise a right of veto.
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The British House of Commons could hold a special session on October 19. It is unclear whether Johnson can count on a majority for a possible Brexit deal. While his predecessor Theresa May had a mathematical majority with the help of the Northern Irish Protestant DUP, Johnson officially heads a minority government.
After the expulsion of 21 no-deal opponents from his parliamentary group, he is not only dependent on the DUP, but also on considerable help from the opposition. If the ten DUP MPs stand up to Johnson because of too great concessions on the Ireland question, he must also expect resistance from some Brexit hardliners in his own conservative group. It is even more uncertain whether a sufficient number of Labor MPs would lend Johnson their vote.
The moment of truth will come on Wednesday: At the EU summit it will be decided whether the British and the EU will agree on Brexit. In any case, it will be uncomfortable for Prime Minister May.
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It was St Nicholas’ Day almost two years ago when Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier first appeared in front of journalists in the press room of the EU Commission. The former French Foreign Minister sent his message steel-gray and precise: The time was short to clarify the conditions for the British exit from the EU – we had to be ready in October 2018. “October 2018”, repeated Barnier with an inimitably stern look through the rimless glasses.
Now it is October 2018. The EU summit next week should be the “hour of truth”, as Council President Donald Tusk called it. And indeed, a breakthrough suddenly seems possible in this almost never-ending divorce drama with its many insults, tricks and aberrations. EU diplomats are clandestinely speaking of real progress. Chancellor Angela Merkel said publicly that the signals from Brussels were very positive. And Barnier announced that they would negotiate day and night so that an agreement would be within reach next week.
But even if it did, the risk of major disruptions in the event of Brexit would not be eliminated. Even then, a chaotic EU exit on March 29, 2019 would not be ruled out. Political scientist Nicolai von Ondarza speaks of “dancing on the Brexit cliff”. How does it end? Hardly anyone dares to say today.
But there are a few plausible scenarios:
1. EU and UK agree
If the maximum progress required by Tusk is really to be achieved by the EU summit on Wednesday, a lot has to be done at the Brussels negotiating table. By then, the EU wants to reach an agreement in principle on the exit treaty, of which Barnier has been saying for months that it is 80 to 85 percent ready. The tricky Ireland question belongs to the open remainder: How do you avoid barriers and controls between the EU state Ireland and British Northern Ireland, which could rekindle the militant conflict there?
Donald Tusk: The EU summit on Wednesday is the “moment of truth”, says the EU Council President. (Source: Omar Marques / SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire / dpa)
We have been working on this in vain for almost a year. Now it is said in Brussels that a way out is opening up. The British government is approaching the idea of leaving the whole of Great Britain in a customs community with the EU in an emergency and accepting the bare minimum of controls on British goods on the way to Northern Ireland. People who are familiar with the negotiations will try to make the compromise acceptable to everyone in painstaking, detailed work by Wednesday.