The Brussels Brief

BREXIT: No end in sight!

The thought of having to deal with the Brexit issue all over again, after two years of having supposedly closed the issue and turned the page is depressing. We cannot imagine European bureaucrats having to deal again with the issue, after the UK decided not to honour its part of the deal. The UK is still threatening to trigger Article 16, effectively torpedoing the entire Brexit agreement if its demands are not met over Northern Ireland. Talks between the two sides last week did not result in a breakthrough and discussing are still ongoing. The Irish are on tenterhooks as such a scenario might bring unrest in Northern Ireland. Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for Brexit urged the UK that it is their turn to compromise.

More on this here.

COVID-19 spreads all across Europe, again

COVID19 rates are increasing across the continent, fuelled by low vaccination rates in the Eastern European countries and waning vaccine immunity. Hospitalisation rates are on the rise across the board and so are the new reported daily cases. Belgium has seen its cases rise to pre-lockdown level while the Netherlands has re-introduced some of the restrictions it had relaxed over the summer. Most of those in intensive care are unvaccinated.

Did he know or didn’t he? – AUKUS reverberations

An SMS exchange between French President Emmanuel Macron and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison wasleaked to the media aimed at proving the point that the French were informed about Australia’s move ahead of time. However, this created the latest spat between the two with the French Ambassador to Canberra calling it a new low.

Full story here.

A farewell to Angela Merkel

French President Emmanuel Macron rolled out the red carpet for outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Emmanuel Macron awarded Merkel with the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, citing the friendship between the two and the longstanding relationship between the two countries. Meanwhile, in an interview with the German media, Angela Merkel stated that she intends to leave politics completely and will spend her free time reading and…well,sleeping! She also anticipated opponents and supporters, by declaring that she will not become a ‘political trouble-shooter’ once in retirement.

You can watch the interview with English subtitles here.

Polish – Belarus border…boiling point

Poland has refused the assistance of FRONTEX for whatever reason unknown to most, but suspicions abound by many. The situation at the border is close to breaking point, with migrants reportedly having attempted to cross the border, and were repulsed by the Polish military with thousands of soldiers guarding the area. Meanwhile both Poland and the EU are accusing Belarus’ leader Alexander Lukashenko of assisting migrants to destabilise the European Union. Former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk called on Poland to trigger a NATO article which calls for assistance when the territory of one member is threatened. Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued a statement on the situation calling it ‘unacceptable’.

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