29th Feb 2024


Last WEEK of UK in EU?

  • Moment of truth approaches (Photo: secretlondon123)

This week is the last one in which the UK is still for sure an EU member state.

The upcoming referendum, on 23 June, would not immediately end Britain’s 43 year-old EU membership. That would take years to negotiate. But a vote to leave would be a political and economic shock of global proportions.

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  • Goodbye and good luck? (Photo: Defence Images)

German finance chief Wolfgang Schaeuble has said the eurozone would do what it can to “contain” the economic fallout of either scenario.

That is what eurozone and EU finance ministers, meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday (16-17 June), are likely to be asked about by press.

That is also what the Dutch finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is likely to be asked about by MEPs in the economic affairs committee on Tuesday.

For his part, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker will meet Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank chief, and Gordon Brown, a former British PM who is campaigning for the Remain side, in Brussels on Monday.

But the votes are being won and lost amid tabloid scaremongering and political punch-ups on the other side of the North Sea.

The commission is expected, on Wednesday, to unveil a new counter-terrorism strategy and to issue an assessment on whether the EU-Turkey migration deal is working.

The week could also see Poland issue its formal response to Commission complaints on abuse of rule of law.

But Juncker’s most eye-catching assignment will be a meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at a business forum in St Petersburg on Thursday.

EU diplomats say the roll-over of Russia economic sanctions for another six months is a done deal.

But Juncker’s “selective engagement” with Russia, which is to include talks on the divisive Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, has prompted concern in eastern Europe that the sanctions regime will crumble in future.

If France and Germany decline to go ahead on visa-free travel for Ukraine at an EU Council meeting on Tuesday, that would prompt more concern again.

Palestinian refugees will also feature on the agenda, with a UN special envoy to meet top EU officials and with EU neighbourhood commissioner Johannes Hahn to visit Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

France is trying to restart Arab-Israeli peace talks. But Israel’s right-wing government has shown little interest so far.

Cameron urges Britons to register for EU vote

Britons should carry on registering for the EU referendum, David Cameron says, as the deadline for registering to vote has been extended until midnight on Thursday.

More Danes want referendum on EU membership

Forty two percent of Danes want a UK-type referendum on EU membership, up five points on three months ago. "It would be an extremely bad idea", one leading party said.

Germany warns UK on single market access

If the UK leaves the EU it would lose access to the single market, Germany's powerful finance chief has said. The EU would also halt integration, he added.

Britain heading for EU exit, polls say

As polls suggest new momentum for Leave camp, the Bank of England is getting ready for the potential financial repercussions of Brexit.

Tusk: Brexit talks could take seven years

Council chief warned UK could face long divorce from EU, as it could take up to seven years before the new relationship with Britain would be approved by other member states.

More farmers, Ukraine aid, Yulia Navalnaya in focus This WEEK

EU agriculture ministers meet in Brussels amid new farmers' protests. MEPs will hear from Alexei Navalny's widow and give the final green light to the €50bn Ukraine facility, while the CBAM proposal faces a formal challenge at a WTO meeting.


The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse

With Alexei Navalny's funeral in Moscow on Friday, Vladimir Putin's regime haven't just insulted his mother and widow with their treatment of his corpse — they've breached international treaties and conventions.

Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms

Recent polling puts the Flemish nationalist parties, the right-wing N-VA and far-right Vlaams Belang at a combined majority in the Flemish parliament, leading to fears about a far-right government take-over — even sparking worries about the future of Belgium itself.

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