$1*/ mo hosting! Get going with us!
European Union - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

Brexit Divorce Deal Draft Agreed by EU and UK; May’s Ministers to Meet

The European Union and Britain have agreed to a draft text of a Brexit withdrawal deal and Prime Minister Theresa May will present it to her senior ministers Wednesday.

While officials choreograph the first withdrawal of a sovereign state from the EU, it remains unclear whether May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.

“Cabinet will meet at 2 p.m. tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps,” a spokesman at May’s Downing Street office said.

“Cabinet ministers have been invited to read documentation ahead of that meeting,” the spokesman said, after British media were leaked details of the breakthrough.

Sterling, which has seesawed since reaching $1.50 just before results of the 2016 referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU, surged to $1.3036.

Brexit will pitch the world’s fifth-largest economy into the unknown and many fear it will help to divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China. Others says it will offer opportunities for Britain to develop new trading relationships beyond Europe.

The EU and the United Kingdom need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the United Kingdom, home to the biggest international financial center.

But May has struggled to untangle nearly 46 years of EU membership without damaging trade or upsetting the lawmakers who will ultimately decide the fate of the divorce deal.

​Brexit deal

With less than five months until Britain leaves the EU, the so-called Northern Irish backstop was the main outstanding issue that held up the deal.

The backstop is an insurance policy to avoid a return to controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.

It was unclear what had been agreed on Ireland. The British government supplied no immediate details on the Brexit deal which runs to hundreds of pages.

According to Irish broadcaster RTE, the backstop will come in the form of a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement, with specific provisions for Northern Ireland which go deeper on the issue of customs and alignment with the rules of the single market than for the rest of the United Kingdom.

It will also include an agreed review mechanism, RTE said, adding that it understood there was still “further shuttling” to be done between London and Brussels.

But the intricacies are unlikely to stem the growing opposition to May at home: Brexit-supporting opponents fear she is signing up the United Kingdom to EU subjugation.

By seeking to leave the EU while preserving the closest possible ties, May’s compromise plan has upset Brexiteers, pro-Europeans, Scottish nationalists, the Northern Irish party that props up her government, and some of her own ministers.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Brexit Divorce Deal Draft Agreed by EU and UK; May’s Ministers to Meet

The European Union and Britain have agreed to a draft text of a Brexit withdrawal deal and Prime Minister Theresa May will present it to her senior ministers Wednesday.

While officials choreograph the first withdrawal of a sovereign state from the EU, it remains unclear whether May can get any deal approved by the British parliament.

“Cabinet will meet at 2 p.m. tomorrow to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps,” a spokesman at May’s Downing Street office said.

“Cabinet ministers have been invited to read documentation ahead of that meeting,” the spokesman said, after British media were leaked details of the breakthrough.

Sterling, which has seesawed since reaching $1.50 just before results of the 2016 referendum vote for Britain to leave the EU, surged to $1.3036.

Brexit will pitch the world’s fifth-largest economy into the unknown and many fear it will help to divide the West as it grapples with both the unconventional presidency of Donald Trump and growing assertiveness from Russia and China. Others says it will offer opportunities for Britain to develop new trading relationships beyond Europe.

The EU and the United Kingdom need an agreement to keep trade flowing between the world’s biggest trading bloc and the United Kingdom, home to the biggest international financial center.

But May has struggled to untangle nearly 46 years of EU membership without damaging trade or upsetting the lawmakers who will ultimately decide the fate of the divorce deal.

​Brexit deal

With less than five months until Britain leaves the EU, the so-called Northern Irish backstop was the main outstanding issue that held up the deal.

The backstop is an insurance policy to avoid a return to controls on the border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.

It was unclear what had been agreed on Ireland. The British government supplied no immediate details on the Brexit deal which runs to hundreds of pages.

According to Irish broadcaster RTE, the backstop will come in the form of a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement, with specific provisions for Northern Ireland which go deeper on the issue of customs and alignment with the rules of the single market than for the rest of the United Kingdom.

It will also include an agreed review mechanism, RTE said, adding that it understood there was still “further shuttling” to be done between London and Brussels.

But the intricacies are unlikely to stem the growing opposition to May at home: Brexit-supporting opponents fear she is signing up the United Kingdom to EU subjugation.

By seeking to leave the EU while preserving the closest possible ties, May’s compromise plan has upset Brexiteers, pro-Europeans, Scottish nationalists, the Northern Irish party that props up her government, and some of her own ministers.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Greek Authorities Say Lost Ancient City of Tenea Located

Greece’s culture ministry said Tuesday that archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Greeks believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy.

A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up “proof of the existence of the ancient city” of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times.

A pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organized cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, told The Associated Press that her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea until this year. In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

“This year we excavated part of the city itself,” Korka said.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewelry, pottery and coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to Roman times.

“The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent,” Korka said, adding that the city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the northeastern Peloponnese.

So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.

Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.

“[The city] had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west … and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,” she said.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century A.D. and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Greek Authorities Say Lost Ancient City of Tenea Located

Greece’s culture ministry said Tuesday that archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Greeks believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy.

A ministry statement said excavations from September to early October in the southern Greek region of the Peleponnese turned up “proof of the existence of the ancient city” of Tenea, until now known mostly from ancient texts.

Finds included walls and clay, marble or stone floors of buildings, as well as household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to late Roman times.

A pottery jar containing the remains of two human fetuses was also found amid the foundations of one building. That was unusual, as the ancient Greeks typically buried their dead in organized cemeteries outside the city walls.

Lead archaeologist Elena Korka, who has been excavating in the area since 2013, told The Associated Press that her team had only been digging in the rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea until this year. In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

“This year we excavated part of the city itself,” Korka said.

Excavation work continues on the cemeteries, located near the modern village of Hiliomodi about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Athens.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials there this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewelry, pottery and coins dating from the 4th century B.C. to Roman times.

“The citizens seem to have been remarkably affluent,” Korka said, adding that the city probably did well out of trade, standing on a key route between the major cities of Corinth and Argos in the northeastern Peloponnese.

So far, not much was known about Tenea, apart from ancient references to the reputed link with Troy and to its citizens having formed the bulk of the Greek colonists who founded the city of Syracuse in Sicily.

Korka said more should emerge during the excavations, which will continue over coming years.

“[The city] had distinctive pottery shapes with eastern influences, maintained contacts with both east and west … and had its own way of thinking, which, to the extent that it could, shaped its own policies,” she said.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have suffered damage during a Gothic invasion in the late 4th century A.D. and may have been abandoned around the time of Slavic incursions two centuries later.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Greater Paris to Ban Old Diesel Cars From Summer 2019

The Greater Paris region will become a low-emission zone from next summer, which will limit the circulation of old diesel cars, the regional authority decided on Monday.

The Metropole du Grand Paris council said on its Twitter feed it had voted to ban diesel cars registered before Dec. 31, 2000 from the area within the A86 second ring-road, which includes Paris and 79 municipalities around it, a region with 5.61 million inhabitants.

The ban will use France’s new “Crit’Air” vignette system, which identifies cars’ age and pollution level with color-coded stickers. Cars with the Crit’Air 5 sticker (1997 to 2000-registered diesels) as well as cars without a sticker will be banned.

The council plans to gradually tighten regulations in order to allow only electric or hydrogen-fueled cars on Greater Paris roads by 2030. In central Paris, pre-2000 diesels have been banned since July 2017.

Fifteen French metropolitan areas including Lyon, Nice, Aix-Marseille and Toulouse last month agreed to install or reinforce low-emission zones by 2020. The French government hopes this will prevent European Union sanctions over non-respect of European air quality standards.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

Greater Paris to Ban Old Diesel Cars From Summer 2019

The Greater Paris region will become a low-emission zone from next summer, which will limit the circulation of old diesel cars, the regional authority decided on Monday.

The Metropole du Grand Paris council said on its Twitter feed it had voted to ban diesel cars registered before Dec. 31, 2000 from the area within the A86 second ring-road, which includes Paris and 79 municipalities around it, a region with 5.61 million inhabitants.

The ban will use France’s new “Crit’Air” vignette system, which identifies cars’ age and pollution level with color-coded stickers. Cars with the Crit’Air 5 sticker (1997 to 2000-registered diesels) as well as cars without a sticker will be banned.

The council plans to gradually tighten regulations in order to allow only electric or hydrogen-fueled cars on Greater Paris roads by 2030. In central Paris, pre-2000 diesels have been banned since July 2017.

Fifteen French metropolitan areas including Lyon, Nice, Aix-Marseille and Toulouse last month agreed to install or reinforce low-emission zones by 2020. The French government hopes this will prevent European Union sanctions over non-respect of European air quality standards.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

EU, UK Inch Closer to Deal as Brexit Hangs in Balance

Britain and the European Union appeared to be inching toward agreement on Brexit on Monday, but British Prime Minister Theresa May faced intensifying pressure from her divided Conservative government that could yet scuttle a deal.

Britain leaves the EU on March 29 — the first country ever to do so — but a deal must be sealed in the coming weeks to leave enough time for the U.K. and European Parliaments to sign off. May faces increasing domestic pressure over her proposals for an agreement following the resignation of another government minister last week.

The British leader had been hoping to present a draft deal to her Cabinet this week. But no Brexit breakthrough was announced Monday after talks between European affairs ministers. The two sides are locked in technical negotiations to try to bridge the final gaps in a move laden with heavy political and economic consequences. 

May said talks were in their “endgame” but that negotiating a divorce agreement after more than four decades of British EU membership was “immensely difficult.”

May told an audience at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that “we are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, which are significant.

“Both sides want to reach an agreement,” May said, though she added she wouldn’t sign up to “agreement at any cost.”

The main obstacle to a deal is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between EU country Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K.

Both sides have committed to avoid a hard border with costly and time-consuming checks that would hamper business. Any new customs posts on the border could also re-ignite lingering sectarian tensions. But Britain and the EU haven’t agreed on how to achieve that goal.

“Clearly this is a very important week for Brexit negotiations,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters after the meeting in Brussels. “The two negotiating teams have really intensified their engagement … There is still clearly work to do.”

And Martin Callanan, a minister in Britain’s Brexit department, said all involved were “straining every sinew to make sure that we get a deal but we have to get a deal that is right for the U.K., right for the EU and one that would be acceptable to the U.K. Parliament.”

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier didn’t speak to reporters Monday and a planned news conference with him was canceled.

Instead, EU headquarters issued a short statement saying that Barnier explained to the ministers that “intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the two sides “are getting closer to each other.”

“But in negotiations there is only a deal if there is full agreement,” Blok said. “There is only a 100-percent deal. There is not a 90-percent deal or a 95-percent deal.”

Earlier, France’s EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, stepped up pressure on May. “The ball is in the British court. It is a question of a British political decision,” she said.

The EU is awaiting Barnier’s signal as to whether sufficient progress has been made to call an EU summit to seal a deal. 

Rumors have swirled of a possible top-level meeting at the end of November. But Austrian EU affairs minister Gernot Bluemel, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said “so far progress is not sufficient to call in and set up another (summit).”

In recent days there have been signs of progress behind the scenes, but all parties have remained tight-lipped about the developments, given the politically charged atmosphere.

In Britain, pro-Brexit and pro-EU politicians alike warned May that the deal she seeks is likely to be shot down by Parliament.

Boris Johnson, a staunch Brexit supporter, wrote in a column for Monday’s Daily Telegraph that May’s plan to adhere closely to EU regulations in return for a trade deal and an open Irish border amounts to “total surrender” to the bloc. 

The proposed terms are scarcely more popular with advocates of continued EU membership.

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening on Monday called May’s proposals the “worst of all worlds,” and said the public should be allowed to vote on Britain’s departure again.

“We should be planning as to how we can put this final say on Brexit in the hands of the British people,” Greening told the BBC.

Johnson’s younger brother, Jo Johnson, resigned last week backing calls for a second referendum on whether the country should leave the EU. May has consistently rejected the idea of another nationwide vote on Brexit.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.

EU, UK Inch Closer to Deal as Brexit Hangs in Balance

Britain and the European Union appeared to be inching toward agreement on Brexit on Monday, but British Prime Minister Theresa May faced intensifying pressure from her divided Conservative government that could yet scuttle a deal.

Britain leaves the EU on March 29 — the first country ever to do so — but a deal must be sealed in the coming weeks to leave enough time for the U.K. and European Parliaments to sign off. May faces increasing domestic pressure over her proposals for an agreement following the resignation of another government minister last week.

The British leader had been hoping to present a draft deal to her Cabinet this week. But no Brexit breakthrough was announced Monday after talks between European affairs ministers. The two sides are locked in technical negotiations to try to bridge the final gaps in a move laden with heavy political and economic consequences. 

May said talks were in their “endgame” but that negotiating a divorce agreement after more than four decades of British EU membership was “immensely difficult.”

May told an audience at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that “we are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, which are significant.

“Both sides want to reach an agreement,” May said, though she added she wouldn’t sign up to “agreement at any cost.”

The main obstacle to a deal is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between EU country Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K.

Both sides have committed to avoid a hard border with costly and time-consuming checks that would hamper business. Any new customs posts on the border could also re-ignite lingering sectarian tensions. But Britain and the EU haven’t agreed on how to achieve that goal.

“Clearly this is a very important week for Brexit negotiations,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters after the meeting in Brussels. “The two negotiating teams have really intensified their engagement … There is still clearly work to do.”

And Martin Callanan, a minister in Britain’s Brexit department, said all involved were “straining every sinew to make sure that we get a deal but we have to get a deal that is right for the U.K., right for the EU and one that would be acceptable to the U.K. Parliament.”

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier didn’t speak to reporters Monday and a planned news conference with him was canceled.

Instead, EU headquarters issued a short statement saying that Barnier explained to the ministers that “intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet.”

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the two sides “are getting closer to each other.”

“But in negotiations there is only a deal if there is full agreement,” Blok said. “There is only a 100-percent deal. There is not a 90-percent deal or a 95-percent deal.”

Earlier, France’s EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, stepped up pressure on May. “The ball is in the British court. It is a question of a British political decision,” she said.

The EU is awaiting Barnier’s signal as to whether sufficient progress has been made to call an EU summit to seal a deal. 

Rumors have swirled of a possible top-level meeting at the end of November. But Austrian EU affairs minister Gernot Bluemel, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said “so far progress is not sufficient to call in and set up another (summit).”

In recent days there have been signs of progress behind the scenes, but all parties have remained tight-lipped about the developments, given the politically charged atmosphere.

In Britain, pro-Brexit and pro-EU politicians alike warned May that the deal she seeks is likely to be shot down by Parliament.

Boris Johnson, a staunch Brexit supporter, wrote in a column for Monday’s Daily Telegraph that May’s plan to adhere closely to EU regulations in return for a trade deal and an open Irish border amounts to “total surrender” to the bloc. 

The proposed terms are scarcely more popular with advocates of continued EU membership.

Former Education Secretary Justine Greening on Monday called May’s proposals the “worst of all worlds,” and said the public should be allowed to vote on Britain’s departure again.

“We should be planning as to how we can put this final say on Brexit in the hands of the British people,” Greening told the BBC.

Johnson’s younger brother, Jo Johnson, resigned last week backing calls for a second referendum on whether the country should leave the EU. May has consistently rejected the idea of another nationwide vote on Brexit.

Build a better website in less than an hour. Start for free at us.