Outgoing PM May says best for UK to leave EU with a deal

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2019   •   1055

A tearful Theresa May says goodbye to Downing Street | (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday (May 28) it was best for Britain to leave the European Union in an orderly way, with a divorce agreement.

May was speaking as she arrived for talks between all 28 national leaders in the bloc to name four people to hold the European Union’s top jobs for the next five years.

“The position I’ve always taken has been to work to get the best possible deal for the UK and leaving the EU. I’ve always took the view that the best option for the UK is to leave the European Union with a deal,” she said.

With the Brexit Party handing the ruling Conservatives a drubbing in last week’s European elections, many of the candidates vying for May’s job are under pressure to deliver a more decisive break with the EU when Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc on Oct. 31.

May, who said last week she would step down on June 7, declined to comment on the views of her potential successors.

“I am not going to comment on the views of individual candidates. There will be a process of selecting my successors as leader of the Conservative Party,” she said.

Also speaking before the summit, Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he believed the risk of Britain crashing out of the bloc without any divorce agreement was growing with the British Conservatives selecting a new leader who could choose to “repudiate the withdrawal agreement.”

He reiterated the Irish position that there should not be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

“Well, I think there is a growing risk of no deal. As I said a few days ago, there’s a possibility that the new British prime minister may try to repudiate the withdrawal agreement. There’s also a possibility of course that there may be a new British government that might follow a different course – a more European course. I can’t predict either of those things,” he said.

“What I can say is that the European Union and Ireland will stand firm in our position that there cannot be a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland with a legal treaty guarantee of that,” he added. (REUTERS)

18 countries issue joint statement supporting WHO; criticize US withdrawal

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

A total of 18 countries in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America convened a video conference and issued a joint statement on July 10, stating their strong support for the United Nations, especially the World Health Organization (WHO), and criticizing U.S. withdrawal from WHO.

The meeting was initiated by the European Union, France, and Spain. The EU countries participating in the meeting include Germany, Croatia, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Sweden, while the Latin American countries attending the conference are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, and Dominica.

The 18 countries believed that WHO plays a key role in the global collaborative fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Cooperation and solidarity are at the core of responding to the pandemic.

The countries jointly support WHO in carrying out coordinated actions, conducting a fair, independent and comprehensive assessment and summarizing the experience of the international community in responding to the pandemic. (Reuters)

EU sets ‘safe’ travel list, excluding United States

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020

The European Union has excluded the United States from its initial “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from Wednesday (July 1).

The 27-member bloc gave approval on Tuesday (June 30) to leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders, the Council of the EU, which represents EU governments, said in a statement.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the list.

Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the United States, are among countries whose containment of the virus is considered worse than that of the EU average and so will have to wait at least two weeks. The bloc will carry out fortnightly reviews.

The move is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It acts as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations and will almost certainly not allow access to travelers from other countries. (Reuters)

(Production Hortense de Roffignac)

Venezuela’s Maduro orders EU envoy to leave the country

UNTV News   •   June 30, 2020

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday (June 29) ordered the European Union envoy to leave the country, hours after the EU announced sanctions against several officials loyal to the socialist leader.

The EU subjected 11 officials to financial sanctions, citing their actions against the democratic functioning of Venezuela’s National Assembly.

The European bloc earlier this month said a decision by the South American nation’s Supreme Court in May to ratify an ally of Maduro as president of the National Assembly was illegitimate. Opposition leader Juan Guaido was the rightful congressional president following his election by the majority of members in January, not the court-approved Luis Parra, the EU said.

Parra was among those named in Monday’s sanctions, along with Franklyn Duarte and Jose Gregorio Noriega, who were named as vice-presidents of the assembly in the May court ruling.

Maduro gave the EU envoy, Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa, 72 hours to leave the country after the sanctions were announced.

“A plane can be loaned to her to leave,” he said during an appearance on Venezuelan state TV.

Maduro also said his government was reserving diplomatic action in the case against the Spanish ambassador in Caracas, Jesus Silva, whom he said was “an accomplice of the criminal and terrorist Leopoldo Lopez, as published in the Wall Street Journal, for the plan to assassinate me, to assassinate the country’s top military and political leader.”

Last week, the U.S. newspaper published a report citing sources close to the opposition leader Lopez, indicating that he had come into contact with several security firms for an armed action in Venezuela. (Reuters)

(Production: Efrain Otero, Liamar Ramos)

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