Tears and cheers as EU lawmakers give final nod to Brexit
UNTV News • January 30, 2020 • 797
EU lawmakers on Wednesday (January 29) expressed joy and sadness after the European Union’s parliamentary body gave its final approval to Britain’s divorce deal from the bloc, paving the way for Brexit to take place on Friday.
Asked by reporters after the vote if he had any regret, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage launched into a harangue, shouting the words ‘freedom, democracy, self-governance,’ while other members of his party waved the British flags on their way out of the plenary room.
Labour Party lawmaker Judith Kirton-Darling shed tears, calling Britain’s departure from the European Union ‘devastating’.
The chairman of the Brexit steering group in the EU Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt said he had never witnessed such emotion in the plenary room, adding lawmakers would ‘not miss Mr. (Nigel) Farage.’
In a customary address to departing lawmakers European Parliament President David Sassoli said no one could predict the future and that maybe ‘History might one day give others the task of reverting back’ Britain’s decision.
After protracted divorce talks, Britain will leave the club it joined in 1973 at midnight Brussels time on Friday, when British flags will be removed from EU offices and the EU flag lowered on the British premises there. (Reuters)
(Production: Ciara Luxton, Christian Levaux, Clement Rossignol)
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)
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)
President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.
As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.
The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.
Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.
Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.
The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.
“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.
Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.
Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.
“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.
Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.
He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)
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