Lots of briefing ex Downing St tonight on “historic” backstop deal being close. My sense is that the level of optimism in Bxl is not much different to that expressed by @MichelBarnier yesterday, ie things moving but still a good bit to go (“a mountain to climb”, acc to one source
All the action is around the UK-wide customs backstop, or temporary customs arrangement. London wants it strictly time-limited, IE says it has to be all-weather. So duration, rules, legal base all need to be worked out...
As well as how it will impinge on EU’s own trade deals with third countries (ie, are they negotiating for 27 or 28 countries?).
Some important comments on #Brexit from @campaignforleo at a modest press conference in Brussels. He said there's a good opportunity to clinch a deal over the next fortnight. (1)
On a UK-wide customs arrangement: "A lot of countries would take the view that any UK-wide arrangement is really a matter for the future relationship rather than a backstop which is for N Ireland and Ireland. Also there's the whole issue of the level playing field..." (2)
He pointed out there is currently no N Irish Assembly or Executive to approve any new regulatory checks, as reportedly being considered by the UK government. (3)
German Chancellor Angela #Merkel: "I explicitly want to commend the work done by @MichelBarnier and his team [...] all member states are being involved in the process in an excellent manner, which results in a high level of unity." #SalzburgSummit#EUCO
#Merkel: "It has become clear today that we need substantial progress until October, and that we then aim to finalise everything in November." #SalzburgSummit#EUCO
▶️no idea when Brexit deal will arrive at European Parliament
▶️last point that Parliament can vote is first plenary session in March 19 because the second session would be too late
▶️negotiations have intensified but she hopes this isn't "a trick" (2)
▶️She had a meeting with @ukineu Sir Tim Barrow about the endgame
▶️political declaration on future relationship will not be legal text or legally binding
▶️views shifting towards political declaration being general because not enough time to negotiate the detail (3)
Aua, das tut weh: #Seehofers Demontage durch die Vertretung der Bundesregierung in Brüssel passt in einen Thread. 1/6
Seehofer versprach Großbritannien einen speziellen Deal in der Sicherheitspolitik post-#Brexit. Den wird es nicht geben — schrieb @GermanyintheEU an die @EU_Commission. Der kurze Brief im Wortlaut: 2/6
"Mit Schreiben vom 27. Juni hat sich Bundesminister Seehofer zur künftigen Zusammenarbeit..in Fragen der inneren Sicherheit geäußert. Ich möchte klarstellen, dass es sich hierbei um ein in der Bundesregierung nicht abgestimmtes Schreiben handelt." 3/6
1/7 Decision to expand Frontex mandate is not new. It basically resembles decision to establish EBCG & MFF proposal (€ 21bn for Frontex & Border Management Fund)
2/7 Idea of 'controlled centres' appears as continuation of hotspot system. Unclear how human rights safeguards & detention are handled. Also: EASO/EUAA lack mandate to process asylum claims. 'Rapid & secure' processing would have to be done by MS
Some thoughts on the idea of establishing refugee “reception centres” / “disembarkation platforms” outside the EU's borders, which will be discussed at #EUCO later this week.
While the concept has some merits, its implementation is fraught with problems. [THREAD, 1/ ]
The idea, in short, is to create centres outside the EU (e.g. Northern Africa, Balkans), where refugees can lodge their asylum claims & have them assessed by authorities. If asylum is granted, they can then travel on into EU safely. 2/
There are some attractive aspects to this model. Deaths would be reduced as refugees would no longer need to cross the Mediterranean (>3.100 deaths last year) to claim asylum. Smuggling business would go down & threat to Schengen zone would be reduced. 3/