Brexit Causes Border Gridlock as New Covid-19 Strain Forces Lockdown

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    The European Union is considering a fresh proposal on fishing rights from the U.K. as Prime Minister Boris Johnson aims to secure an 11th-hour trade deal.

    Both parties had signaled over the weekend that they could make no further compromises, but on Monday the U.K. offered to give further ground if the EU backed down in other areas, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

    The latest suggestion from Britain would see the EU reduce the value of the fish it catches in U.K. waters by about a third. Last week the U.K. was insisting the EU accept a 60% cut.

    The EU told negotiators on Friday that a 25% reduction was its final offer and this was already difficult for countries including France and Denmark to accept — the bloc had initially suggested 18%. The European Commission, which is handling negotiations on behalf of the 27 EU members, is liaising with national governments, particularly those that have big fishing industries, before responding, the people said.

    Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator, is scheduled to brief ambassadors from the 27 member states at about 4 p.m. in Brussels on Tuesday.

    After another day of intense talks between negotiators in Brussels on Monday as well as consultations with senior figures in London, Paris and Berlin, the two sides were still not ready to reach a conclusion, officials said. Indeed, officials say talks could still collapse over a major disagreement about how far one side can retaliate if the other breaks the rules.

    Even if the two sides can bridge their differences on how much European boats will get — they are now haggling over as little as 33 million euros ($40 million) of fish annually — talks may still founder on the EU’s demand that they should be able to impose broader trade tariffs on the U.K. if London rows back on any fisheries agreement, a concept known as cross-retaliation. The U.K. has said it would accept penalty tariffs on fisheries but not in other areas.

    The U.K. has demanded the EU accept a five-year transition to the new arrangement rather than seven, the people said. The EU had initially called for 10 years to adjust and the U.K. had proposed three.

    “There have been successive proposals from the U.K., sometimes on fishing, that don’t respond to European priorities and demands,” French Europe Minister Clement Beaune told reporters in Paris. “Difficulties remain, in the fishing sector — but not only, so it would be a error of judgment and unacceptable stigmatization to say that a few countries or a few sectors are blocking.”

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    In This Story: Brexit

    Brexit is the name given to the United Kingdom’s exiting the European Union, which happened on 31 January 2020, following a narrow “Leave” referendum result in a June 2016 vote on EU Membership which took place in the country. News items related to Brexit are posted, below, chronologically, with the most recent items at the top, from a variety of outlets.

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  • In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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    Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.

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  • In This Story: Denmark

    Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe.  The capital is Copenhagen. Denmark proper, consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 islands.

    The Kingdom of Denmark comprises Denmark proper and the two autonomous territories in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948; in Greenland home rule was established in 1979 and further autonomy in 2009.

    Denmark has highly developed mixed economy. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973, but negotiated certain opt-outs; it retains its own currency, the krone. It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area. Denmark has close linguistic ties to its Scandinavian neighbours.

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    France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.

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  • In This Story: Lockdown

    During the 2020 Covid-19 epidemic, lockdown has come to mean the practice of attempting to control transmission of the virus by means of restricting people’s movement and activities on a broad scale, usually on a national or state-wide basis.

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    Michel Bernard Barnier is a French politician serving as the European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom since November 2019.

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