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European leaders applauded Theresa May for providing clarity by finally outlining her plan for a clean break with the EU, but said she needed to be realistic about the price Britain would pay for leaving. May’s vision of a “global Britain” cutting itself off from European Union’s single market and launching negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the bloc is a form of “hard Brexit” continental leaders were prepared for.
For months Europeans expressed frustration that British officials would not accept in public that their determination to curb immigration from the continent meant Britain must leave the common market. May’s speech on Monday put an end to that. “Sad process, surrealistic times but at least more realistic announcement on Brexit,” tweeted Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier who will oversee the divorce negotiations between London and the other 27 member states in the European Council. EU leaders are keeping their negotiating powder dry until May formally launches talks in the coming months. But officials who are preparing for the process noted that May had not spelled out many downsides for Britain’s economy. “Where is the give for all the take?” asked the Czech Republic’s secretary of state for EU affairs, Tomas Prouza, on Twitter.
A new study has found that low-dose and long-term exposure to Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup causes liver disease in female
rats. Monsanto reacted, saying that the study used “flawed data” from 2012.
The European Commission yesterday (12 January) called on Italy to provide proof against Germany’s allegation that Fiat Chrysler used illegal exhaust emissions defeat devices, stepping up pressure on the group amid accusations against it in the US. Germany has asked the EU executive to mediate its dispute with Italy, which rejected its allegations of hidden software on the Fiat 500X, Fiat Doblo and Jeep Renegade models that allowed excess diesel emissions.
Top business executives are split over the benefits of globalisation, but most remain “extremely positive” in their growth forecasts, a PwC survey shows. Following in the footsteps of the World Economic Forum report on global risks , the study underlined that declining living standards for most of the population in industrialised countries, and growing distrust of political and business elites are putting the economic and political status quo at risk. Despite the predominantly gloomy general atmosphere, a slim majority of business leaders (51%) reported feeling “extremely positive” about long-term growth prospects for their companies, compared to only a third two decades ago when the survey was first published. (Check out the survey HERE)
6. EU aid to Honduras plagued by ‘lack of expertise’ and shortcomings, auditors find.
EU aid to Honduras, one of the poorest countries on the planet, was plagued by a lack of management expertise, focus and overlapping support, a damning report from the Court of Auditors found (12 January). The EU payments totalled some €119 million over the period of 2007-2015, intended to help with poverty reduction, deforestation, and a sky-high murder rate. Instead, the report finds, “poverty had increased, the areas of forest decreased, and there is still widespread violence with a very high homicide rate”.
The Luxembourg-based auditors blame a variety of factors – not all of them the fault of the EU – but including that “the EU delegation in Honduras lacked the necessary macroeconomic and public financial management expertise to manage budget support operations”.
7. From green bonds to solar roads: France’s low-carbon revolution is taking shape.
History was made in France a little over a year ago when national delegates from across the world agreed on a landmark climate deal. With the Paris Agreement now ratified, the host nation is introducing a plethora of fresh green legislation. EurActiv’s media partner edie.net reports. (Check out the report HERE)
Belgian MEP Helga Stevens, who is the ECR group’s pick for the European Parliament presidency race and who is also the first female MEP to identify herself as being deaf, told EurActiv Spain that she wants to be “the institution’s voice”. (Check out the interview HERE).
Stevens’ political group, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), is the third largest in the Parliament and has put forward the Belgian as a candidate because it believes that “the election should not just be a competition between the two largest parties”.