Benjamin Fox

Brexit 22-01-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – The lost art of diplomacy

There is nothing like a break-up to prompt a few rounds of point-scoring and petty one-upmanship. The Brexit divorce process is more giving than most. The UK may be over and out of the bloc, legally at least, but there...
EU-Africa 22-01-2021

African trade pact offers chance to kickstart UK trade ties

The new African Continental Free Trade Area is a chance to kickstart trade between the UK and Africa, delegates told a UK-Africa investment summit this week.
Brexit 19-01-2021

UK rejects pleas to re-open talks on musicians’ visa deal

UK government ministers on Tuesday (19 January), rejected demands that they try to broker a deal with the EU to ensure that visa-free tours by musicians can continue, insisting that “taking back control” of borders should be the UK’s first priority.
Global Europe 19-01-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – A declaration of self–reliance

It’s probably fair to say that most European leaders greeted Joe Biden’s victory in last November’s presidential elections with a huge sigh of relief. After four years of isolationism, bombast and unpredictability, Biden’s presidency, if nothing else, heralds a return to government by professionals, and an end of diplomacy by Twitter-rant.
Brexit 15-01-2021

The Brief – Rotting in the docks

The images of then UKIP leader Nigel Farage floating in a dinghy on the River Thames – encountering a flotilla of Remainers led by Bob Geldof and doling out profanity like candy – is one of the memories of the...
Brexit 15-01-2021

UK fishing industry faces £1m daily losses after Brexit

The Scottish fishing industry is counting the "crippling" costs of new bureaucratic requirements to export their catch to the EU, prompting industry leaders to warn that without immediate government support there could be "permanent casualties".
Brexit 13-01-2021

Ireland nets 25% of EU’s fund to cover Brexit costs

Ireland will receive more than €1 billion from the EU's Brexit Adjustment Fund, making it the biggest single beneficiary of the €4.24 billion Fund, according to figures released on Wednesday (13 January).
Brexit 11-01-2021

The Brief – Letter from the UK

Two days after the UK left the EU’s single market, England was placed into its third national lockdown on 3 January, joining Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who had already imposed their own restrictions. With people confined to their homes...
Brexit 08-01-2021

Hauliers count costs after first week of post-Brexit border regime

Hauliers are already counting the cost of the new post-Brexit border rules after the first week of life with the UK outside the EU’s single market saw truck queues, delays, and supply chain disruptions.
EU-Africa 08-01-2021

Partnership with a purpose: EU-Africa relations in 2021

The EU’s plans to strike a ‘strategic partnership’ with Africa were one the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the European Commission set out its stall in a March 2020 strategic paper, summits were cancelled and it is unclear whether EU and African Union leaders will agree on an agenda with the ambition needed for a genuine ‘strategic partnership’ this year.
Brexit 31-12-2020

2021: The end of the beginning

A collective sigh of relief greeted the Christmas Eve agreement on a post-Brexit free trade deal. After months of criticism over his government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson won the media plaudits for ‘getting Brexit done’. For the EU, it put an end to years of frustrating and time-consuming talks with its awkward former member.
Brexit 30-12-2020

UK lawmakers back Johnson’s EU trade deal with thumping majority

UK lawmakers endorsed Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU on Wednesday (30 December) with a thumping 521 to 73 majority, setting the country on course to retain its free trade with the EU when it leaves the Single Market at midnight on New Year's Eve.
Brexit 24-12-2020

UK’s ‘EU question’ is settled, Johnson says as new trade pact agreed

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson boasted on Thursday (24 December) that the Brexit-question has been put to bed for a generation, as he announced the agreement of a new EU-UK trade treaty which will take effect from 1 January.
Brexit 24-12-2020

Johnson to announce EU trade deal after cutting fisheries pact

The UK and European Union are expected on Thursday (24 December) to agree a new trade and security deal just a week before the end of the post-Brexit transition period.
Arab Spring 22-12-2020

Keeping the light bright in Tunisia ten years after the Arab Spring

Ten years ago, anti-government protests began in Tunisia, leading up to the toppling of the Zine El Abidine Ben Ali regime in January 2011, the country's transition to democracy, and the start of the Arab Spring that saw the ousting of autocratic rulers across the Maghreb.
Brexit 21-12-2020

EU citizens with ‘pre-settled status’ can access UK welfare, rules Court

EU citizens with pre-settled status in the UK can access welfare benefits, according to a  landmark judgement by the UK Court of Appeal on Friday (18 December).
Brexit 19-12-2020

UK still unprepared for Brexit, lawmakers warn

The UK is still ill-prepared for the end of the post-Brexit transition period, with or without a new trade deal being agreed, according to a report published on Saturday (19 December) by UK lawmakers.
The European Parliament is to test a biometric attendance register for MEPs taking part in meetings at its Brussels premises, internal documents seen by EURACTIV reveal learned.
Brexit 17-12-2020

MEPs set Sunday deadline for Brexit trade deal

European Parliament lawmakers have set a Sunday (20 December) deadline for a post-Brexit trade deal to be completed in order for them to debate and vote on it before the UK's transition period ends on 31 December.
The European Parliament is to test a biometric attendance register for MEPs taking part in meetings at its Brussels premises, internal documents seen by EURACTIV reveal learned.
Global Europe 16-12-2020

Polisario suffers setback as EU Parliament group leader resigns over ceasefire

The campaign for Western Saharan independence has suffered another diplomatic blow after the head of the European Parliament’s group on Western Sahara resigned, accusing the pro-independence Frente Polisario of committing ‘a serious strategic error’ by ending a 30-year ceasefire with Morocco.
Future EU 15-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Two visions of England, and Europe

Aside from being great yarns, Europe and the project of European integration lie at the heart of the best work of the great spy novelist, John Le Carré, who died on Saturday.
Agrifood 15-12-2020

EU and Africa step up co-operation on agri-business amid pandemic

When the European Commission and African Union set up a joint rural Africa taskforce in May 2018, their priorities were to promote African food security, climate change adaption and investment in the continent’s agri-business. Its work towards those aims in African agri-business has been accelerated this year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Politics 11-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Veto power, used and abused

Europe’s surly teenager – the UK – may have left the club only to be replaced by the new enfants terribles of the EU – Poland and Hungary. But like it or not, the two Visegrad states were protecting their national interests.
Brexit 10-12-2020

EU offers UK soft landing with post-Brexit contingency plans

The European Commission tabled contingency measures on Thursday (10 December) to ensure basic reciprocal air and road connectivity between the EU and the UK, and mooted the prospect of temporary reciprocal fishing access by vessels to each other’s waters, as both sides started preparing for a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Brexit 10-12-2020

Johnson and von der Leyen set Sunday deadline as UK heads towards ‘no deal’

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen have set a Sunday (13 December) deadline for a ‘firm decision’ on whether an EU-UK trade deal can be obtained but the UK appears to be heading towards a ‘no deal’ Brexit after crisis talks on Wednesday.