This week, Donald Tusk thinks Donald Trump is a schmuck, the customs union debate really gets stuck, and only select people will get to talk to the Zuck.
On an oversized stage in Sofia, Council President Donald Tusk launched a stinging attack on Trump, accusing the US of “capricious assertiveness” reported Danny Kemp.
EU's Tusk, on an oversized stage in Sofia, launches stinging attack on Trump, accusing US of 'capricious assertiveness' and saying that some Trump decisions make him think 'with friends like these who needs enemies' pic.twitter.com/NpOINEa4am
— Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) May 16, 2018
With friends like that who needs enemies, asked the EU Donald adding that frankly the EU should be grateful. Thanks to Trump we have got rid of all illusions.
Looking at latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies. But frankly, EU should be grateful. Thanks to him we got rid of all illusions. We realise that if you need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of your arm.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) May 16, 2018
Dave Keating described the comments as “brutal and unprecedented.”
#EUCO President Donald Tusk has gone on a brutal, and unprecedented, attack on the US president just now in Sofia. The US may still be a European ally for the moment, he says, but #Trump’s decisions are making Europeans think 'with friends like these who needs enemies?’
— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) May 16, 2018
The New York Times said it was one of the most public denunciations of President Trump’s decision making by a European leader.
A tweet by Donald Tusk was one of the most public denunciations of President Trump’s decision making by a European leader https://t.co/cj6tHUfL1g
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) May 16, 2018
A lot of people, including Mary Riddle, thought Tusk’s words made a good case for the UK to rethink Brexit.
— Mary Riddell (@MaryRiddell) May 17, 2018
Sorry Mary, the Brexitsambles continues unabated. As claims and counterclaims emerge about the UK staying or not staying in the customs union.
Faisal Islam reported that Number 10 repeatedly said the UK will leave the Customs Union after the transition period.
Number 10 repeatedly asked if the UK will be subject to the EU’s Common External Tarrif after end of transition period – answers repeatedly that we are leaving the Customs Union
— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) May 17, 2018
But that’s not what Theresa May said during PMQs. The Daily Mash reckons Britain will stay in the customs union until a moon colony up and running.
— The Daily Mash (@thedailymash) May 17, 2018
UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn said the row illustrates the biggest issue with the government Brexit agenda – it is both opaque and ever-shifting and nothing to rely upon.
Latest Customs Union post-2020 row illustrates the biggest issue with Govt Brexit agenda – it is both opaque and ever-shifting. Almost nothing upon which we can rely.
— Patrick O'Flynn (@oflynnmep) May 17, 2018
Dominic Shellard pointed out the cabinet is at war over two options neither of which the EU would accept in a million years!
The cabinet is at war over 2 Customs Union options the EU is never going to accept in a million years. We’re 10 months away from leaving the EU with no plan whatsoever. I’m with the students #PeoplesVote
— Dominic Shellard (@DMUVC) May 13, 2018
May meanwhile claimed she misspoke and meant to say customs “arrangement.”
Theresa May commits to 'future customs union' in PMQs misspeak https://t.co/mZgYtk8eB6
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 16, 2018
Prompting Former MEP Sarah Ludford to ask: “When is a customs union not a customs union?”
“When is a customs union not a customs union? When it’s a ‘time-limited goods arrangement’.”
Not only total incompetence but total dishonesty. https://t.co/4aAAvBB0WI
— Sarah Ludford #FBPE (@SarahLudford) May 17, 2018
Berlaymonster reckons this is where we’re headed.
This is where we're headed I reckon. pic.twitter.com/akP4wAJWh6
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) May 14, 2018
Steve Bullock had much the same idea.
Apparently all UKGov really needs is for the Customs Union to be called something else. What should it be?
(HT @gatopaulistano for number 1)
— Steve Bullock (@GuitarMoog) May 16, 2018
So UK think we’ll accept their barmy customs idea just because they’ve changed the name? They must think we’re stupid, said spoof account Martini Seltzermayr.
So UK think we’ll accept their barmy customs idea just because they’ve changed the name? They must think we’re stupid.
See also: Eurobonds/Germany
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) May 16, 2018
Good luck finding that Customs Unicorn Theresa!
Finally, Mark Zuckerberg will come to the European Parliament to answer questions about the use of personal data of millions of EU Facebook users.
The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament will meet on 22 May at 17.45 with Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the use of personal data of millions of #Facebook EU users. After the meeting @EP_President Tajani will inform media of the discussions. Details will follow.
— Jaume Duch (@jduch) May 17, 2018
But those users won’t get to hear details of the discussion as it will take place behind closed doors. Many people, including yours truly, were very critical of the decision.
Alice Stollmeyer said the move fails 500m European citizens. A private meeting is not enough. EU citizens are not second-class people, there must be a public hearing, like in the US.
They, in particular @EP_President, have failed 500k European citizens. @Facebook has spent 18 months avoiding providing sufficient answers to the public. A private meeting is not enough. EU citizens are not second-class people. There ALSO must be a PUBLIC hearing, like in the US. https://t.co/18A3g1iExk
— Alice Stollmeyer (@StollmeyerEU) May 17, 2018
Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova also said it was a pity this will not be a public hearing pointing out there are more EU users on Facebook than US.
Glad that Mark Zuckerberg accepted invitation from @Europarl_EN and will come to Brussels to answer European questions on privacy. Pity this will not be a public hearing. There are more EU users on FB than there are in the US & Europeans deserve to know how their data is handled.
— Věra Jourová (@VeraJourova) May 16, 2018
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told her to mind her own business saying “It is not your job to control or criticize the European Parliament.
This is a decision of the Conference of Presidents .It is not your job to control and criticize the @Europarl_EN
— Antonio Tajani (@Antonio_Tajani) May 16, 2018
That didn’t go down well. Matthias Dobbelaere-Welvaert called it “embarrassing” trying to silence justified criticism.
This is embarrassing. As if the EU doesn’t face enough reputation issues already. When you try to silence justified criticism (which @VeraJourova is giving), you only create more suspicion. Bad leadership.
— Matthias Dobbelaere-Welvaert (@deJuristen) May 17, 2018
Even MEP Max Andersson said, the EU-parliament likes to claim it is one of the most transparent in the world. Except for when it is not.
The EU-parliament likes to claim it is one of the most transparent in the world. Except for when it is not.#europarl
— Max Andersson (@MaxAndersson) May 17, 2018
So aside from denying us the jobs of bullshit bingo, what is the Conference of Presidents trying to hide? Zuckerberg’s culpability or the MEPs’ inability?
Does ANYONE actually trust the @Europarl_EN Council of Presidents to ask #Zuckerberg the right questions?! @EP_President got his bloody name wrong in the LIBE hearing, so I am far from convinced they even know what #Facebook is!
— Jennifer Baker (@BrusselsGeek) May 16, 2018
Brian Maguire asks “who would you trust to interrogate the complexities of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook business?”
Hey Europe, do you trust the knowledge and analytical expertise of the European Parliament’s ‘Conference of Presidents’ to interrogate the complexities of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook business? Or would you prefer expert MEPs to do the job? @EP_President pic.twitter.com/x0agjMAjeC
— Brian Maguire (@BrianMaguireEU) May 17, 2018
Berlaymonster said Facebook didn’t dictate the conditions. It just adjusted the privacy settings.
Facebook didn't dictate the conditions.
It just adjusted the privacy settings. https://t.co/I8dmY0J13z
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) May 16, 2018
And American EU Dude just wants to see Zuckerberg’s trip updates.
Great, Zuckerberg is coming to Brussels. Can't wait to see all the updates of his trip pic.twitter.com/TbFvyEBYQp
— American EU Dude (@AmericanEUDude) May 16, 2018
And that’s it for another week. Join me again next week for more of the same in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.