The Brief – Time border for Ireland?

The Brief is EURACTIV's evening newsletter

Ireland is the biggest victim of Brexit. In the absence of an agreement between Brussels and London, a hard border could be imposed between Ireland and Northern Ireland, which sounds as absurd as imposing a frontier across Luxembourg.

The Irish from both sides of the island know it’s the fault of Brexit. By the way, Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU at 55.8%.

But now a new border is likely to be imposed between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and this time the people on both sides of the Irish island can only blame Brussels for the new inconvenience.

The European Union will scrap the twice-yearly seasonal clock change across the bloc from October 2019, leaving member states to decide by April whether they will stick permanently to the summer or winter time.

But the UK will have left the EU by 29 March and is not obliged to follow.

A UK spokesperson actually said that Her Majesty’s government has no plans to change daylight saving time. No surprise, the Brits are quite conservative.

What this means is that six months per year, Northern Ireland could be in a different time zone from the Republic of Ireland.

The prospect of having two time zones on a small island would only add insult to injury.

Asked today to comment on this bureaucratic extravaganza, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc pretended she didn’t understand the question. Or, possibly, she couldn’t understand it.

Bulc is the Commission’s key figure as far as the daylight saving time reform is concerned. That’s because time is very sensitive in the transport sector. Just imagine the prospective hurdles, with people getting confused about what time their plane departs, and inevitably, many missing their flights.

Worse still: each time that the radio from the other side of the island announces the hour, people driving their cars en route to an important meeting will risk a heart attack, and possibly an accident, if they suddenly assume that having been on time, they are now going to be an hour late.

Could London use the time border as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiation? Our bet is they will.

The Roundup

By Alexandra Brzozowski

While there is a French pre-EU election battle going on with “En Marche” being neck-and-neck with the far-right in 2019 EU election opinion poll, the EPP is unsure whether to retain or expel Hungary’s Fidesz.

Meanwhile, EU socialists scold the EPP over the Macedonian name deal, being slightly forgetful over their own black sheep member.

Hungary has sold visas to Russian businessmen in exchange for hundreds of thousands of euros. Tricky twist: Under the receivers of the golden visas are also individuals under the European sanctions regime.

One of the EU’s top economic officials said he feared “little Mussolini’s” might be emerging in Europe. Italy’s far-right interior minister was not amused and accused him of insulting his country and Italians. Not his only gaffe this week

Knowing this, it also does not surprise that the Commission favours seeking dialogue with the Five Star Movement over Salvini’s Lega party.

Croatia’s possible entry into the Eurozone is a hot topic these days. In their minds, citizens of the Balkan nation have already adopted the euro ‒ they have long decided to keep most of their savings in the single currency.

Another bit in the series of Brexit endgame scenarios: Eurostar trains heading from London to Paris may not be allowed into France if there is no Brexit deal and sufficient preparations have not been made.

As ten years have passed since the fall of Lehman Brothers, Europe improved its banking regulation, but left work unfished as the financial system remains vulnerable. Possible lessons from Lehman: It’s the real economy and politics that matter, writes Karl Aiginger.

For the blockbuster fans, here is something incredible a green screen can do with a Hurricane weather forecast.

GCHQ, the British government’s intelligence and security organisation, has breached human rights in its mass surveillance programme, the European Court of Human Rights ruled.

The French mainly applaud the EU copyright reform vote. Some feared that memes might also be included, but the parody exception is here to stay.

Look out for…

Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker travelling to Romania on Monday for the summit of the Three Seas Initiative.

Views are the author’s

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