This week, Brexit transition deal raises the stakes, Moscovici’s Big Tech tax angers the States, while Juncker and Putin seem like best mates.
On Monday the UK and the EU agreed on some of the terms for a 21-month Brexit transition period.
The UK and EU agree terms for Brexit transition period https://t.co/8WWLh1Ih1v
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) March 19, 2018
Among the highlights: The UK can sign trade deals during the transition – but not implement them – free movement will be guaranteed, and there’s a so-called “backstop solution” for Northern Ireland.
A draft trext on Brexit transition period is done. Per Davis and Barnier:
>>UK CAN sign own trade deals
>>Ends December 2020
>>Free movement, ECJ etc will apply
>>Gibraltar will be covered
>>UK agrees to backstop clause re Ireland – but confident it can find better solution
— James Rothwell (@JamesERothwell) March 19, 2018
A lot of people, including David Schneider, noticed Theresa May’s flip flop on the subject… last month she said no prime minister could ever sign up to the backstop deal.
Theresa May, Feb 2018:
“No Prime Minister could ever sign up to the EU’s position on Northern Ireland”
*signs up to EU’s position on Northern Ireland* pic.twitter.com/bEKlsUcf6m
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) March 19, 2018
Speaking of flippers, a new issue came out of leftfield. The EU will continue to set fishing quotas during the transition, which really upset UK fisherman.
UK is "disappointed" EU will continue to set fish quotas during #Brexit transition, Environment Secretary Michael Gove says, but insists UK will gain full control of fishing waters after December 2020https://t.co/HaOyhHnvyZ pic.twitter.com/s288m1oezo
— AnySource (@SourceAny) March 20, 2018
Riz Mokal said they’re just shocked Brexit won’t put more fish in the sea.
Brexiteer fishing communities shocked that Brexit won’t put more fish in the sea. https://t.co/SCv8MzFIuz
— Riz Mokal (@RizMokal) March 20, 2018
… so Nigel stepped into the breach. In full “hold my beer” mode, Farage protested the agreement by dumping a load of dead fish into the Thames.
Nigel Farage and other Brexiteers dump fish in the river Thames in protest to the Government's Brexit transition deal, which says the UK will only be "consulted" on fishing quotas https://t.co/IPjh0aPzMW pic.twitter.com/rLFMWlEhXJ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 21, 2018
Which is more interest in fish than he ever showed in his time on the Fisheries Committee, said Peter Timmins.
Farage dumps dead fish in Thames. It's about the most interest in fish he's shown in his entire time as an MEP and on the Fisheries committeehttps://t.co/ihN3myhoUO
— Peter Timmins #FBPE (@petertimmins3) March 21, 2018
Jacob Rees-Mogg called the agreement “purgatory before we get into heaven.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg describes Brexit transition as "purgatory before we get into heaven"
— Asa Bennett (@asabenn) March 20, 2018
While Malcolm Tucker spoof account channelled the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy saying “so long and thanks for all the fish!”
— Malcolm Tucker (@Tucker5law) March 20, 2018
On Wednesday, the Commission proposed a new 3% tax on big tech companies, which predictably caused a stir.
— Bloomberg (@business) March 21, 2018
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke at the weekend, Danny Kemp joked that it was “more good news for Facebook”.
— Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) March 21, 2018
Margrethe Vestager explained that most companies pay on average 24% corporate tax. Digital companies less than 10% in Europe.
Most companies pay on average 24% corporate tax. Digital companies less than 10% in Europe. We propose to update our understanding of where to tax and what to tax – to ensure fair taxation also in our digital world @pierremoscovici #digitaltax
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) March 21, 2018
Pierre Moscovici says of estimated 120-150 large tech companies that will have to pay new revenue tax, around 1/2 are American and 1/3 are European.
— Catherine Stupp (@catstupp) March 21, 2018
Berlaymonster reckoned, “Meh. By the time the Irish, the Luxembourgers, the Dutch (and, for now, the Brits) are done vetoing the shit out of this, it’ll be reduced to voluntary fiscal transparency and best practice benchmarking guidelines.”
Meh. By the time the Irish, the Luxembourgers, the Dutch (and, for now, the Brits) are done vetoing the shit out of this it'll be reduced to voluntary fiscal transparency and best practice benchmarking guidelines… https://t.co/WbQIJk0VuL
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) March 21, 2018
He’s not wrong.
As Mlex correspondent Magnus Franklin pointed out: A fictional twitter character has provided the most enlightening commentary on the digital tax so far. How 2018.
— Magnus Franklin (@magnusfranklin) March 21, 2018
Finally, Russian president Vladimir Putin was re-elected on Sunday.
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) March 19, 2018
Shocking, right? Well, what actually came as a surprise was Jean-Claude Juncker’s congratulations: “I wish you every success in carrying out your high responsibilities,” he said.
Congratulations on your re-election, President #Putin. I have always argued that positive relations between the #EU and #Russia are crucial to the #security of our continent. Our objective should be to re-establish a cooperative pan-European security order. pic.twitter.com/PiEGg56DBN
— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) March 20, 2018
Which ones? asked Gareth Harding. “Invading EU neighbours? Interfering in free elections? Crushing opposition parties?”
"I wish you every success in carrying out your high responsibilities" Which ones @JunckerEU ? Invading EU neighbours? Interfering in free elections in EU states? Amassing troops on EU borders? Crushing opposition parties? Slaughtering Syrians? Muzzling media? #Putin https://t.co/gWhFEccql7
— Gareth Harding (@garethharding) March 20, 2018
The Guardian lumped Juncker together with Trump, who of course also congratulated Putin…
— Danny Kemp (@dannyctkemp) March 21, 2018
…despite his advisers telling him not to.
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) March 20, 2018
Donald Tusk had the opposite response. ‘After the Salisbury attack I am not in the mood to celebrate president Putin’s reappointment,’ he said. Quite a contrast, said Bruno Waterfield.
'After the Salisbury attack I am not in the mood to celebrate president Putin’s reappointment,’ says @eucopresident
— Bruno Waterfield (@BrunoBrussels) March 21, 2018
But spoof account Martini Seltzermayr pointed out: “We were hardly going to complain about Putin’s shameful sham contest with only one real candidate, now, were we?”
We were hardly going to complain about Putin’s shameful sham contest with only one real candidate, now, were we https://t.co/rYasZiWUen
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) March 20, 2018
This week we are supported by the French Development Agency. They’re working to increase access to water worldwide. You can find out more on their website.
Unfortunately women and girls lose more than 25 million hours every day collecting water… ?
That’s why we are committed to facilitating access to water in the world! #WWF8
— AFD_en (@AFD_en) March 21, 2018
That’s it for this week, join me again next week for more spoofs, goofs and reproofs in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere and send in your suggestion using the hashtag #EUTweets.