Tweets of the Week: Brexit transition deal, EU digital tax, and Juncker congratulates Putin

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.

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 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.


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.

Riz Mokal said they’re just shocked Brexit won’t put more fish in the sea.

… 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.

Which is more interest in fish than he ever showed in his time on the Fisheries Committee, said Peter Timmins.

Jacob Rees-Mogg called the agreement “purgatory before we get into heaven.”

While Malcolm Tucker spoof account channelled the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy saying “so long and thanks for all the fish!”

On Wednesday, the Commission proposed a new 3% tax on big tech companies, which predictably caused a stir.

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke at the weekend, Danny Kemp joked that it was “more good news for Facebook”.

Margrethe Vestager explained that most companies pay on average 24% corporate tax. Digital companies less than 10% in Europe.

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.

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.”

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.

Finally, Russian president Vladimir Putin was re-elected on Sunday.

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.

Which ones? asked Gareth Harding. “Invading EU neighbours? Interfering in free elections? Crushing opposition parties?”

The Guardian lumped Juncker together with Trump, who of course also congratulated Putin…

…despite his advisers telling him not to.

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.

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?”

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.

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.

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