Welcome back to EURACTIV’s Tweets of the Week. Happy 2019!
This week, Brexit transport plans are totally cracked,
migrants saved thanks to EU pact
and Donald Trump displays his usual tact.
This episode is supported by Medicines for Europe. More from them at end.
It’s a new year, but it’s still the same old Brexit nonsense. This week, to the amusement of almost everyone on this side of La Manche, the UK organised a traffic jam. Yes really.
Meanwhile in the strangeness of Brexit – lorries are practising having a big traffic jam https://t.co/voztq4zOaO
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) January 7, 2019
The plan was to demonstrate how super organised the transport network is to cope with road haulage in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
However it didn’t got quite like that. As Morrison Freight tweeted “with less than 100 lorries involved, compared to the 10,000 or so that transit through the port on a daily basis, it does seem to be a somewhat unrealistic exercise.
Have you read about #OperationBrock? We feel that with less than 100 lorries involved compared to the 10,000 or more that transit through the port on a daily basis, it does seem to be a somewhat unrealistic, last minute exercise https://t.co/dhO9lrhUAh #Brexit
— Morrison Freight Ltd (@MorrisonFreight) January 7, 2019
Nick Pettigrew reckons “Couldn’t organise a traffic jam in Kent” is the new standard measure of incompetence.
“Couldn’t organise a traffic jam in Kent” is the new standard measure of incompetence.
— Nick Pettigrew (@Nick_Pettigrew) January 7, 2019
And a lot of people thought this must be what Brits mean by “innovative jam”.
But the thread du jour must surely go to Indy journalist Tom Peck, who said he’s never been on an assignment anywhere near as stupid as this.
Right. First day back after Christmas in this perfectly normal country and I'm off to Ramsgate to sketch a Potemkin traffic jam up the A299 at dawn.
— Tom Peck (@tompeck) January 7, 2019
Exactly! As if the British need to practice queuing, scoffed Berlaymonster.
As if the British needed to practice queuing. https://t.co/qgiCEiD2kz
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) January 7, 2019
But British transport woes don’t end there: On Tuesday Heathrow took the precautionary measure of halting departures after an alleged drone sighting.
We are responding to a drone sighting at Heathrow and are working closely with the Met Police to prevent any threat to operational safety. As a precautionary measure, we have stopped departures while we investigate. We apologise to passengers for any inconvenience this may cause.
— Heathrow Airport (@HeathrowAirport) January 8, 2019
This follows the chaos caused by drones at Gatwick over Christmas pointed out Jack Parrock.
Further airport closures in the U.K. over drones with the Gatwick closures over Christmas still unresolved. https://t.co/xmxnZl4ttn
— Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) January 8, 2019
But there’s always ferries, right? Wrong.
In more top notch Brexit preparation, a major ferry contract has been awarded to a company that doesn’t have any, you guessed it, boats!
One account suggested this SeaborneFreight vessels are undergoing secret sea trials.
— I am Duncan Smith (@IDS_not) January 4, 2019
But, it seems that, as well as not having any ferries, SeaborneFreight doesn’t even have contracts to operate from the two ports from which these non-existent ferries should operate.
@Channel4News So, it would appear that, as well as not having any ferries, #SeaborneFreight doesn't even have contracts to operate from the two ports from which these non-existent ferries should operate. I thought pantomime season was over.
— Laura #QueueJumper #FBPE (@smilinglaura) January 3, 2019
Oh yes, and their T&Cs are for a pizza delivery company.
Against expectations #SeaborneFreight are delighted to announce the launch of The Good Ship ‘Strong & Stable’ Pizza Ferry . Deep Pan increases capacity; stuffed crust for increased strength. #ChrisGrayling launched the ship with his inanegrin scaring the ship into The North Sea. pic.twitter.com/OjSzy07Qjo
— Pizza Ferry #FBPE 77 Days to Armageddon (@RichardBlakey1) January 9, 2019
You really couldn’t make it up!
"£13.8 million and they don't even have any boats!"
"Stop it Emmanuel, I, I can't breath"
"…and then they spent £50,000 on 100 lorries parking on the M20"
"Taking back control they said"#OperationBrock #OperationChaos pic.twitter.com/2wFlSuxJCc
— Sir Digby Chicken Caesar (@DigbyReturns) January 7, 2019
Speaking of the UK and boats. Around 40 migrants braved the channel by dinghy to illegally enter the UK over the Christmas period. The government has called it a “crisis” and a a “major incident.”
Leading many, many people to point out that it’s nothing compared to the numbers attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
spot on (from latest private eye): 221 Migrants who tried to enter UK by boat, which government deems a "major incident"; 116,294 Migrants who tried to enter Spain, Greece, Italy and Cyprus by boat last year; 1,015,078 Migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean in 2015…"
— Republic Southwark (@bridgewithout) January 9, 2019
Indeed as Twitter scoffed at the British overreaction – war ships anyone? – a slightly more major incident was playing out in the waters of Malta.
As a refugee rescue boat was stranded off the coast with nowhere to go for almost 20 days.
“A metaphor for what Europe has become.” My piece from aboard @seawatch_intl, the refugee rescue boat stranded off the coast of Malta with nowhere to go. With photographs by @SergeyPonomarev https://t.co/XhHCI8vui4
— Patrick Kingsley (@PatrickKingsley) January 9, 2019
The Seawatch vessel, run by a Germany charity was finally allowed to disembark
the 49 migrants who will be taken in by Germany, France, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and Ireland.
Where are the 49 migrants on Sea Watch and Sea Eye going? To Germany, France, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and Ireland
— Nikolaj Nielsen (@NikolajNielsen) January 9, 2019
Commissioner Avramopoulos commended Malta and the other EU countries involved.
Our efforts to disembark the migrants on boats in Malta have brought results.
All those on board are being disembarked right now.
We commend Malta for allowing this disembarkation and EU countries that showed active solidarity in accepting them. @Avramopoulos on #migrationEU pic.twitter.com/O4ZuRK5zqE
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) January 9, 2019
But Udo Bullmann said it remains a shame that it took EU governments more than two weeks to find a solution for people in dire need.
Finally! We are glad that the passengers onboard the ships of #SeaWatch and #SeaEye can now disembark in Malta. It remains a shame that it took EU governments more than two weeks to find a solution for 49 people in dire need. This has to be the last drama of this kind. https://t.co/k1BSWlOSEQ
— Udo Bullmann (@UdoBullmann) January 9, 2019
Finally it looks as though another diplomatic storm is brewing as the Trump administration downgraded EU mission to US.
And then forgot to tell anyone!
— Ralf Grahn (@RalfGrahn) January 9, 2019
It only became evident when the EU ambassador was called up last at Former President George Bush’s funeral instead of the usual order of length of service.
Alice Stollmeyer said it was further proof of Trump preferring autocracies over democracies. And another gift to Putin.
Further proof of Trump preferring autocracies over democracies.
And another gift to Putin.
— Alice Stollmeyer (@StollmeyerEU) January 8, 2019
Samantha Power added that instead of doing actual diplomacy, Trump officials seem to sit around brainstorming about how they can further insult friends and damage alliances.
Instead of doing actual diplomacy, Trump officials seem to sit around brainstorming abt how they can further insult our friends & damage our alliances. Constant insults (along w/ climate/Iran withdrawals) will haunt us when we need our friends to step up. https://t.co/9BKDrBFm8E
— Samantha Power (@SamanthaJPower) January 8, 2019
Brexit, refugees and Trumplomacy – new year, same sh*t.
This week we are supported by Medicines for Europe, find out how they think Europe can avoid delocalisation of medicine production with a comprehensive SPC waiver.
Europe can avoid delocalisation of #medicine production with a comprehensive & immediately applicable #SPCwaiver, all without changing current IP rules! Patients would benefit, as competitive markets (after SPC expiry) will mean more affordable medicines! #health4all #competition pic.twitter.com/6FZzynO9m6
— Medicines for Europe (@medicinesforEU) January 8, 2019
That’s it for this week, remember to subscribe so you don’t miss us every Friday.