Video commentary on Gibraltar, the Brexit transition deal, the Putin election with Juncker congratulating him, UK territorial waters and fishing as well as fintech and Canary Wharf.
Spain is holding back the Brexit transition deal in an attempt to get UK concessions over the future of Gibraltar.
The Spanish are reported to be withholding support for the transition deal agreement that was thrashed out on Monday, because it does not give Madrid a clear veto to prevent Gibraltar being included in the deal unless the UK comes to a bi-lateral agreement with Spain over the future of the rock.
David Davis said on Monday in reply to a Spanish journalist that as far as he was concerned Gibraltar was included in the agreed legal text lacking the veto, which has put Spain into a tailspin.
But, at the end of the day, as far as I can see, any such veto would be illegal so unenforceable under EU law. The Spanish state may have won in Catalonia, but the Rock of Gibraltar is another matter and Madrid may be about to find out the hard truth of how far up the pecking order there claim over Gibraltar really comes in the minds of the EU as a whole and how little clout they have in trying to impose a veto.
Politicians in the Republic of Ireland will be watching closely, as they also believe they have a veto over the talks where the Irish border question is concerned.
Now, the eighth and last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is often quoted as saying:
“The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”
So it should come as no surprise then, that the EU Commission president – Jean -Claude Juncker, arguably the most powerful person in the EU, sent out a Tweet congratulating Vladimir Putin for his success in his country's presidential election on Sunday.
"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." He Tweeted.
Given the recent events in Salisbury this is a crass thing to do and more proof that the UK made the right decision to vote to leave the bloc. What's happened to the EU's 'unqualified solidarity' with the UK over the Skripal poisoning? Well, it did last a whole day I suppose!
Now to territorial waters. Protestors have thrown dead fish into the Thames right outside the Houses of Parliament to show their disapproval of the government's UK territorial waters Brexit transition plans.
They are unhappy that the UK will not immediately be taking back full control of its fishing grounds on Brexit day, but will have to wait for nearly two years.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who was on the trawler, told Sky News:
"They told us they would take back control in 2019 – that is not happening. We are now told at the start of 2021 it may happen."
"I don't think this government has got the guts or the strength to stand up and take back our territorial waters."
Michael Gove, who is also unhappy about this development, did say that despite this people should not forget that the ultimate goal of regaining control was just being delayed.
But he also had a warning for the EU.
"The Environment Secretary threatened Brussels bureaucrats with “consequences” if they allow EU trawlers to overfish UK waters during the transition deal after he was confronted by furious Tory MPs in the House of Commons." Reports the Telegraph.
As far as the EU and many of those people outside the UK who currently enjoy access to our fishing waters, will no doubt see this as a sort of closing down sale and take what they can while they can. The EU may well use it as a punishment and everyone will then see the truth of EU support for environmental issues! Unless the UK takes back immediate control and puts in place a monitoring system, we will get to the end of 2020 and find an empty barren sea.
Now onto London. The US fintech focussed company Motive Partners, has chosen Canary Wharf in London as the home for its new 14,000 square foot European hub reports CityAM.
It will be a physical home for the fintech teams of firms such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Mastercard and Allied Irish Bank says CityAM and reports Rob Herbert from Motive as saying:
“You can’t claim to be an important investment management or private equity player in financial technology if you’re not at the epicentre, which is London.”
And co-founding member Alberto Corvo said:
"We wanted to have a space where we could bring in banks, startups, guys and girls with ideas, technology specialists in the industry, and we felt that Canary Wharf – given what it represents for the banking world – was the right way to go about it."
The report from CityAM is well worth looking at to see what London will continue to offer the world post-Brexit.
Finally, for those that missed it, I managed to get a few minutes with the UKIP interim leader, Gerard Batten, last night. I’ve put a link to the YouTube video below and in the card link at the top of this video.
The main message from Gerard is that UKIP is in the black, UKIP has a plan and UKIP is back.