tv Politics Europe BBC News October 8, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm BST
has had very unfortunate boris who has had very unfortunate effects as the foreign secretary overseas, she has taken away david davis's principal civil servant to put him in number 10 because she wa nts to put him in number 10 because she wants to do it herself, and liam fox, frankly, is obscure. it has been a disaster, putting the brexiteers in charge. but the fact of the matter is that the security the europeans now see in the domestic situation here makes it hardly worth their time to take the negotiations seriously. what does theresa may do by taking control of it herself? the split will not go away, the party will not unite, the country will not unite, it simply puts her further and deeper country will not unite, it simply puts herfurther and deeper into country will not unite, it simply puts her further and deeper into the difficulties. returning to my question, do you think she sack borisjohnson? question, do you think she sack boris johnson? i think she should have a reshuffle, but a reshuffle tends to create more enemies than it creates friends. people who get promoted quite pleased. but the
people who are sacked are very displeased and a significant number of people who think they should have been promoted and were not, they are also displeased. reshuffle is not the panacea that it is easily thought to be. keeping close, not foreign secretary, if i am to interpret your words correctly?” think it would be... look, if you put borisjohnson think it would be... look, if you put boris johnson on think it would be... look, if you put borisjohnson on the back benches, he would be all of the country, the media, take to the hustings, he would pursue his own brexit view of policy which would be extremely divisive because he is broadly now arguing for a hard brexit. the only way that you can avoid leaving him as foreign secretary with all of the problems that has created which is to give him ajob that has created which is to give him a job which is essentially domestic. you give anyjob to boris and he will still be boris. briefly,
those backing theresa may at the moment, do you think that is in some pa rt moment, do you think that is in some part born out of pragmatism, realising the difficulties and distractions of a leadership contest at this time would be detrimental to brexit negotiations? i think that there is an element of personal sympathy for the personal tragedy of the party conference, we all agonised. i think amber rudd was remarkable with the speed in which she spotted what needed to be done to help the prime minister. i think the fundamental reason why there is support for the prime minister is they can't make up their minds, either about the issues or about the personality they would like to put in her place. that is the argument for the reshuffle, because it could broaden the choice. lord heseltine. .. broaden the choice. lord heseltine... thank broaden the choice. lord heseltine. .. thank you,
broaden the choice. lord heseltine... thank you, sorry to interrupt, but thank you for your time this afternoon. lord heseltine there. now on bbc news it is time for politics europe. hello and welcome to politics europe — your regular guide to the top stories in brussels and strasbourg. amazon is the latest us technology giant to be caught in an eu crackdown over its tax affairs. the company says it doesn't owe any back taxes. meps have voted to urge the eu not to open the next phase of brexit talks
unless there is a major breakthrough. but are they treating the uk like a hostage? the crisis in catalonia following its independence referendum could spark civil war in the middle of europe according to one eu commissioner. we'll have the latest. so all that to come in the next half an hour. i'm joined for it all by kate andrews from the institute of economic affairs and george parker from the financial times. welcome to you both. first today, here's our round—up of some of this week's big political stories from europe in 60 seconds. perhaps they're a little frustrated, unable to play much of a formal role in brexit negotiations, meps are nevertheless having their say. 0ne merkel ally, mep manfred weber, even called on the pm to sack boris.
the european parliament has been criticised for being out of touch, so will the president antonio tajani's idea to attract more high—profile speakers add a little stardust? ryanair came in for criticism during a debate over its recent cancellations, with some meps demanding sanctions against the continent's biggest airline. hundreds of spanish troops have been sent to catalonia ahead of a suspected declaration of independence on monday. nearly 900 people have been injured in violence following the referendum. and amazon is the latest tech giant to face a fine from brussels over its tax affairs. it's been ordered to pay 250 million euros to luxembourg. the company says it's acted in full accordance with the law. well, let's start by discussing that fine for amazon. the latest example of the european commission flexing its muscles against an american
technology giant. and, george, they're flexing their muscles but not necessarily in the interest of some of the countries involved? that's arguable i suppose. they've been ordered to pay back this money to luxembourg, but in the end, the european commission is doing a good job. the european citizens expect these multinational companies to be paying their fair share of taxes and we've seen the european commission go after microsoft, after google, after amazon and in a way it reinforces the sense that the european union does have that economic muscle to take on those big american companies. it's got the world's richest market, 500 million people, and the competition department of the european commission is the one area where they really do wield some power. and is this a sign that national governments don't have the same sort of muscle? i think there is something to be noted across—the— board with these cases, but it's not that the european commission is necessarily in the right, it's that our system of taxing corporates, especially multinationals, doesn't work any more, it's not fit for purpose in 2017. you need something like
the european commission to come in and say luxembourg got it wrong, ireland last year apparently got it wrong. but that doesn't seem to be a very effective way of taxing big corporate. it's unfair that the amazons and the googles of the world are able to not avoid... sorry, not evade but avoid tax in circumcise instances when the small business, the little guy, isn't able to get away with what they get away with. so we need to be able to rethink corporation tax overall, where are we taxing people, where is the value actually being created, so we don't need the european commission to come in and make rulings on luxembourg and ireland which i personally think is an overstep. 0k, well, thank you both. meps meeting in strasbourg this week voted to urge the eu not to open the next phase of brexit talks, unless there is what they described as a "major breakthrough". the vote wasn't binding and the european parliament doesn't have a formal role in the negotiations until the very end when it will get to approve any final deal agreed between the uk and brussels. let's have a listen. the prime minister's speech in florence was conciliatory, but speeches are not negotiation
positions and, as michel barnier, the commission's excellent chief negotiator said last week, work still remains to be done. we have not yet made the sufficient progress needed. you've treated us as if we're some kind of hostage. that unless we pay a ransom, unless we meet all of your demands, all of your demands, then you won't even have an intelligent conversation with us about trade heading on from here. well, we're joined now by the labour mep mary honeyball. she voted with the majority of the parliament to delay trade talks, and by ukip's patrick 0 flynn, who voted to against the motion along with the rest of ukip and the conservatives. some conservatives. some conservatives, most of them, bart two, well, we'll come to that. mary, i want to start with you. it's in the national interest of the uk to push onto trade talks, so why were you voting against the national interest?
this isn't quite an accurate representation of it. it was a long resolution with many clauses in it and what it said was that unless, right at the end, there would be a significant breakthrough there would be a call to postpone the talks. in fact, we, as the labour meps, all of us abstained on that particular part of the resolution because we didn't agree with it. we do think that these talks need to get a move on. it's not solely the uk's fault that it's been as slow as it has. but we do want to see progress. we did vote for the whole resolution, that's true, because we didn't want to lose the rest of what's in it. and what were the particular bits of the resolution that you were so keen to vote for? we want to see the talks continue. that's the whole point about this. we are very concerned there's been a distinct lack of progress. that is largely down to the uk side.
there have been the three things that the uk signed up to, the eu asked for and the uk totally agreed that would be resolved first, which was citizens' rights, the irish border and what we call the divorce settlement. now, there has clearly not been sufficient progress on that and the uk agreed that that would all be resolved first before we could move onto trade talks. that's the problem. 0k. patrick, particularly on the financial settlement and on eu citizens' rights, why can't the uk do more to make progress? i think the uk has been doing its best to make progress. this was a resolution that in effect was a thumbscrew resolution, i congratulate mary for making a good fist of a very thin case but this was remorsely hostile to british interests, this resolution, which is why all of the ukip meps there voted against it and we were shocked to find two conservatives having voted for it. now, some of their own party and some labour leavers
are using words like traitors, and i certainly wouldn't do that because people judge their own patriotism their own way. why are you raising it then? because it's been all over twitter, particularly from the tories' side, very senior tory commentators and mps in fact condemning their own side. but ijust cannot get my head round why you would vote against talks moving on to trade, the second phase of talks, against the uk interests, unless you actually want such a rotten deal to emerge that you're thinking second referendum. there are the three reasons, the three things i mentioned before, there's two very good reasons within that. first of all is the irish border, and we need to have some resolution about that. the irish themselves are very, very concerned. but in order to have a resolution on the irish border, don't you need to be able to discuss some of the trade issues? not necessarily. we need to feel, and the irish also need to be very secure in the fact that their border is going to stay open, that they can continue as they have been since the good friday agreement, and there's over1 million crossings
of that border every year, so it's a massive, massive issue, and we need to get some progress on that. the other thing of course is citizens' rights, and i would agree there has been a little bit of movement on citizens' rights, but clearly not enough. i'm an mep for london and i've had representations from many other european citizens who live here in the capital who are absolutely worried, really worried about what's going to happen. we need to sort this out. you're an mep for london, you're representing an area that voted to remain, some might say it's a wrecking tactic. no, it's not a wrecking tactic. these citizens are real people, they're real people who are very concerned about their future. it is myjob to look after my constituents, and it's absolutely in no way a wrecking tactic. patrick, i'm going to bring in our guest of the day, but the impression the leave campaign, you guys gave us, was that these negotiations were going to be easy. you said they would be straightforward.
i think we should be able to resolve a free trade arrangement in a relatively straightforward way, because all the regulations that apply within the eu are going to be transported into uk law. it's a matter of will, but there's also a matter of leverage and ultimately in this deal, nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed and we need to get onto the trade deal before surrendering all the areas where are we perhaps have greater leverage. george, let me bring you in on this, it's not in our hands when we get onto the trade talks, is it? no, it's not. i'm probably going to find myself for the first time ever agreeing with patrick on a european issue. the progress of the talks, it seems progress has been made on citizens' rights. 0n the irish question, it's hard to see how you can settle the irish question until you start talking about the customs union arrangements, which are part of the final agreement. and on the money side of things, theresa may in the florence speech put 20 billion euros on the table, which is a down payment, but in the end we can't possibly hand over all of our money, 20 billion euros isjust the start
at this stage of the negotiation because our final leverage for getting a good trade deal. it seems to me michel barnier does need to show some flexibility and the european union do need to show some flexibility to move onto the next stage. can i just say on that, when theresa may one made that speech in florence, there were some very conciliatory remarks made by barnier and also byjuncker. what has happened since has unfortunately for the whole brexit negotiations, we've had the conservative party conference, which has really set that back and the europeans... why has it set it back? because the europeans are losing confidence in this government. is that because of borisjohnson? partly because of borisjohnson. what is the response in the parliament? i will tell you actually what happened in the debate on this resolution. the leader of the european people's party, the centre—right party, they're the main mainstream centre—right party in the european parliament. max weber said if he wanted to call somebody in the uk about brexit, he wouldn't know who to ring up,
would it be theresa may, would it be borisjohnson, would it be david davis? and it is extraordinary, patrick, that we have a situation in which the foreign secretary has basically dominated three orfour weeks of coverage with his own brexit vision. no, i don't agree with that at all. i think for the foreign secretary to have a role in brexit negotiations, surely that's part of the job description. without the permission of downing street? well, look, actually you could argue philip hammond was the one who broke the florence accord by immediately talking about this two—year non—implementation period running longer than that and he wants three or four years. boris then chips up and says, no, not a second more than two years. in ukip we think article 50 is the transition period and there's no need for any further delay beyond that. kate, do you think basically the cabinet hasn't made its mind up and we are seeing this infighting that perhaps won't do us any favours on the continent? it certainly won't be doing any favours from a pr perspective but i think mary is definitely right that not enough progress has been made and that was made very obvious
by theresa may announcing the two—year transition agreement. but when you have a vote in brussels that overwhelmingly says we want to stop these trade negotiations and these discussions from happening until a big breakthrough, you're only pushing people in the uk, 70% of which now believe that we should continue on with brexit negotiations, to feel a further deep frustration and i don't think that's actually how we're going to get to that deal in the end. i think we need a little bit of a correction about this. it wasn't that they wouldn't go on unless there was a major breakthrough, it was just that they would be postponed until there was an assessment. there wasn't anything in that resolution that said they would be stopped until there was a major breakthrough. the overwhelming majority in the uk now wants to move this forward, and i think that has to be acknowledged by brussels. we have our own little breakthrough here when we have the ft agreeing with ukip. thank you to you all. now, let's turn to the big story that's been dominating the agenda in europe this week and that is the escalating crisis in catalonia. violence broke out during a massive police operation to halt
and independence referendum on sunday, which the spanish government deemed illegal. it's been a tricky issue for some european politicians torn between supporting the government in madrid and wishing to condemn the violence. here's adam fleming with the details. silent for their photo op, but these meps have been vocal about parliament holding a debate on catalonia, a debate that saw the commission explaining why it wasn't getting involved. under the spanish constitution, sunday's vote in catalonia was not legal. looking ahead, it is clear that an agreed way forward is needed in spain. for the european commission, as presidentjuncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matterfor spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of spain. the division in there in the hemicycle is between the centre—left, the centre—right
and the liberals who are broadly supportive of the commission and the far left and the greens, who are much more critical of the spanish government. for the moment everybody is focusing on the separatists, but who is taking the perspective of the rest of the country into account? spaniards from catalonia, aragon, castellon are living together in one country over centuries peacefully, and now an irresponsible government in catalonia is splitting the country. it's wrong, i believe that the commission shies away. it's the duty, as the guardian of the treaty, to get involved in helping solve this problem, to offer mediation, to offer its help. and more eurosceptic parties aren't happy either. all are equal but some are more equal than others. applause everything depends
on who is involved. let us be honest, ladies and gentlemen, if it was another member state, not spain, the consequences and the rhetoric from the commission would have been far harsher. applause it ended with no vote and for some meps, not nearly enough debate. afterwards, we spotted the delegation from the spanish government. they left feeling like the eu has their back. it was clearly said by the european commission what we expected because it's in the treaties. things like the rule of law, democracy, that everyone has to respect the rule of law. things that are obvious for almost everyone in europe. campaigners for catalan independence gave red roses to their supporters, like this swedish mep.
flowering of democracy or thorny problem? that was adam fleming reporting from strasbourg. we're joined from brussels by the spanish mep antonio lopez—isturiz. he's the secretary general of the european people's party in the european parliament and represents spain's ruling party. thank you forjoining us. now, we have a situation in which the eu budget commissioner has talked about a civil war planned in the centre of europe, calling the situation very, very disturbing. how can the eu notjustify intervening in some meaningful way? how can the eu accept that democracy is beaten in the streets, that is beating against the democracy, the rule of law and the constitution, which is our continental legal system. we cannot allow this. this could be a very bad example
for the rest of european countries which have also some of these problems. let me tell you that spain is a democracy since a0 years ago. i was born and raised in this democracy. i want this to succeed, that there is a common understanding between all the different regions in spain. we have a very particular system where the basques, the catalans, the galicians, many others, we are living in spain. it is difficult to manage. we always have our aspirations, but what we will not allow is for political reasons the law, which is uniting us in spain and in europe, is broken without any justification. this is what we are speaking about today. but illegal or not, destroying ballot boxes, arresting officials, suspending parliament, that doesn't sound much like a democracy to us. yes. democracy, as far as i remember,
maybe someone can tell me something different, democracy speaks in elections. there have been 35 elections in catalonia since franco died in the spanish democracy. the catalan people have always spoken in these elections. they were the first ones to adopt the spanish constitution with absolute majority, all of the catalans. and during 35 elections, they have expressed their voice in favour favour of no of this independence deal. it is known now by everybody that the actual president of catalonia was not elected. the former president, artur mas, had to resign because of a scandal of corruption and nominated — nominated mr puigdemont. so he's not back by the vote of the catalan people, not even the majority in the catalan parliament. so, all these actions have been done
illegally against the willing of the majority of the catalans. if you're so confident that it is against the will of the majority of the catalans, why don't you allow a vote to go ahead that could be a legal vote? and what are you going to do if the president of the region declares independence? the government of spain and the spanish people and the european people and, as far as i know, also in the united kingdom, we are in favour of elections, legal elections. like the referendum in scotland, which was legally done in an agreement between the united kingdom government and scotland. we don't have the same in spain, we can discuss that. there are many ways inside the european constitution, inside the spanish legal system, it's very open for that. even for the reform of the constitution. but can we do it through legal
and constitutional lines? is it so difficult to do it like this? the catalan people and the basques and many other regions in spain, they have flourished during all these years in the spanish democracy. the culture has been recognised, the language. i myself speak catalan, i learnt it freely, no one imposed me anything, neither castellon, spanish or catalan. can we aspire to have this democratically legal way of doing things? i believe yes. of course, we will not accept other ways like no one in any government in europe will accept this. 0k, thank you very much for watching us. i'm so sorry there was a bit of a delay on the line. now, the fifth round of brexit negotiations are due to start in brussels on monday. it's the final discussion ahead of next week's summit of eu leaders. so, both, what do you think needs to happen? i think the british government needs to put a bit more detail on what theresa may was setting out in her florence speech.
there are three parts to the first stage of these negotiations, there's ireland, which, as i mentioned earlier, i think they've got about as far as they can go on that without getting to the question of the customs union. citizens' rights, i think they've made quite a lot of progress and they're almost there, and the money. what i'm told is that the british government isn't going to be making any additional offer on money in these talks next week, which means i suspect inevitably at this crucial summit in brussels on october the 19th and 20th there won't be more progress. but i think they need to at least nail down the citizens' rights thing to allow at least the glimmer of a possibility that we can make some progress in october. and do you agree, kate? do you think there's any hope that we're going to begin into trade talks by the end of the year? i certainly think it's possible. it's very much in the eu's and the uk's interest to broker a deal. a no deal scenario is not necessarily the end of the world but it's not good, and it would be very painful for people in the uk and the eu to experience that. so representatives, regardless of the political fight, must, at the end of the day, know that they want to secure that
for the safety and security of their own citizens. you say no deal wouldn't be good, but for a lot of people it feels as though we're heading in that direction. for example, george, the brexiters on theresa may's back benches, all the talk is that's where they quite like to end up. we had the german chamber of commerce, or the equivalent, saying this week there would be a very hard brexit and german companies in britain should be prepared for that. there are some people on the eurosceptic side of the argument who think a clean break with the eu is the way forward. we trade with the rest of the world on wto, we expose british industry to the chill winds of competition. it's just the jolt the british economy needs. but if you speak to most of our readers, the ft‘s readers, they would say quite the opposite, that we actually need to make this a managed process, we need to maintain good trading relations with the european union, otherwise the economy could take a very big hitjust at a moment when it's quite weak. they might be on team philip hammond. but we do have this other thing going on at the moment, theresa may's embarrassing speech in manchester has made headlines across the continent. how do you think that
might affect the talks? hopefully not too much. again, like i said at the beginning of the programme, a cough should not undermine what is otherwise a fairly strong leader. her inability to secure that mandate in june is really i think the problem that she is continuing to face. what makes her a fairly strong leader in the eyes of the europeans do you think? the fact i think she's a commanding presence, i think she has a strong record of getting things done, whether i agree with them or not is another question, in parliament. but the real crux is the fact she isn't going with a mandate from the british people. that's always been the problem. it's not some cough. and if i can come back very quickly, it's also very important to remember that moving to wto does not actually necessarily mean no deal within europe. there could be some scenario which we have a fairly hard brexit but negotiations have still taken place. the really big problem would be if everyone picks up, leaves from the table and nothing is decided. that's the crucial point. do you think we need a big, theatrical moment? david davis walks of crying, barnier feels he's pushed him far enough. the idea of david davis walking of crying seems a bit implausible. i think you're right, there are people on both sides
who think there needs to be a moment of crisis in these talks to finally get everyone around the table. i think probably that moment of crisis will come before the end of the year because december, the final european council at the end of the year, we've got to start making progress by that point — otherwise the idea of a transition deal loses its value, companies will start making alternative plans. are they ready to do that now? some banks in the city of london are already making plans to move legal headquarters to other parts of the world, or other parts of europe rather. so that is starting to happen. but i think the central hope of the city and business is basically to get this deal done. thank you both very much. that is all for now. thanks to all our guests and particularly to my guests of the day. bye— bye. cloudier skies on the way through and into tomorrow. some sunshine,
some clear spells. overnight, and into tomorrow. some sunshine, some clearspells. overnight, cloud pushing east across the uk. still some clear spells, especially in southern and south—east england, maybe a few fog patches. elsewhere, the cloud big enough for occasional light rain or drizzle, heavier births is in north—west scotland. temperatures holding the most to double figures. much less sunshine on the weight might, just a few brighter breaks, particularly to the east of high ground. better in scotla nd east of high ground. better in scotland compared with today and some spells of sunshine in northern ireland before cloud increases again. elsewhere there could be some light rain or drizzle, and those temperatures around 14—17. more active weather on the way as they go through this week with low pressure close by. the winds pick up again. spells of rain, heaviest in the hills of northwestern. warmer for some others by the end of the week, especially south east england. this is bbc news.
the headlines at 3... theresa may says she's resilient and won't hide from a challenge, amid tory infighting. the former deputy prime minister, lord heseltine, says there's growing pressure on her leadership. what does theresa may do by taking control of it herself? the split won't go away, the party won't unite. the country won't unite. it simply puts her further and deeper into difficulties. as the snp's annual conference gets under way in glasgow, nicola sturgeon says she will commit to exploring all options to secure eu citizens' status in scotland. tens of thousands of people show their support for the spanish government, with demonstrations against independence for catalonia. after leaving a trail of devastation across central america, hurricane nate moves inland in the south east of the united states.
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