tv Politics Europe BBC News October 8, 2017 5:30am-6:01am BST
of the un has urged the international community to give speaking to the bbc, antonio guterres said the level of devastation was such that everybody had a moral obligation to help the victims. he has asked the international community for a greater commitment to affected regions. hurricane nate has made landfall in louisiana bringing torrential rain and strong winds to states on the gulf coast. evacuation orders have been issued for some low—lying areas and five ports have closed to shipping as a precaution. the national hurricane centre says nate is set to weaken significantly. the spanish prime minister, has insisted that any declaration of independence by the catalonia region will have no effect. he was speaking after a day of rallies around the country in favour of national unity. thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in the capital, madrid, and the catalan city of barcelona.
now 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 parkerfrom 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 on meps are nevertheless having their say. one 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 theirfair 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 corporate, 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 circumstances 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, 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. 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 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 room or slit sleeve 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 urge that you're thinking second referendum. there are the three reasons, the three things i mentioned before, those 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 overi 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, is 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 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, asjust 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, the 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 or four weeks of coverage with his own brexit vision. 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 of the uk now wants to move this forward, and i think that has to be acknowledged by brussels. this is happening, it‘s moving forward, let‘s make the best of it. 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.
it has been a tricky issue for some politicians, torn between supporting the government in madrid and supporting the violence. 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 matter for spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order in spain. the division in there in the hemicycle is between with 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 talking, who is taking the perspective of the rest of the country unto account? of the country into account? spaniards from catalonia, aragon, castalla, they 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 and help solving 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. and... 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. 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. i mean, 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‘rejoined now from brussels by the spanish mep antonio lopez, he is the secretary general of the european people‘s party in the european parliament. and represents spain‘s ruling party. a queue forjoining us. have a situation in which the eu budget commissioner is talking about the civil war planned in the centre of europe, calling the situation very disturbing. how can the eu not justify intervening in some meaningful way? how can the eu except the democracy is beaten in the streets? that it is beating against the democracy, the rule of law, and the constitution, which is a continental legal system. we cannot allow this. this could be a very bad example for the rest of the
european countries which have also some of these problems. let me tell that spain is a democracy since a0 yea rs that spain is a democracy since a0 years ago. i was born and raised in this democracy. i want this to succeed but there is a common understanding between all the different regions in spain, we have a very particular system where the catalans, a very particular system where the catala ns, many others a very particular system where the catalans, many others are living together in spain. it is difficult together in spain. it is difficult to manage, we always have our aspirations, but what we would 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 here today. but a legal or not, destroying ballot boxes, arresting officials, suspending, juno, parliament, it doesn‘t sound much like a democracy the office. yes. yes. democracy as
far as the office. yes. yes. democracy as farasi the office. yes. 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 a lwa ys 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 of nora, these independents use. favour of nora, these independents use. it is known now, it is known by everybody that the actual president of catalonia was not all that did. the former president had to resign because of the scandal of corruption and nominated his predecessor. he is not backed by the majority of the cata la n not backed by the majority of the catalan people, not even the majority in the catalan parliament, for all of these actions have been
done legally, against the will of the majority of the catalans.“ you‘re so confident it is against the majority of the catalans‘s wheel, why don‘t you allow a vote to go ahead which could be illegal 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 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. can we not have the same in spain? we can discuss that. there are many ways inside the european constitution, inside the spanish legal system, it‘s reopened. constitution, inside the spanish legalsystem, it‘s reopened. even for the reform of the concert attrition. 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 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, we aspire to have this democratically, legal way of doing things, i believe, yes. and of course we will not accept other ways like the one in any government in europe will accept this. thank you very much forjoining 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 and it‘s the final discussion ahead of next week ‘s summit of eu leaders. so, what do you think needs to happen?” ‘s summit of eu leaders. so, what do you think needs to happen? i think the british government needs to put a bit more detail on what the reason they were setting out in her florence speech. there are three
parts of the first stage of the negotiations, ireland, which as i mentioned earlier they have got as far as they can go on that without getting to the questions of the customs union, citizens rights i think they have made progress on and are almost there, and the money. what i‘m told is the british government will not be making any additional offers on money into talks next week which means i suspect inevitably at this crucial summit on october 19 and 20 will not be more progress but i think they need to at least now down the citizens right thing to allow at least a glimmer of a possibility that we can make some progress in 0ctober. that we can make some progress in october. do you agree? is there any hope to be getting the trade talks by the end of the year?|j hope to be getting the trade talks by the end of the year? i certainly think it is possible, very much in the eu's and the uk's interest to break a deal and they know a grim scenario is not the end of the world but it wouldn't be the best to experience that soap representatives regardless of their political fights must know they want to secure that for the safety and security of their own citizens. and you say no deal
wouldn‘t be good but a lot of people, it feels as though we are heading in that direction. for example the brea kfasters heading in that direction. for example the breakfasters on theresa may‘s backbenchers, all the talk is thatis may‘s backbenchers, all the talk is that is where they would like to end up. the german chamber of commerce of the equivalent this week saying they feared it would be a hard brexit and german companies in britain should be prepared for that. russell people in the eurosceptic side of the argument to think a clea n b rea k side of the argument to think a clean break is the way forward. we trade with the rest of the world in wto, which expose british industry to them, it is just the jolt the economy needs. but if you speak to most of our readers, the ft‘s readers, they would say the opposite and that we need to make this a managed process and maintain good trading relationships otherwise the economy could take a big hit, at the moment when it is weak. and maybe on tea m moment when it is weak. and maybe on team philip hammond. we have this other thing going on, theresa may‘s embarrassing speech in manchester has made headlines across the continent. will that affect the talks? i said at the beginning, it
should not undermine what is otherwise been a fairly strong leader, her inability to secure the mandate in june has leader, her inability to secure the mandate injune has really been the problem and is continuing to face. what makes a strong lead in the eyes of the europeans? she is a commanding presence, she has a strong record of getting things done, whether i agree with it 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 and it has been the problem always, and if they may come back quickly, it is important to remember that within the wto doesn't actually mean no deal within europe. there could be a scenario in which we have a hard brexit but negotiations are taking place. the big problem would be if everyone just picks up, leaves from the table and nothing is decided. that's the crucial point. do you think we need a theatrical moment, david davis walks off crying, michel barnier feels he has pushed him far enough? that seems a bit implausible. some people on both sides think there
needs to be a moment of crisis in the talks that will finally get eve ryo ne the talks that will finally get everyone around the table and nothing probably the moment of crisis will come before the end of the year because december, the final european council at the end of the year, we have to make by then otherwise the transition bill loses its value, companies make alternative plans... are they ready to do that now? some plans are being made by some banks to move to other parts of the world or europe so that is starting to happen but i think the central hope is that the city and business is to basically get the deal done. thank you both very much, thatis deal done. thank you both very much, that is all for now. thanks to all of our guest and particularly to my guest of the day. goodbye. hello. the month of october can offer up a real mishmash of weather types. in fact, you can get a real mix in just one day. that was certainly the case on saturday. the north—east of scotland, clouds parted eventually. not sure they ever did in the south—west.
it wasn‘t just plymouth. a lot of cloud around across the british isles. at least it‘s helping to keep temperatures up. the first part of sunday, not great for most, it has to be said. sunshine across the western side of scotland. more in the way of cloud in the north of ireland. the last of the overnight showers affecting the far north—east of scotland. more cloud running in the irish sea to the north of wales, through merseyside, off to greater manchester. generally speaking, the further south and east you are, the more likely you will have a dry start to the day. as the day goes on, that cloud just beginning to break up. central and eastern parts of scotland, faring nicely. the south—east and east anglia as well. generally more cloud in western areas. but don‘t give up hope of seeing sunshine in sheltered south—estaern parts of wales. with the sunshine, you could get
a boost of temperatures to possibly i6, 17, possibly 18 degrees. through the later part of the afternoon, northern ireland, filling in the cloud again. the same in central scotland. the rain becoming more widespread. perhaps scotland is seeing some of the better weather. slovenia. it could be wet for england as they take on lithuania. back to monday, not a bad day again. the rain i am showing you is not especially intense. ramping up later on in the day. as we see a more active weather system coming in from the atlantic, and gradually through the day on tuesday, it will push this area of cloud and wind and some really quite heavy rain at times ever further towards the south—east. but at least that opens up the opportunity following on behind of some drier and brighter weather. showers in the west of scotland.
feeling a tad cooler as well. at least that is some decent and proper sunshine. another set of fronts moving in through wednesday. that leads us into a breezier midweek period through all parts of the british isles. hello, this is breakfast, with rogerjohnson and tina daheley. hurricane nate hits the us gulf coast. the storm has already killed at least 25 people in central america, and it is expected to bring torrential rain and flooding to at least four states. good morning, it is sunday 8 october. also this morning: sirjohn major becomes the latest senior tory to rally around theresa may, hitting out at what he calls self—absorbed behaviour in the party.