Tag Archives: Brexit referendum and its consequences

UPDATE 1-German investor morale fell in April on lockdown fears, said ZEW | Instant News


(Adding analyst, context)

BERLIN, April 13 (Reuters) – Investor sentiment in Germany fell unexpectedly in April, the ZEW economic research institute said on Tuesday, citing growing concerns that private consumption could be depressed as Europe’s biggest economy got closer to extending lockdown measures.

ZEW said the investor’s economic sentiment survey fell to 70.7 points, the first drop since November 2020, from 76.6 the previous month. A Reuters poll forecasted the increase to be 79.0.

“Financial market experts are somewhat less euphoric than the previous month,” said ZEW President Achim Wambach in a statement. “The ZEW economic sentiment indicator, however, is still at a very high level and the current situation is considered much more positive than in March.”

Germany tightened lockdown measures in December to fight a third wave of coronavirus infections and the economy is expected to shrink in the first three months of this year.

Hopes for a return to growth in the second quarter have been tempered by expectations that restrictive measures will be extended beyond mid-April to stop an exponential rise in infections.

“The ZEW indicator is preparing us for another delay of the anticipated economic recovery,” said Thomas Gitzel, chief economist at VP Bank Group. “The limitation on gross domestic product growth in the second quarter is too high. The ZEW headline tells us that the bar must be lowered. “

Economists earlier this year predicted German growth of 3% based on expectations of a slow return to normal economic activity.

The ZEW gauge for current conditions rose to -48.8 points from -61.0 the previous month, confirming an assessment that the German economy remains in relatively good shape as increasing demand for goods from China and the United States keeps factories humming.

“Concerns about a tighter lockdown have led to lower expectations for private consumption,” said Wambach. However, the export prospects are better than the previous month. (Written by Joseph Nasr; editing by Maria Sheahan, Larry King)

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Pfizer said it was in the delivery of UK COVID vaccine supplies | Instant News


FILE PHOTO: A bottle labeled “COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and a syringe seen in front of the Pfizer logo in this illustration taken on February 9, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / Photo File

LONDON (Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that it is on track to meet its target of delivering COVID-19 injections in the UK in line with an agreed monthly schedule, after Britain warned of a significant reduction in the supply of available vaccines.

“We can confirm that Q1 deliveries remain on track and continue to expand in line with the monthly schedule,” said a Pfizer spokesman. The UK launches the Pfizer vaccine together with those made by AstraZeneca.

“We will work closely with the Government to ensure this keeps happening; Our overall supply projections for Q2 remain unchanged and we will continue to deliver a stable supply of vaccine to the UK, April through June, in line with our contractual commitments, “said a Pfizer spokesman.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, written by Michael Holden; Edited by Leslie Adler

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The UK’s post-Brexit global ambitions begin with investing in the country, the PM said | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s push to rediscover its role on the world stage after Brexit must begin by strengthening unity between its home countries, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, promising to spread investment across the country.

The government on Tuesday will publish a long-awaited review of foreign policy, defense, security and aid spending, which it describes as Britain’s most comprehensive assessment of its ambition and place in the world order since the end of the Cold War.

This is expected to make the case for the leaning of Indo-Pacific countries, where Britain sees trade opportunities for its services-based economy, and will be scrutinized for clues as to how ministers plan to approach relations with China and Russia.

Ahead of the report, Johnson said the first step was to ensure Britain had a strong economy and strong unity between the constituent countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Our international ambitions must start at home,” he said in a statement.

“Through Integrated Review, we will encourage reinvestment in our community, ensure the UK is on the cutting edge of innovation and create an entire country suitable for a more competitive world.”

Discontent over Brexit has jeopardized Great Britain’s stability, fueling increased support for independence in Scotland and a new threat to peace in Northern Ireland.

Without giving specifics, Johnson’s office said the review would include a further commitment to strengthening the UK’s core industry base and creating jobs across the country.

The government announced it would move part of its operations to Scotland.

The study will prioritize “the creation of an open international order in which free trade thrives,” the government said.

Since parting ways with the European Union, its closest neighbor and trading partner, Britain has pledged to revive an international system plagued by years of escalating trade wars and the coronavirus crisis.

But there are still question marks whether that can turn this into a lasting change in the face of increasingly fragile ties with the world’s second largest economy, China, and an unproven relationship with new US President Joe Biden.

Reporting by William James; Edited by Edmund Blair

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EU Sefcovic briefs US lawmakers on the riddle of Northern Ireland’s Brexit | Instant News


DUBLIN (Reuters) – European Union Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney briefed the influential Irish-American caucus at the US Congress on Wednesday on Britain’s unilateral shift to Northern Ireland’s Brexit arrangements.

The fate of Northern Ireland, which is closely watched by US President Joe Biden, has become the most hotly contested Brexit issue.

While campaigning in last year’s presidential election, Biden bluntly warned Britain that it must respect Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement because it withdraws from the EU or there won’t be a separate US trade deal.

London finally agreed to a protocol that aligns the UK-administered territory with the single EU market for goods when it exits the bloc’s orbit. This requires an inspection of some items arriving there from elsewhere in Great Britain.

The extension of Britain’s unilateral grace period at last week’s hearings has resulted in pledges of legal action from the EU and accusations from Ireland that its neighbor is not acting like a “respectable nation”.

The caucus meeting considered “Britain’s unilateral steps in implementing the Protocol” and discussed Northern Ireland’s “unique opportunities” due to its full access to EU and UK markets, Coveney said in a statement.

“The EU and the US have been firm partners in the peace process,” said Coveney. “I want to thank the members of the Caucus for their engagement today and their continued support for the Good Friday Agreement.”

The agreement largely ended three decades of violence between mostly Catholic nationalists fighting for a united Ireland and mostly Protestant union members, or loyalists, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain part of Britain.

Coveney has sought support from US lawmakers during the Brexit process and Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin will speak with President Biden next week in lieu of the St Patrick’s Day bilateral meeting at the White House.

The Friends of Ireland caucus, a bipartisan group on Capitol Hill that is considering a Brexit debate on Ireland’s behalf before Northern Ireland’s protocol is agreed in 2019, is seeking direction from Sefcovic and Coveney, the European Commission said.

The group is chaired by Democrat Richard Neal, who is also chair of the Congressional committee overseeing trade.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Conor Humphries in Dublin and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Edited by Nick Macfie and Toby Chopra

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Ireland says Britain doesn’t behave like a ‘respectable country’ | Instant News


DUBLIN (Reuters) – Britain’s decision to make unilateral changes to Northern Ireland’s Brexit arrangement is “not the proper behavior of a respectable country” and will erode confidence with the European Union, the senior Irish minister said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney at a press conference in Berlin, Germany, 11 December 2020. REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch / Pool / File Photo

The European Union pledged legal action on Wednesday after the British government unilaterally extended a grace period for inspecting food imports to Northern Ireland, a move Brussels said violated the terms of the UK divorce deal.

“For the second time in months, the British government is threatening to violate international law,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told Virgin Media television, referring to a similar one-sided move last year that London ultimately canceled.

To be honest, this was not the proper behavior of a respectable country.

The fate of Northern Ireland was the most hotly contested issue during Britain’s Brexit negotiations, with London ultimately agreeing to leave UK-ruled territory aligned with the EU’s single market for goods, requiring checks on some of the goods arriving there from elsewhere in Great Britain.

That has created difficulties for businesses that say they are having trouble bringing in supplies, and more checks will be put in place when the grace period ends on March 31. Many business groups welcomed the move on Wednesday.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney warned that it was not the first time that the EU had seen Britain as an “untrustworthy” negotiating partner.

He said it also undermined Ireland’s efforts to convince Brussels of the need to make some changes to Northern Ireland protocol and targeted the new British minister overseeing EU relations, David Frost.

“Before Lord Frost spoke in detail with (EU Commission Vice President) Maros Sefcovic in his new role, this was announced. To say it is rude, would be an understatement, “Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.

“Vice President Sefcovic has shown a real willingness to try to resolve the issue of protocol and to make cases in the European Commission, Parliament and Council of Europe and make progress on that. To him being tampered with in this way by the British government was very unhelpful. “

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Edited by Alex Richardson and Giles Elgood

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