Johnson said he was in favor of Britain leaving the EU with a
negotiated deal in place, but stressed that he didn’t think his
predecessor, Theresa May, had made real alternative proposals to
the backstop in order to ensure this happened.
Merkel said the
backstop was intended only as a transitional rule for the not
finally resolved Ireland issue. So far, it has been assumed that
a final solution will be found in the next two years.
Merkel also emphasized the interest in a "negotiated
withdrawal", but at the same time said that "We are also
prepared if such a negotiated withdrawal does not exist".
"But you might find them in the next 30 days.
"Then we’re a long way ahead," said Merkel, adding that
border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland would
become superfluous and that the integrity of the single market
could be safeguarded if Britain and the EU re-define their
Johnson said Britain and Germany stood shoulder to shoulder
on many international issues, including in NATO and in the fight
against climate change.
Johnson is scheduled to visit Paris on Thursday to talk with
The two meetings are likely to help form consensus ahead of
the G7 summit from Aug. 24 to 26 in Biarritz in southern France.
Sweden economy entering
economic downturn: finance minister
STOCKHOLM Sweden (Xinhua) --
Sweden’s Finance Minister Magdalena
Andersson believes the country is entering an economic downturn,
Swedish news SVT reported on Thursday.
"We have seen that several of the risks we pointed to have
increased during the summer, such as both the trade dispute
between China and the U.S., and a no-deal Brexit," Minister
However, according to Minister Andersson, Sweden is
well-equipped to handle a cyclical slowdown.
"We have created order and control in the state finances and
have made sure to pay off real government debt so that we have
muscles for all eventualities," Minister Andersson told SVT
during a press conference on Thursday, held shortly after a
government gathering at the Swedish Prime Minister’s residence
of Harpsund, south of Stockholm.
"My assessment is that it would be unwise to pursue a sharply
leaner policy in a situation where we see a cyclical slowdown,"
Minister Andersson said.
"We have estimated that in this budget we have a reform space
of about SEK 25 billion." (approximately 2.5 billion U.S.
Politicians who attended Minister Andersson’s update on the
Swedish economy expressed their concern about what the downturn
will mean for social welfare and business prospects.
"The business cycle has deteriorated," said Elisabeth
Svantesson, economic policy spokesperson for the Moderate party.
"Germany’s economy is suffering and the trade war between
China and the United States has escalated.
"And in Sweden we now see that unemployment has risen and
growth has shrunk," Svantesson added.
"Now the Swedish economy is entering a new era and it is
hugely important to prioritize.
"Citizens should know that we are investing in what is
"The police should have resources, defense should be
"Many municipalities also need extra resources."
"Many municipalities, often rural municipalities, are in a
real financial crisis," Oscar Sjostedt, economic policy
spokesperson for the Sweden Democrats’ party, agreed.
"We can expect a budget that is not in line with the needs
"We need a policy of economic equality and investment in
"This government will increase economic inequality," Ulla
Andersson, economic political spokesperson for the Left Party,
(1 U.S. dollar = 9.67 SEK)
Europeans should have
patience for Brexit deal success: Finnish minister
HELSINKI Finland (Xinhua) --
Finnish Minister for European Affairs
Tytti Tuppurainen said on Thursday that Europeans "should have
the patience" for a further delay of Brexit, if London asks for
Tuppurainen also commented on the role of Finland as the
rotating EU presidency.
She said the room for Finland’s maneuver is rather limited.
Earlier this week, Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said
that, as an experienced trade union negotiator, he could think
of something in helping finding solutions on Brexit.
Rinne and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are going to
Tuppurainen underlined on Thursday that Finland totally
respects the mandate of the EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
She said that Finland as the EU Council’s president country
looks for the good cooperation with Johnson.
Tuppurainen appeared in a joint press conference with Amelie
de Montchalin, French Minister for European Affairs.
The French minister said France supports the aims of the
Montchalin said that France does not want a hard Brexit, but
rather an orderly solution.
"But this would be a decision by Westminster and Downing
Street, not a decision in the EU capitals."
British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson joins Paris talks
over Brexit with French President Emmanuel Macron
PARIS France (Xinhua) --
Visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
started talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday
afternoon, with the thorny issue of Irish border plan of the
Brexit deal on the top of agenda.
"We must leave the European Union on October 31, deal or no
deal", Johnson told the press before the talks, adding that he
wants a deal and he was "powerfully encouraged" by talks on
Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Merkel said a negotiated departure of Britain from the EU is
still possible "within 30 days".
Paris is the second leg of Johnson’s first foreign visit
since he took office.
"In the month ahead, we will not find a new withdrawal
agreement," said the French president, alongside with Johnson.
But he called for a "useful" month of talks with Britain.
It is possible to find something intelligent but any solution
should not be far from the fundamentals that have already been
negotiated, said Macron. "Nobody is going to wait until Oct. 31
without trying to find a good solution."
The two referred to the "backstop" border plan reached under
former British Prime Minister Theresa May.
This key part of the Brexit deal intends to maintain a
seamless border between the British region of Northern Ireland
and the EU member-state the Republic of Ireland.
Johnson had said the "backstop" is "divisive" and
"anti-democratic" and pledged to get rid of it.
The EU has so far refused to renegotiate.
"Our position has always been to respect the sovereignty of
the British people," said the French president.
"We are actively getting prepared to all scenarios."
When asked about what will happen with a no-deal Brexit,
Johnson told the press that under no circumstances would Britain
set up border checks on the boundary between the British
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
"Technical solutions are readily available and they have been
discussed at great length," he said.
"You can have trusted trader schemes, you can have electronic
German machinery export
momentum slows considerably: industry association
FRANKFURT Germany (Xinhua) --
The export momentum of Germany’s mechanical
engineering sector has slowed considerably, affected by global
trade conflicts and an increasingly weak economy, the German
Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) announced on
The association cited data from the Federal Statistical
Office, which showed machine deliveries in the first six months
this year increased only by a nominal 0.9 percent to 89.2
billion euros (about 99 billion U.S. dollars) from the same
period last year.
In adjusted terms, exports of mechanical engineering
companies increased by 3.8 percent in the first quarter but
recorded a decline of 1.8 percent to 44.7 billion euros in the
second quarter, the VDMA said.
"The uncertainty caused in particular by the trade dispute
between the U.S. and China and the lack of any prospect of an
agreement in the Brexit dispute are damaging our export-oriented
industry," VDMA Chief Economist Ralph Wiechers wrote in a note.
Wiechers also noted a decline in investment activity in China
and the United Kingdom, especially in machinery and equipment,
as well as a slowing pace of expansion in the United States.
From January to June, exports to the United States rose by
7.8 percent to 9.96 billion euros, accounting for 11.2 percent
of the total German machinery exports.
Over the same period, exports to China increased by 0.6
percent to 9.72 billion euros, giving China a 10.4 percent share
of total exports, according to the VDMA.
The association also noted that exports to Japan continued to
develop positively, registering a 12-percent increase to 1.49
billion euros in the first six months.
output stabilizes despite Brexit
'uncertainty reports' Confederation of British Industry
LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) --
British manufacturing output
stabilized in the three months to August, according to figures
published Tuesday by the Confederation of British Industry
CBI’s monthly Industrial Trends Survey showed that 15 percent
of manufacturers reported total order books to be above normal,
with 28 percent being below normal, bring a balance of negative
13 percent, less than the reading of negative 34 percent in
Meanwhile, 11 percent of firms revealed their export order
books were above normal, compared with a 26 percent being below
normal, giving a balance of negative 15 percent, also less than
the number of negative 32 percent in July.
In terms of stockpiles, 18 percent of companies said their
present stocks of finished goods were more than adequate, with
only 4 percent saying they were less than adequate, sending a
balance of positive 14 percent, slightly higher than the long
run average of positive 13 percent.
Anna Leach, deputy chief economist in CBI, said: "despite
signs of stabilization in the data this month, UK manufactures
remain on the receiving end of a double whammy: the slowdown in
the global economy and Brexit uncertainty. "
"As we get closer to October, it’s crucial that the new prime
minister secures a Brexit deal ahead of that deadline and gets
on with pressing domestic priorities, from improving our
infrastructure to fixing the apprenticeship levy," Leach said.
Tom Crotty, chair of CBI Manufacturing Council, said:
"relentless Brexit uncertainty has continued to be a millstone
around the neck of manufacturing firms as we approach the end of
Crotty said it was vital for government to lift the burden by
ending the Brexit deadlock, adding that "only then can our
manufacturers turn their full attention to long-standing issues
affecting the sector, such as solving the skills challenge and
United Kingdom companies
to enrol in customs system for post-Brexit trading
LONDON United Kingdom (Xinhua) --
Companies in Britain will be
automatically enrolled in an important customs system to trade
post-Brexit, British Chancellor Sajid Javid announced on
According to a joint announcement of British Treasury and
Revenue & Customs, in the next two weeks, more than 88,000 VAT
registered companies across the country will be allocated an
Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number,
to enable them to keep trading with customers and suppliers in
the European Union (EU) after Brexit.
EORI numbers are a unique ID number allocated to companies
that enables them to be identified by British customs
authorities to move goods into or out of the EU after Brexit.
A total of 72,000 companies in Britain have already
registered for EORI numbers, said the government.
Javid said there can be no time for the delay of preparation
to leave the EU on Oct. 31, and that is why British customs
authority has allocated thousands of businesses with a trading
number, to ensure they can continue to trade their goods through
Europe from day one.
"This will help ease the flow of goods at border points and
support businesses to trade and grow," the chancellor added.
Finnish Prime Minister
Antti Rinne tries to help finding Brexit solutions
HELSINKI Finland (Xinhua) --
Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne said on Monday
he would meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on "ways to
reach an agreement-based Brexit without opening the existing
agreement" between the UK and the European Union.
Rinne said on Monday evening in Reykjavik that he had talked
on the phone with Johnson.
The five Nordic prime ministers and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel will meet in Reykjavik on Tuesday.
Johnson had contacted Rinne to find out what the Finnish
views would be if the existing agreement is renegotiated.
Rinne said he had told Johnson that the remaining 27 EU
member countries are very unanimous on not re-opening and
re-negotiating the Brexit agreement.
"The agreement will stand, it will not be opened," Rinne told
Finnish reporters that accompany him on the trip.
Rinne had told Johnson that he is prepared as the prime
minister of the EU Council presidency country "to seek a way
Rinne had referred to his 20-year experience as a trade union
negotiator and said he would be open to consider "other
solutions than opening the Brexit agreement."
The date of the possible meeting between Johnson and Rinne
has not been agreed.
"It could be either in Helsinki or in London," Rinne told
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Johnson on
Wednesday in a pre-scheduled encounter.
Rinne told Finnish media from Reykjavik that "it is worth
trying to find a way out from the present situation through
He added though that there is "not much light at this time".
Lowest mortgage interests
rates ever still not attractive to Danes
COPENHAGEN Denmark (Xinhua) --
Economic uncertainties created by Brexit and
trade tensions are seen as major factors behind an economic
slump that has hit the Danish housing market.
Danish banks are full of money, 507 billion Danish Kroner
(over 75 billion U.S. dollars).
Money that is sitting stagnant in the bank accounts of Danes
making zero interest rate.
The Danish market needs more liquidity, and major financial
institutions Nordea, Realkredit Danmark and Totalkredit are
offering fixed-interest, 30-year mortgage loans at a staggering
all-time low-interest rate of 0.5 percent.
Jyske Bank even introduces negative interest rates for
private customers with more than 7.5 million kroner.
The interest rate is minus 0.6 percent unless otherwise
agreed, the bank reported here on Tuesday.
The banks believe through these historically low interest
rates they will be able to make money from mortgage loan
However, despite offering the lowest interest rates in Danish
financial history, Danish homeowners are not rushing to add an
additional loan to their present home loans.
Many customers are concerned about what restructuring of
present loans might entail.
"We are in the process of a huge conversion wave, and the
banks are of course also very interested in talking about that.
"Because they make good money every time a new loan is taken
up," explained Morten Bruun Pedersen, a senior economist at the
Consumer Council, to Danish news Channel TV2.
Common Travel Area not to
be affected after Brexit: Boris Johnson
DUBLIN Eire (Xinhua) --
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday
told his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar that the Common Travel
Area (CTA), an arrangement between the two countries to ensure
free movement of each other’s citizens in either jurisdiction,
will not be affected after Britain’s exit from the European
The promise was made by Johnson during his
almost-an-hour-long phone talk with Varadkar on Monday evening,
according to a statement from the Irish government.
The news came at a time after Irish media quoted a British
government spokesperson as saying earlier in the day that
Britain would immediately end freedom of movement for people
from the EU after Brexit on Oct. 31.
"The (British) Prime Minister made clear that the Common
Travel Area, which long predates the UK and Ireland joining the
EU, would not be affected by the ending of freedom of movement
after Brexit," said the statement.
Under the CTA, which was first agreed in the early 1920s and
has later been updated several times, British and Irish citizens
can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy
associated rights and entitlements including access to
employment, healthcare, education, social benefits, and the
right to vote in certain elections.
"The CTA was recognized in the EU-UK negotiations and there
is agreement in the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland,
which is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement, that
Ireland and the UK may ‘continue to make arrangements between
themselves relating to the movement of persons between their
territories’," says the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade in a note posted on its website.
During the phone talk, Johnson and Varadkar also discussed
other issues relating to Brexit and Northern Ireland, and they
both agreed to meet for further discussions in Dublin in early
September, said the statement.
No substantive progress has been made in the talk between the
two leaders over the Brexit issue judging the content of the
Johnson insisted in the talk that the backstop must be
removed from the Withdrawal Agreement while Varadkar reiterated
that the Withdrawal Agreement can not be reopened, according to
German finance ministry expects hard
Brexit as 'high probability'
Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson agree on a 'Brexit' goal -
but not how to reach it?