- The new demands of the EU created a crisis in the Brexit negotiations
- OPEC + countries to increase daily oil production by 500 thousand barrels
- Brussels is considering setting up a recovery fund excluding Hungary and Poland
The New Demands of the EU Created a Crisis in the Brexit Negotiations
Since March, the UK and the EU have been engaged in talks to decide their future relations once the UK’s transition period to Brexit ends in less than four weeks.
However, the new demands of the European Union created a crisis in the Brexit negotiations where an optimistic atmosphere was formed from time to time.
Britain stated that European Union officials submitted a new list of demands while the Brexit negotiations were continuing. British officials stated that these demands from the EU are taking the negotiation process back. The EU side stated that there are no new demands.
While claiming that the EU brought new demands to the table, Britain stated that these demands turned the talks back. Speaking to Bloomberg, British officials did not explain what these new demands were, while the EU side refused to explain.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a British official stated that the EU has hardened its position in parallel with the French, which negatively affected the talks. Another official stated that despite this problem, an agreement is still possible.
As stated in the news, EU source told the BBC “there were never any surprises or new demands” from their side. A senior UK government source told BBC political that the EU team was “bringing new elements into the negotiation” at the “11th hour”.
The source said a breakthrough over the next few days was still possible, but that prospect is fading.
Compromises in key fields, including fishing rights and competition rules, are intensely pursued by both sides
OPEC + Countries to Increase Daily Oil Production by 500 Thousand Barrels
As the coronavirus continues to rage, but with vaccinations on the horizon, OPEC and other oil-producing nations led by Russia, are seeking to measure the strength of the global economy.
The 12th Ministerial Meeting, in which the energy and oil ministers of 23 OPEC + member countries came together via videoconference ended. After the meeting, OPEC + stated that OPEC + countries will reduce oil production cuts by 500 thousand barrels per day for January. Thus, the current production cut of 7.7 million barrels per day was reduced to 7.2 million barrels.
In the statement, it was noted that the ministers of OPEC + countries will meet regularly every month as of next month to evaluate the market conditions and the production increase will be determined not to exceed 500 thousand barrels per day.
In his speech after the meeting, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak emphasized that it was agreed to hold a meeting at the beginning of each month and stated that the next production arrangement would be decided in the meetings held in January, February, and March.
Novak explained that this situation offers a more precise and accurate response to the monthly demand.
The settlement was a compromise between countries that wanted to follow the much larger increase of two million barrels a day agreed at the previous meeting and others, led by Saudi Arabia, that preferred to retain the current production cuts, estimated at 7.7 million barrels a day, given the pandemic uncertainties.
Brussels is Considering Setting up a Recovery Fund Excluding Hungary and Poland
Poland and Hungary have taken the EU to one of the worst disagreements in years, with their veto of the EU budget and the pandemic recovery package. EU officials have long been at odds with the Polish and Hungarian governments, accusing them of disregarding the rule of law and anti-democratic tendencies.
A senior European Commission official warned that Brussels is exploring ways of moving forward with the formation of the EU Covid-19 recovery fund without the involvement of Hungary and Poland, putting pressure on the two countries to drop their block over the budget for the recovery fund.
He added that 25 EU member states could continue with setting up a planned €750bn Covid-19 recovery fund in the following year until Hungary and Poland reversed their veto over the union’s budget of overall €1.8 trillion budget and recovery package.
The fact that such a serious back – up option is being discussed by the Commission highlights the magnitude of the stand-off with Warsaw and Budapest. These countries’ governments fear might threaten the EU’s recovery from the pandemic by freezing aid to struggling economies in the billions of euros.
EU leaders are expected to meet next week in Brussels to discuss the budget crisis after Hungary and Poland have doubled their opposition to the rule-of-law system they say their countries are targeting.
Diplomats are still hoping that the eastern capitals can be persuaded to drop their objections and put their weight behind the recovery fund and the EU budget. If no alternative is found in the coming weeks, the 750 billion euro recovery fund in Brussels will be unable to enter into force next year and the bloc will have to return to a 2021 austerity budget.
EU diplomat stated on the issue that:
“For the time being things seem to be deadlocked. If there is no agreement with Poland and Hungary at the leaders’ level next week, and things don’t look like moving, the other 25 member states will have to consider other options. No one wants to go down that route, but they may be left with no choice if Poland and Hungary don’t move.”