POLITICO Brussels Playbook: Hope rising — Resentment building — Brexit and the Carpet King – POLITICO

THERE’S HOPE: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn” could also be particularly relevant in the mid-winter of this pandemic hell yr. Yes, Christmas is canceled, there’s chaos on the roads and everyone seems to be completely exhausted by the unending Brexit saga. But there are additionally rays of hope: BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin has indicated the first coronavirus vaccines certain for EU nations can go away warehouses as early as right this moment … and a Brexit commerce deal now seems nearer than ever.

GOOD MORNING, I’m Simon Van Dorpe from POLITICO’s competitors and industrial coverage crew, leaping in right this moment for Florian. Don’t be shocked to see some Belgian — and worse, West Flemish — touches on this publication. Did you overlook to purchase somebody a gift in the midst of this chaos? Consider this accessoire for golfers.

CORONAVIRUS CORNER       

GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS: BioNTech’s Şahin additionally stated at a press convention on Tuesday that he’s “confident” the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine will work towards the new, extra contagious mutation of the coronavirus discovered lately in the U.Okay. But scientists who advise the U.Okay. authorities have stated kids look like as prone as adults to the new pressure, Reuters studies.

Border chaos: The European Commission is looking on governments to raise their journey restrictions on the U.Okay., imposed after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dramatic announcement of the newly found pressure on Monday. France has at the very least reopened for truckers — its U.Okay. ban initially additionally prolonged to individuals who had been shifting cargo, inflicting vital concern for meals imports for Britons’ Christmas meals. But Prime Minister Jean Castex in an announcement final night time rowed again, saying drivers from the U.Okay. may enter France if they may present a damaging check end result that was lower than 72 hours outdated. That got here simply in time, as 1000’s of vehicles had been lined up in Dover to cross the Channel.

FIRST VACCINES IN BELGIUM: The U.Okay. had Margaret Keenan; Belgium will quickly have Jos Hermans, the first citizen to be given a jab. Hermans is a 96-year-old inhabitant of an old-age residence in Puurs “who has always followed the coronavirus measures very strictly,” in keeping with the residence’s supervisor. While Hermans lives solely a stone’s throw from Pfizer Puurs, certainly one of the fundamental manufacturing websites of the vaccine globally, his shot will journey to the Leuven college hospital first.

BOILING BENEATH THE SURFACE: While subsequent yr, restrictions are prone to loosen as the vaccine makes its means throughout Europe, hopefully permitting economies to regenerate, it is usually prone to expose the pandemic’s psychological aftermath in personal and political life. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo obtained a style of a few of the public anger throughout a stay Q & A with residents on Belgian TV on Sunday. Erik Raes instructed De Croo he had stopped following the guidelines after a neighborhood governor threatened police would break into houses to test on compliance. “Will you sustain this [strict policy] until people start rebelling?” Raes requested the PM, visibly agitated.

NOW READ THIS: Online disinformation is often related to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. But Mark Scott’s evaluation of a whole bunch of books bought on Amazon — and their critiques — exhibits the e-commerce big can also be taking advantage of conspiracy theories and falsehoods linked to COVID-19.

**A message from Huawei: Huawei is a pacesetter in cybersecurity and welcomes Europe’s central function in additional advancing world cybersecurity requirements and certification by means of the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. More than ever, we’re dedicated to connecting Europe.**

BREXIT BUSINESS       

WHO’LL BLINK FIRST ON FISH? Eleventh-hour negotiations on future relations between the U.Okay. and EU stay caught over fisheries, two EU diplomats instructed Hans von der Burchard following a Tuesday briefing by chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to the bloc’s ambassadors. One diplomat reported that “most issues are preliminarily closed or close to being agreed,” however “differences on fisheries remain difficult to bridge.” Hans and Jacopo Barigazzi report Brexit talks now threat dragging past Christmas … although the Financial Times reckons the two sides at the moment are aiming to agree a commerce deal by tonight. More particulars on this morning’s London Playbook.

PLAN B: The Council on Tuesday adopted emergency measures to make sure “basic” connectivity by air and highway if a deal isn’t struck by the finish of the yr.

NEVER AGAIN, SAYS BOURGEOIS: “After Ireland, Flanders is the region that will be most impacted by a no-deal Brexit,” stated Geert Bourgeois, a member of the European Parliament and previously the head of the Flemish authorities. Bourgeois stated Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU ought to be extra particular and oblige the nation that desires to go away the bloc to make clear the sort of future relationship it seeks. If there may be nonetheless no deal six months earlier than the deadline, the transition interval ought to be mechanically prolonged, he reckons. “We are now in a situation of complete legal uncertainty. This should not be repeated,” he stated.

Parliament may agree retrospectively: “We had a full-week schedule ready to approve the [trade] deal [with the U.K.],” Bourgeois stated. “But the most important thing now is to reach an agreement.” He added that if the EU and U.Okay. do strike a deal, the probably state of affairs is that it enters into drive provisionally, adopted by a “consent vote” by the European Parliament in the new yr. “That means a yes or a no. If the negotiators reach an agreement, nothing will change,” he stated.

BREXIT AND THE CARPET KING: “No deal would be a huge failure of both U.K. and EU leaders,” Joe Lano, CEO of Belgian firm Lano Carpets, instructed Playbook. Lano generates €50 million of its €110 million turnover in the U.Okay. Brexit will value the agency at the very least €400,000 in mounted prices, largely for administration, he stated. But a no deal would imply one other €3.2 million in export tariffs to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and a whole bunch of 1000’s to European authorities for imports, primarily of wool. “We were promised clarity by October but are still in the dark,” Lano stated. “This is very concerning.”

IN OTHER NEWS       

EU-CHINA DEAL DELAY: The possibilities of China and the EU concluding a landmark funding deal earlier than the finish of the yr look like diminishing, as opposition grows, together with from the U.S., to any settlement that fails to sort out the subject of compelled labor. Eleanor Mears and Giorgio Leali have extra.

Speaking of US opposition: European tech executives and diplomats have complained to the FT that Washington is utilizing its sanctions regime to close them out of the Chinese market whereas providing exemptions for American corporations.

RUSSIA SANCTIONS: Russia stated Tuesday it will impose entry bans on representatives of EU nations and establishments in response to EU sanctions positioned on Russian officers over the poisoning of opposition chief Alexei Navalny. Aitor Hernández-Morales has extra.

DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: Israel will maintain a snap election in March after its parliament missed a deadline to move the funds. Reuters has extra.

DEATHS IN SCOTLAND: Scotland is by far the drug demise capital of Europe — which is “a tragedy and a blot on the record of Nicola Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) government,” writes Alasdair Lane on this story.

ONLINE GROCERIES SURGE: E-commerce and supermarkets are two sectors which have seen income surge throughout the pandemic. Zosia Wanat writes that buyers and retailers at the moment are overcoming their inhibitions about on-line grocery purchasing.

GOOGLE’S SUNDAR PICHAI has given an interview to the Financial Times, by which he talks about regulation, competitors and the EU’s privateness guidelines.

OVER AND OUT       

NEW JOB: U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated Ric Grenell, his former ambassador to Germany and appearing director of nationwide intelligence, to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Speaking of the final gasps of the Trump administration: Read all about the president’s newest batch of pardons, together with one for George Papadopoulos, whose 2016 interactions with a Russia-linked professor led the FBI to launch the counterintelligence investigation into Trump’s election marketing campaign.

BIRTHDAYS: MEP Claudia Gamon and André Rougé; Former MEPs Louise Bours, Cătălin Sorin Ivan and Siôn Simon; POLITICO’s Rey Davis Tuplano; Singer, supermodel and former first girl of France Carla Bruni; Olga Cosmidou, former European Parliament director normal; Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander of Europe Wesley Clark; Former U.Okay. Brexit Secretary David Davis.

MANY THANKS to Zoya Sheftalovich and our producer Miriam Webber.

**A message from Huawei: Huawei is a pacesetter in cybersecurity and welcomes Europe’s central function in additional advancing world cybersecurity requirements and certification by means of the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. More than ever, we’re dedicated to connecting Europe.**

based mostly on website supplies www.politico.eu

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