Britain OUT less attractive to Japanese investors

May 6, 2016 3:53 PM
By Peter Morris, European Movement

Britain would be "less attractive" for Japanese investment if it voted for Brexit in June's referendum, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday, reports Politico:

[I]n Gibraltar, a British territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, nobody seems to question European Union membership, according to a report in the New York Times. Only a handful of people attended a recent rally by anti-union campaigners visiting from London. The only badge worn by residents here bears a simple and clear message: "I'm in." If anything, the referendum has helped unite Gibraltar's political parties and 33,000 inhabitants around the fear that this unique could face more uncertainty than the rest of Britain should voters choose to leave the European Union:

Britain's flirtation with leaving the European Union is as puzzling as Greece's stubborn desire to stay, according to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. After all, Britain's economy has done quite well inside the bloc while Greece's has been decimated:

Few MPs seem interested in EU immigration debate: In a practically empty chamber at the House of Commons, British MPs discussed the problems and the benefits linked to immigration from Europe, reports Politico Morning Exchange:

The European Commission's digital single market strategy turns one year old today. With seven months left in the 16-point policy plan, the executive has only scratched the surface, reports EurActiv. The Commission published a timetable of its flagship tech policy programme on 6 May 2015, indicating that it would present at least six of its 16 priority issues by the end of last year. The executive has missed the mark on that timetable, but insists it will still present the rest of its 16 policy plans in 2016:

German chancellor Angela Merkel said she supports an Italian plan on stemming migration flows from Africa, but disagrees on how it should be financed, reports EUobserver. Renzi's plan is to discourage future flows with a "migration compact" - a well-financed European effort to help grow African economies. In exchange, African states would cooperate better with the EU on border management and security:

In the first visit of a U.K. trade minister to Argentina in 10 years, (Lord) Mark Price landed in Buenos Aires on Thursday to call for substantial progress on the EU-Mercosur free trade deal, reports Politico Morning Trade, picking up a story in the Telegraph. "The growing economies of Latin America offer huge opportunity for British business and that's why I want to see real progress on an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement," he said in a statement. Before his visit to Argentina, the trade minister was in Colombia and Mexico.

Eastern European countries opposing new refugee quotas should show more solidarity with the European Union, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said yesterday (5 May), adding that Sofia would accept its share of people fleeing war and persecution to Europe. EurActiv reports:

The breakaway region of Transnistria - in the east of Moldova, at the border to Ukraine - is reorienting its trade from Russia to the EU, Eurasianet reports. Moscow has traditionally been Transnistria's go-to partner, but in the first three months of 2016, almost 60 percent of the region's exports went to the EU. EUrasianet:

Pro-Brexit campaigners in the City of London fancy a future unshackled by Brussels rules, meddlesome bureaucracies and stifling regulations. Dream on, says a special report on Brexit in Politico. Even if Britain decides to break away from the EU on June 23, the idealistic view of a financial sector run purely in the interest of U.K. bankers is unlikely to become a reality:

The relative performance of factories in the U.K. and the rest of Europe suggests it doesn't take leaving the European Union to damage the British economy, reports Bloomberg. The mere threat of Brexit may be enough to do that:

More than half of Europe's top policy and industry figures are afraid Brexit is a real possibility and fear negative consequences for growth in both Britain and the EU. That is the conclusion of POLITICO's Financial Caucus - "a pulse-taking of an elite group of 55 leading industry figures, policymakers, economists and adviser":

[I]n Northern Ireland the referendum risks reviving the kind of divisions the province has been trying to forget, reports Bloomberg:

The 2 million UK citizens currently living abroad, in the EU, would face years of legal limbo over their futures, a report by senior British politicians warned today (4 May.), reports EurActiv. [The] findings from the House of Lords EU committee warns there will be no simple answer to the questions of right to reside, or healthcare arrangements:

Iceland has been referred to a trade tribunal for failure to incorporate into national law EU directives on the transport of dangerous goods and on inspection of commercial vehicles, reports EUobserver. Its EU legal obligations are part of Iceland's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA):

Farmers who mistakenly claim more money than they should on CAP forms - and are then slapped with fines - might breathe a little easier today, reports Politico Morning Agri and Trade. The Commission announced it was reforming rules that punish incorrect CAP payment applications in response to the crisis in the agricultural sector. Instead, farmers who make minor mistakes will be issued a "yellow card," where they receive 50 percent of the full fine if it's a first-time offense:

The EU's top court on Wednesday (4 May) ruled that the bloc's new laws on plain tobacco packaging and ban on menthol cigarettes were legal, rejecting a challenge by tobacco giant Philip Morris and others, reports EurActiv:

On Tuesday (3 May), after a long night of negotiation, and after more than three years since its proposal, it was agreed that web accessibility will now be the law of the land in Europe. This is a victory not only for persons with disabilities, but all of us, writes Dita Charanzová, a Czech MEP, in an op-ed in EurActiv:

The refugee flow from Iraq to Sweden has turned around this year, with 1,243 Iraqis filing for asylum while 1,366 withdrew their application, reports Sydsvenskan, picked up by EUobserver. 500 Afghans have withdrawn their asylum applications this year. "Asylum seekers get tired of the long processing times," migration expert Kristina Raennar said:

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a new system for enforcing the relocation of migrants around the EU, giving countries that refuse to accept refugees an expensive "pay-to-not-play" option, reports Politico. The measure, which would set a price of €250,000 per migrant for countries that want to avoid EU-imposed quotas for the resettlement of asylum-seekers, is part of a raft of new proposals aimed at rebooting the EU's beleaguered strategy for dealing with the migration crisis:

The European Commission today (4 May) proposed that Turkish nationals would enjoy visa-free travel to the EU's Schengen zone by the end of June, praising Ankara for its fast delivery on meeting the necessary conditions, reports EurActiv. But Commission experts admit that national parliaments could upturn the deal:

The European Commission approved today (4 May) extending by six months controls at several frontiers inside the free-travel Schengen area, saying checks were justified by deficiencies in Greece's management of the bloc's external border, reports EurActiv:

Liberty Global, which owns the U.K.'s Virgin Media, will donate up to £500,000 (€630,000 or so) to the Remain campaign, reports Politico, picking up a story in the FT:

Courtesy of Peter Morris, European Movement in North East