STA, 12 February 2020 - Slovenian companies wondering about the future relationship with their UK partners after Brexit were assured at an event held by the British Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and the British Embassy on Wednesday that Britons wanted to preserve the close business ties.
The UK exited the EU at the beginning of the month after 47 years of membership. The terms of trade will remain unchanged until the transition period expires at the end of the year, while talks on new relations are to start soon, UK Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey told the event.
"We would like for us to continue to grow together," she said, noting the countries' close cooperation in many fields, from construction to banking and advanced technologies, with the volume of business between the two countries increasing by more than 10% over the past three years.
Honey believes that an agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU is feasible by the end of the transition period. The UK is keen to reach a free trade agreement similar to the one between the EU and Canada.
My key message: the UK will be working hard to agree an #FTA.— Sophie Honey (@HMASophieHoney) February 12, 2020
As we leave Single Market & Customs Union at the end of 2020, new processes will be put in place for ?? import/export - make sure to stay in touch with your ?? partners to prepare.
More info: https://t.co/Va9oYvgkTC pic.twitter.com/Qw6aor5pIv
Tim Abraham, deputy director at the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said that now was the opportunity to prepare for the changed terms and conditions setting in as the UK exits the single market and customs union at the end of 2020.
Abraham, who would like for the close business ties to be preserved, noted that many of the businesses present at the event today already do business with countries outside the EU, saying that doing business with the UK on new terms would not be much different than that.
Zoran Stančič, the head of the European Commission's office in Slovenia, assured business representatives present that procedures would be run transparently and that businesses would get all the necessary information.
"However, the path ahead won't be easy, eleven months is little time," he said, adding that the European Commission had high ambitions for the future relationship with the UK. He said that the transition period could be extended by a year or two if the talks did not develop the way both sides wanted.
Tjaša Redek, a professor from the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics, presented an analysis which showed that Brexit would have only limited impact on Slovenia, with the negative impact on GDP growth projected at up to 0.03% in a decade.
Data for 2018 show that Slovenian companies exported EUR 577 million in goods and services to the UK, importing EUR 441 million.
The analysis also showed that Slovenian companies do not expect substantial negative consequences of Brexit, but they are preparing for the changes nonetheless and many are eyeing new markets.
All our stories on Brexit and Slovenia are here
Časoris is an online newspaper aimed at children. Each week we’ll take an article and post it here as a Slovene-English dual text.
Z Big Benom slovo od Evropske unije
With Big Ben, farewell to the European Union
Written by Romana Dobnikar Šeruga , translated by JL Flanner & G Translate
Januarja ob enajstih zvečer po britanskem času (oziroma opolnoči po srednjeevropskem času) je Združeno kraljestvo Velike Britanije in Severne Irske po 47 letih članstva izstopilo iz Evropske unije.
On January 31, at eleven o'clock in the evening British time (or midnight Continental Europe time), the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland left the European Union after 47 years of membership.
Na pročelje hiše na Downing Streetu 10, kjer je sedež britanskega premiera, so najprej projicirali posnetek slovitega Big Bena, kako odšteva minute do brexita, nato pa besedilo himne God Save the Queen (Bog obvaruj kraljico).
On the front of the building at #10 Downing Street, where the UK Prime Minister lives, they first projected a clip of the famous Big Ben counting down the minutes to Brexit, and then the lyrics of the national anthem, God Save the Queen.
Ta zgodovinski trenutek so eni Britanci proslavljali, drugi obžalovali.
This historic moment was celebrated by some Britons, by others regretted.
»Za mnoge je to osupljivi trenutek upanja, trenutek, za katerega so si mislili, da ga ne bodo dočakali. In seveda mnogi so zaskrbljeni in čutijo izgubo,« je te mešane občutke strnil premier Boris Johnson.
“For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense anxiety and loss, ” as these mixed feeling were summed up by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Na referendumu pred tremi leti in pol so se namreč državljani le s tesno večino odločili za brexit oziroma za izstop svoje države iz Evropske unije. In ta trenutek je nazadnje le napočil.
In the referendum of three and a half years ago, only a narrow majority voted for Brexit, or for their country to withdraw from the European Union. And that moment has only just begun.
In kaj se je spremenilo s prvim februarjem?
And what has changed since the first of February?
Za zdaj nič. Slovenci na primer še vedno lahko potujemo v Veliko Britanijo samo z osebno izkaznico, pa tudi uporaba mobilnika nas bo tam stala enako kot doma.
Nothing for now. For example, Slovenians can still travel to the UK with only their ID card, and using a mobile phone will cost us the same as at home.
Tudi Britanci še nekaj časa ne bodo čutili posledic dejstva, da v Bruslju, na sedežu Evropske unije, v evropskem parlamentu in drugih ustanovah Evropske unije ne bodo imeli več svojih predstavnikov.
Even the British will for some time not feel the consequences of the fact that in Brussels, the seat of the European Union, the European Parliament and other institutions of the European Union, they will no longer have their representatives.
Toda do konca leta 2020 se bosta morala London in Bruselj dogovoriti, v kakšnih odnosih bo Velika Britanija s članicami Evropske unije, ki jih je zdaj samo še 27.
But by the end of 2020, London and Brussels will have to agree on what kind of relations the UK will have with the European Union, which now has only 27 [members].
Slovenia is one of the three EU countries that is forbidden by their own constitutions to extradite their own citizens to non-EU countries, which the UK became last Friday, at 23:00 UK time, midnight on the Continent.
Although the European Arrest Warrant continues to apply during the Brexit Implementation Period that lasts until 31 December 2020, the three countries have notified the European Commission that complying with the treaty would be unconstitutional for them. This however only applies to each country's own citizens. UK citizens, or other EU nationals, could still be extradited under the European Arrest Warrant during the transition period.
This means that if a Slovenian national committed a crime in the UK before fleeing back to Slovenia, they would escape criminal prosecution in the UK. Slovenian law, however, allows for Slovenian citizens who have committed a crime abroad to be prosecuted in Slovenia.
STA, 29 January 2020 - There are some 800 UK citizens living in Slovenia and their main concern about Brexit is whether they will be able to continue their lives as before, UK Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey told the STA, stressing that their rights were protected under the December EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement.
The agreement protects the rights and status of British citizens in Slovenia but also Slovenians in the UK, the ambassador told the STA in an interview.
The ambassador explained that the embassy has been in regular contact with the British community in Slovenia, updating them on the latest developments, and explaining them what the Withdrawal Agreement means for them. It has also been working very closely with the Slovenian government.
"The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of all those who are legally resident in Slovenia by the end of December to continue to live and work in Slovenia as they do now. So it protects their residency status, but also their rights to access healthcare and social security, to access their pensions as previously."
To be eligible, UK nationals have to be legally resident in Slovenia, whether as temporary or permanent residents, by the end of 2020.
As for travelling, holiday, and business visits, the ambassador said everything would remain the same after the implementation period, in 2021. "It is already agreed that there will be visa free travel for short visits."
Arrangements for British people coming to live permanently in Slovenia after 2020 and vice-versa, are yet to be decided. But the ambassador believes "the UK will always want to welcome talented individuals, so there will still be significant flow of people. For instance this week the UK launched a new visa scheme specifically for people in science and research."
During the transition period, the UK and EU will negotiate the new relationship, including new arrangements that will apply in areas like trade.
"The transition period means that there would be limited impact for businesses and people who are travelling during 2020. That means that current EU rules apply. That gives us the opportunity to agree the new partnership between the UK and the EU that will start on 1 January next year.
"There we are looking for a really positive and constructive partnership given our shared interest, our shared history, and values. So we are looking for a broad free trade agreement covering goods and services, but our prime minister has also spoken of the need to work as partners in other areas, for instance to tackle climate change, and to build cooperation in education and science," Honey said.
David Limon, a retired professor from the Faculty of Arts, applied for Slovenian citizenship in March 2019 but it looks like his application may be rejected due to what he thinks is a technicality, relating to his income as a self-employed translator since leaving the faculty.
He has been living in Slovenia since 1998 but his connections with Slovenia go back to 1983 when he married a Slovenian. Both his wife and their daughter, who was born in the UK but educated in Slovenia, have dual citizenship.
"It is clear that the Interior Ministry applies very strict (even unfair) criteria for citizenship applications. I am very disappointed about this after contributing for over 20 years to Slovenian society (as an academic and a translator), learning the language and even climbing Triglav."
He expects travel within the EU to get more complicated for British passport holders after Brexit. "It is also possible that if the British government makes life more difficult for EU citizens, reducing their legal rights, then EU countries will understandably reciprocate," he told the STA.
Chris Wherry, English programme moderator at Radio Slovenia International, is a permanent resident and this will not change regardless of the relationship between the UK and the EU.
He came to Slovenia in 2002 and is married to a Slovenian. Both of their two children, 15 and 11, are registered British citizens so they will be able to choose where they wish to live after their education.
Asked about any concerns regarding Brexit, he said there were many. "I believe the UK has much to lose by operating alone. I further treasure the EU free movement of people as a way of allowing individuals to access the best education and personal opportunities.
"Cooperation between countries is vital to resolve many international issues and trading as a more powerful block makes real sense. Both the EU and the UK will be weaker unless they come to significant agreements over the next 11 months regarding these issues."
Paul Steed, editor and writer for Total Slovenia News, has been in Slovenia for five and a half years, moving here from Taiwan. He has permanent resident status, is married to a Slovenian, has a child and owns property here, so he plans to stay after Brexit. He would like to get dual nationality, to "further confirm my status in Slovenia, but this is complicated because of Brexit".
"My concerns regarding Brexit are wide and varied. But on a personal level I'm worried about dual nationality, and pensions and healthcare in the future," he told the STA.
With regard to Slovenia, he noted that the direct trade links with the UK were very small, and would get smaller in the future. "The increased barriers to trade, if only in terms of rules of origin paperwork in a tariff- and quota-free deal, will make things more difficult, especially for smaller firms."
On the positive side, Slovenia has strong automotive and pharmaceutical industries, two areas that will be hurt in the UK if London does not opt for close regulatory alignment with the EU, so the country could maybe benefit there, he said.
There are many partnerships between British and Slovene businesses, including in high-tech, the pharmaceutical industry and the automotive sector, and around 4500 Slovenian companies importing goods and services from the UK. According to Ambassador Honey, she is not aware of any British company thinking about leaving Slovenia because of Brexit.
"We have a really strong and growing bilateral partnership with Slovenia", the ambassador told the STA, highlighting growing trade and education ties, and the first Slovenia-UK Friendship Day in 2019. "So I want to see all of those trends continue, as we continue to build a new and positive relationship between the UK and EU as a whole."
STA, 28 January 2020 - Roughly half of some 5,000 Slovenians living in the UK have applied for settled or pre-settled status so far ahead of Brexit, according to the British Home Office. Slovenian Ambassador to the UK Tadej Rupel expects the number of Slovenians in the UK to "drop somewhat, but not drastically".
Most of the Slovenians that have already applied for the post-Brexit status have opted for the settled status.
EU citizens that have been living and working in the UK for less than five years can apply for the pre-settled status, while those who have been in the UK for more than five years can apply to stay in the country under the settled status scheme.
Some Slovenians have acquired British citizenship and are thus not obligated to enter into any of the two schemes, Rupel told the STA. On the other hand, some have left the UK due to Brexit-related reasons.
The deadline for applying is 31 December 2020, however there have been political and public assurances that EU citizens will not be automatically deported if they fail to apply for the status by the deadline, said the ambassador, adding that settled and pre-settled status applications were mostly granted.
The UK is interested in keeping EU citizens who work and contribute to its economy, he added.
Slovenians in the UK are "well-organised and keeping track of the Brexit-related circumstances", Rupel said, adding that they did not seem to be panicking.
There are some doubts and questions remaining in terms of marriage registration, getting citizenship, the validity of IDs and options for crossing the border.
The Slovenian embassy has regular contacts with the British authorities and informs Slovenian citizens living in the UK of their replies. Last year, it also held a couple of events with British legal experts, informing the public about the situation.
Moreover, the embassy's social media is another platform to provide relevant information, however Rupel expressed concern that the elderly and other vulnerable groups would find it more difficult to access the information.
He explained that everyone who would move to the UK until the end of this year would be entitled to the pre-settled status scheme, while next year a new immigration mechanism would probably enter into force.
No immediate drastic changes will follow the latest Brexit deadline, 31 January, said Rupel, with a transition period taking place.
Some 5,000 Slovenians live in the UK, according to the embassy's data, most of them (85-90%) in the south-east of the country or the London area. They work in the City or at universities, study there, some of them are artists, doctors and entrepreneurs. A small part of them came to the UK in the mid-20th century.
Janja Hadalin, a 35-year-old Slovenian working for an NGO helping the disabled on the outskirts of London, has been living in the UK for almost four years. Even though she is content there, Hadalin does not plan to apply under the pre-settled status scheme since she would like to return to Slovenia.
According to her, most Slovenians living in the UK she knows are planning to stay. Signing up to the scheme is not difficult, she added.
Meanwhile Lana Mak, a 26-year-old working as purchasing officer and living in Bedford near London, plans to stay since she has settled in the UK and started a family there. She sees no difference between living in Slovenia or the UK. "When you settle somewhere, you get used to it," she said.
She and her partner have not yet applied for the settled status, but expect to get it since they have been living in the country for more than five years. Mak has not noticed any Brexit-related changes in day-to-day life.
Žan Florjanič Baronič, a 20-year-old studying medicine at UCL in London, has already applied for the status. He does not know any foreigner living in the UK who has not yet taken care of that - there was even a "mild hysteria" regarding that last summer, he added.
Florjanič Baronič estimated that Brexit would affect UK science funding in the long-term, which might bear on his career as well since major UCL research projects have been mainly EU-funded.
Moreover, following Brexit, EU citizens could pay international tuition fees to study in the UK, which might deter them from enrolling in UK universities, said Rupel.
Currently, there are between 500 and 700 Slovenian students studying in the UK.
All our stories on Brexit and Slovenia are here
The first thing to note is that even the vague shape of the relationship between the UK and EU in 2021, when the transition period that begins at 11pm 31 January 2020 ends, remains unknown, even at this late stage of the game.
The degree of closeness will depend on the degree of alignment – the extent to which the UK continues to follow EU practices, especially in terms of state aid, standards and regulations. In just the last week Sajid Javid, the UK’s Economics Minister (or Chancellor of the Exchequer) said that businesses should get ready for no alignment, a statement that was met with shock by those who understood the implications – a bare bones deal with significant disruption for current UK-EU trade links and no immediate or obvious benefits. A sharp shock to the system. He was then forced to backtrack on his comments, reassuring British businesses – particularly those in the pharmaceutical, automotive and aerospace industries – that close alignment would still be maintained. However, without offering more specifics, or even the outline of what the UK’s negotiating aims are, businesses still have no idea what to plan for.
The imbalance of trade. SURS
In truth, no one knows if the UK will be willing to make the compromises needed to maintain a high level of market access, or if it will be possible to sell such a deal to Parliament and the public as “Brexit” – a term that exists in a haze of contradictory aims and positions, its final form a mystery. There’s also the small matter of the EU27 all having to agree on the deal…
So there’s a lot that we don’t know, but for a Slovene perspective there’s a report from May 2019, “Analysis of the Consequences of Different Brexit Scenarios on the Internal Market and Trade Relations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain (“Analiza Posledic Različnih Scenarijev Brexit Na Notranji Trg In Trgovinske Odnose Z Združenim Kraljestvom Velike Britanije”), by Dr. Jože P. Damijan Dr. Črt Kostevc, and Dr. Tjaša Redek. It’s in Slovene, but there’s a summary in English that starts on page vii of the PDF.
First, the context of British-Slovene trade relations:
In 2018, exports to the UK amounted to €577 million and imports to €441 million (SURS). With a 2% share of total exports, the UK is a modestly important trade partner for Slovenia, whereby its importance is continuously decreasing. In the last two decades, Slovenia’s share of exports to the UK decreased from 3% to 2%. A similar trend can be observed on the imports side, where the share of the UK in total imports decreased form 2% to 1.4% in the last two decades. For Slovenian exporters, the markets of other old EU member states (Austria, France, Italy, Germany) and new EU member states (Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland) are more important.
Slovenian exports to the UK are primarily electrical appliances and equipment (19% in total exports to UK), furniture (13%), boilers, machines and mechanical equipment (11%), cars (9%), pharmaceutical products (7%), products made from plastic (7%) and paper and paper products (3%). The main import goods from the UK to Slovenia are: mineral fuels (around 20% of total imports from the UK), electrical appliances and equipment (12%), boilers, machines and mechanical equipment (12%), products made from plastic (5%), pharmaceutical products (4%), steel products (4%) and aluminium products (4%).
Exports of services to the UK amounted to €191 million in 2017 and services imports amounted to €175 million. The main services exports are tourism services, while in imports the main services are business, telecommunications, and IT services.
The UK is a modestly important foreign investor in Slovenia. The stock of foreign direct investment is constant at around €300 million over the last 5 years (2% of total FDI in Slovenia), with the main British investors in Slovenia being PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Unilever, Astrazeneca, Shell and Castrol. Slovenian direct investment in the UK is extremely low – between €15 and €20 million in 2013-2016 and falling to €6 million in 2018. The main Slovenian investors in the UK are Gorenje, Krka, SIJ, Trimo, Bisol, Riko, Savatech and Unior, which mostly mainly invested in trade representative offices in the UK to promote their exports.
The study then goes on to examine the impacts of three scenarios on Slovenia : hard Brexit (no deal at the end of 2020, and the UK trading on WTO terms), deferred hard Brexit (the same, but with a longer transition period that the current 11 months), and soft Brexit, envisaged here as being similar to EFTA membership, with a high level of market access, although still below the current one. As noted at the start of this story, any of these three remain possible – along with various different flavours of soft Brexit, but the present rhetoric from London seems to be pushing for a relatively hard Brexit. That said, London talked strong in 2019 but then signed up to a Withdrawal Agreement that puts a border in the Irish Sea, so as the pressure mounts anything could happen.
The paper presents a thorough analysis of the three scenarios, with the key paragraphs presented below:
According to model simulations, a composite effect of Brexit on Slovenian exports will be in a range between a 0.06% reduction (hard Brexit) and 0.01% increase (soft Brexit). This composite effect consists of a potential reduction of Slovenian exports to the UK in the range between 3.7% (soft Brexit) and 32.3% (hard Brexit) and an increase of exports to other EU countries and the rest of the world. Hence, due to trade diversion effects, a reduction in exports to UK after Brexit would be almost entirely compensated by increased exports to other EU countries and rest of the world.
The sectoral overview shows that due to hard Brexit wood processing and furniture, public services, paper products, forestry, production of metal products and production of crops might be hurt the most, though the estimated effects are quite low. In the case of hard Brexit, gross value added in wood processing and furniture might drop by 1.1% in 10 years and by a quarter of 1% in the case of an orderly Brexit. Effects of a similar magnitude are expected also in the paper processing industry, while in other industries that will be hurt by Brexit the estimated effects do not exceed 0.3% cumulatively in 10 years. There are, however, also industries that might benefit from Brexit, in particular the car industry, chemicals, meat processing and leather industry (a rise between 0.3% and 0.9%), while for other industries these effects will not exceed 0.1% in the 10-year period.
The potential aggregate impact of Brexit on employment is estimated to be relatively low. Our calculations show that about 237 jobs (soft Brexit) and up to 900 jobs (hard Brexit) might be at risk. Most of these jobs that are at risk are in the services industries and for qualified labor. However, these employment effects due to Brexit are lower by the factor of 5 when compared to regular seasonal fluctuations in the labour market.
All of Total Slovenia's stories on Brexit can be found here
I am sure that you will have seen the result of last week’s General Election in the UK, which returned Boris Johnson as Prime Minister with a substantial majority in Parliament. The Prime Minister has made clear that the Government’s first priority is to leave the EU on the 31st January, on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, and then conclude negotiations on a free trade agreement and security partnership by the end of 2020.
After the UK leaves the EU there will be an implementation period lasting until the end of 2020. During this period, arrangements will remain broadly the same while the UK and EU agree a future trade and security relationship. This will include, among other things, future immigration and work provisions for British nationals who come to live and work in Slovenia after 2020. This will not affect your status, which is guaranteed by the Withdrawal Agreement.
You might be wondering what this means for you. In short, if you have temporary or permanent residence in Slovenia, you will continue to be able to live and work in Slovenia as now. Your rights will be guaranteed by the Withdrawal Agreement concluded with the EU. The only action you may need to take is to ensure that you are legally resident in Slovenia before 31 December 2020, if you have not already done so. More information about how to do this is on our Living in Slovenia Guide.
I recognise that while there is clarity on the UK Government’s approach post-election, some of you may still be feeling uncertain about your status and what happens next. I will be hosting an event for UK nationals in the course of January to answer any questions you may have. Please check our Facebook page for further details. Please keep following us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and send any questions to our website or call us on (01) 200 39 10.
For now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the course of next year.
British Ambassador to Slovenia
Časoris is an online newspaper aimed at children. Each week we’ll take an article and post it here as a Slovene-English dual text.
Written by Romana Dobnikar Seruga, translated by JL Flanner & G Translate
Brexit, misija nemogoče?
Brexit, mission impossible?
Z brexitom bomo hitro opravili, je pred volitvami obljubljal Boris Johnson, premier in vodja britanskih torijcev.
Brexit will be done quickly, Boris Johnson promised before the election, the Prime Minister and leader of the British Tories.
Vodja laburistov in opozicije v parlamentu Jeremy Corbyn pa je napovedoval, da bo njegova vlada dosegla nov sporazum o brexitu, ki ga bodo nato državljani potrdili ali zavrnili na referendumu.
Labour and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, however, has announced that his government will reach a new Brexit agreement, which citizens will then either confirm or reject in a referendum.
V Veliki Britaniji danes volijo nove poslance in novo vlado. Zmagovalca čaka težka naloga, saj je vprašanje brexita oziroma izstopa Velike Britanije iz Evropske unije (EU) med državljane vneslo velik razdor. Eni so prepričani, da bi bilo življenje boljše brez EU, drugi menijo ravno nasprotno.
In Britain today, new MPs and a new government are being elected. The winner will have a difficult task as the issue of Brexit, or the UK's exit from the European Union (EU), has caused great disagreement among citizens. Some believe that life would be better without the EU, others think the opposite.
Negotov je položaj državljanov EU, ki živijo v Veliki Britaniji, in položaj Britancev, ki živijo v drugih državah EU. Nerešeno pa je tudi vprašanje meje z Irsko – ta bo po brexitu edina kopenska meja med Veliko Britanijo in EU.
The situation of EU citizens living in the UK and the situation of Britons living in other EU countries is uncertain. The issue of the border with Ireland is also unresolved - it will be the only land border between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
Uresničitev brexita se je v zadnjih treh letih izkazala za misijo nemogoče. Politiki so razdeljeni: eni se zavzemajo za čim hitrejši izstop iz EU, drugi bi radi nov referendum, tretji pa bi nanj najraje pozabili.
The realisation of Brexit has proven impossible for the past three years. Politicians are divided: one group is in favour of leaving the EU as soon as possible, the other would like a new referendum and the third would rather forget it.
V parlamentu niso hoteli potrditi še nobenega predloga sporazuma »o ločitvi«, zato je bil rok za brexit že trikrat prestavljen.
They did not want to approve any proposal for a "divorce agreement" in Parliament, so the Brexit deadline had already been postponed three times.
Zaradi tega je konservativna premierka Theresa May julija letos odstopila. Nasledil jo je Boris Johnson, ki prav tako ni dobil zadostne podpore v parlamentu.
As a result, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May resigned in July this year. She was succeeded by Boris Johnson, who also did not receive sufficient support in Parliament.
Predlagal je nove volitve, saj je računal na to, da bo v novem parlamentu več konservativnih poslancev.
He called a new election, as he hoped there would be more Conservative MPs in the new Parliament.
Kako bodo odločili volivci, se bo pokazalo danes.
How voters will decide will be revealed today.
Na volitvah v Veliki Britaniji so prepričljivo zmagali konservativci Borisa Johnsona.
In the UK election, the Conservative Boris Johnson won.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has made an election pledge to make it more difficult for EU citizens to enter the UK after Brexit, in the wake of a terrorist attack in London last Friday that has so far claimed two lives. The attack was carried out by a British citizen, born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent, and stopped by a group that included a Polish immigrant wielding a narwhal tusk that he obtained from the wall of a nearby fish market, in a scene that has since been viewed around the world.
After the incident the Conservative Party announced five changes to border rules, including a requirement for Europeans to submit to electronic clearance procedures before entering the UK. Under the proposal EU nationals would need to get clearance to visit the UK using a new Electronic Travel Authorisation, an online form intended “to screen arrivals and block threats from entering the UK,” similar to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) scheme used in America.
However, EU nationals should not feel singled out in having their freedom curtailed in this manner, as Prime Minister Johnson's Brexit plans would also see UK citizens lose freedom of movement to the EU 27 as well as more red tape when they choose to leave the British Isles, thus reducing their opportunities for travel, work, study and more, with the poorest being hit hardest by the changes.
STA, 17 October 2019 - Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec welcomed the deal on an orderly Brexit reached on Thursday by the EU and British negotiators and expressed hope that the deal will get support in the UK, as "time is really running out".
Šarec said he was happy with the deal as he spoke to the press on the sidelines of the two-day European Council meeting, which also discusses relations with Turkey, EU long-term budget and priorities for the next five years.
Asked whether Brexit would happen on 31 October, Šarec said that the EU leaders would first need to get acquainted with the report from the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and to see what the sentiment was.
The Slovenian prime minister hopes that "this agreement, which is certainly a better result than no deal at all," would not be rejected by Britain as it is one of the last, if not the last options.
According to Šarec, everything depends now on the British parliament and the European Parliament, while the EU leaders also need to get acquainted with the deal in the first place.
He personally believes that Barnier has reached a good deal as a good and experienced negotiator.
Šarec was also asked about the media reports on the alleged request by British PM Boris Johnson that the EU leaders exclude the possibility of a new postponement of Brexit and effectively help him push the deal through parliament.
He said that he and his EU counterparts needed to get acquainted with details first and that the opinion of Ireland and the European Commission was important.
Šarec criticised the entire process of looking for a Brexit deal, which he believes does not contribute to the reputation of the EU and the United Kingdom.
"Three years have passed, with more important topics being pushed aside," he lamented, adding that "everybody would like to see a solution. If we are not capable of making this happen, let them stay."
The deal was first announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and later presented at a press conference by Barnier, who said that an orderly Brexit could be implemented by the end of the month.
The key difference compared to the agreement with the former British PM Theresa May is the elimination of the disputable Irish backstop, which would be replaced with a new approach.
Prime Minister Johnson has called on the British MPs to back the deal. The British parliament decided today in a narrow vote to hold an extraordinary session on Saturday to discuss the deal.