The European Commission has launched a youth volunteer “solidarity” corps to foster unity with the European Union, by encouraging young people to relocate within Europe for up to a year to participate in social schemes. With youth unemployment in some EU member states running as high as 46.5 per cent, the Commission has drawn up a scheme for 18-30-year-olds whereby they can take up voluntary placements, supplemented by a grant, or occupational placements such as traineeships or apprenticeships in a range of sectors. It hopes to enrol 100,000 within the corps by the end of 2020 with the aim of fostering solidarity between member states, by engaging them primarily to assist with tackling national crises. The corps was first announced by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union address, in which he said: “We often show solidarity most readily when faced with emergencies. When the Portuguese hills were burning, Italian planes doused the flames.
The EU recommended Thursday that member states resume sending asylum seekers back to Greece from March next year, after transfers were halted for five years because of poor conditions there. Brussels said it was a key step towards restoring the European Union’s migration policies and the passport-free Schengen zone, which nearly collapsed under the pressure of the 2015 migrant crisis. But rights group Amnesty International said it was “outrageously hypocritical” to put pressure on Greece when it had borne the lion’s share of the more than one million migrants who have flooded into the EU. “We are recommending the gradual resumption of Dublin transfers of asylum seekers starting next year” from March 15, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told a press conference.
DUTCH right-wing Freedom Party has soared ahead to lead the polls ahead of the parliamentary elections. The party, led by the controversial Geert Wilders, would beat prime minister Mark Rutte’s ruling conservative liberals if elections were held today. The Freedom Party (PVV) can count on 29 seats out of the 150-seat chamber, according to the latest IPSOS poll, making it the largest party in the Netherlands. In the space of one month the popularity of the PVV has surged with an increase of six seats. Pollsters said the PVV’s populist stance has attracted voters. The data suggests Eurosceptic Mr Wilders could become the Netherlands’ next prime minister, potentially spelling the end of Dutch membership of the EU. Frustrations have grown with the current coalition government and an ongoing court trial involving Mr Wilders has boosted his support.
Ministers have privately conceded European judges may still hold sway in post-Brexit legal disputes involving British parties, despite Theresa May vowing to end the authority of EU law. Members of the Government have come to the conclusion as they explore the “devilishly complex” task of winding down the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the UK. The admission could be embarrassing for the Prime Minister after she said in her flagship conference speech at Tory conference that the UK is not leaving the EU “only to return” to the ECJ’s jurisdiction. It also comes after the most senior British member of the Luxemburg court warned that it would have “ultimate authority” on the Brexit case currently being fought at the UK’s Supreme Court.
Britain’s Supreme Court will decide as quickly as possible whether Prime Minister Theresa May can trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union by the end of March without parliament’s assent, its president said on Thursday. Last month, the High Court decided that May could not invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s exit clause, using executive powers known as the “royal prerogative”. “We are not being asked to overturn the result of the EU referendum,” Supreme Court President David Neuberger said at the end of a four-day appeal in which the government sought to overturn the High Court ruling. “The ultimate question in this case concerns the process by which that result can lawfully be brought into effect,” he said. The case could potentially hamper May’s Brexit plans, and investors believe involving lawmakers would lessen the chances of a “hard” Brexit, where Britain gives up access to the single European market in order to impose tighter immigration controls.
THE FAILED European single currency could come crashing down in a matter of years, according to former prime minister David Cameron. Cameron told a gathering of students at DePauw University in Indiana, US, about his concerns over the Euro, and said: “It is not working as it was intended.” In his first major speech since resigning at the Tory leader, Cameron said: “I see more trouble ahead… I wonder how long it can last. “Some countries have seen decades of lost growth – those countries have a single currency but they don’t have a single fiscal system, a fiscal tax system. It creates bigger differences.” “You in the United States have ways to make sure that if you have a bad year you pay less in taxes and offset federal programmes. There are no such arrangements in Europe.” However, the Remoaner still appears optimistic about the EU, saying he didn’t think other countries would follow Britain out of the European bloc.
The British parliament’s vote on Wednesday to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to trigger Brexit by end-March is “highly significant” to the legal battle over who has the power to authorise the step, a government lawyer said on Thursday. The comment was made in the Supreme Court by James Eadie, who is acting for the government in an appeal against a ruling that would oblige ministers to seek parliament’s assent before triggering Article 50, the EU’s exit clause. MPs voted 448 to 75 on Wednesday to support a motion calling on the government to give details of its Brexit plan, but also backing the government’s timetable to trigger the divorce procedure by the end of March.
The historic Brexit legal challenge has drawn to a close with a reminder from the Supreme Court that it will not “overturn the result of the EU referendum”. Lord Neuberger said the case focused on “the process by which that result can lawfully be brought into effect”. The Supreme Court president promised a decision “as soon as possible”. The hearing ended with the government’s lawyer arguing ministers have the authority to trigger Brexit. The case centres on the whether the UK government has the power to serve notice of its intention to quit the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty or whether, as various campaigners have claimed, it must seek Parliament’s authorisation. The first case to be heard before all Supreme Court 11 justices, it has pitted some of the leading figures in the legal world against each other and included arguments from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
MPs have voted in favour of the Government’s timetable to trigger the formal process for leaving the European Union by March 2017, as long as the Prime Minister reveals her plan for Brexit. The symbolic motion, which is not legally binding, was approved by 448 votes to 75 – a majority of 373. Faced with a revolt by up to 40 Conservative MPs, Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday bowed to pressure and backed a Labour motion which said she should publish a plan before triggering Article 50. In return, most of the rebels and Labour backed a compromise Government amendment to support Mrs May’s pledge to invoke Article 50 to start Brexit before 31 March 2017.
Islamic State militants are using turmoil sown by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bombing in Syria to plot attacks against the United Kingdom and her allies, Britain’s foreign intelligence chief said on Thursday. In his first major public speech since winning the top job at the Secret Intelligence Service in 2014, MI6 chief Alex Younger said Russia and Bashar al-Assad were hindering the defeat of militants by attempting to make a “desert” out of Syria. “As I speak, the highly organised external attack planning structures within Daesh (IS), even as they face military threat, are plotting ways to project violence against the UK and our allies without ever having to leave Syria,” Younger said at MI6’s Vauxhall Cross headquarters in central London.
Conservative Party candidate Caroline Johnson has won the Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election. Dr Johnson won 17,570 votes, beating UKIP’s Victoria Ayling, who had 4,426. In her acceptance speech, she said: “I look forward to strengthening the Government’s majority in Parliament so Theresa May, our Prime Minister, can get on with the job of triggering Article 50, leaving the European Union and building a country and economy that works for everyone.” UKIP leader Paul Nuttall said it was “a great result” for his party, even though UKIP’s share of the vote was 2.2 percentage points down on 2015.
THE foreign aid department has said it is considering how to increase scrutiny of contractor spending after an investigation found it had soared to £1 billion a year. Analysis of financial records from the Department for International Development (DfID) by The Times found spending on contractors from the foreign aid budget had doubled since 2012. The newspaper found examples that included consultants being paid more than £1,000 a day, a UK think tank that quoted more than £10,000 to write a single blog post, and another that was given £23,000 to write a two-page document on policy. One bank and a law firm shared £1 million to advise on Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, while £40,000 was paid for celebrity speakers to appear at an aid conference in Mexico, The Times found.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is facing his own revolt over Brexit, after MPs criticised his fight against the Article 50 exit notice. Rebels say they cannot face their voters if they have given the impression they are failing to “accept the result of the referendum”. One said the Lib Dems should rise above “meaningless gesture politics and party political games” he said were played by Labour and the Tories in the Commons this week and be fully focussed on fighting for the best possible Brexit deal. Three of Mr Farron’s MPs – a third of his shrunken Commons party – failed to obey his instruction to vote against Theresa May’s rapid timetable for withdrawal on Wednesday, with the rebellion threatening to undermine his claim that “only the Liberal Democrats are providing a real opposition to the Conservative Brexit government”.
LABOUR MPs who voted to thwart Brexit despite serving ‘Leave’ areas were last night told to start looking for another job by UKIP’s new leader. Paul Nuttall said his party would devote all its energy towards booting out the five MPs who had “gone against the will of the people”. The vow came amid predictions Labour could come as low as FOURTH in last night’s Sleaford by-election in Lincolnshire – a Brexit heartland. Five Labour MPs in Leave constituencies across the North, the Midlands and Wales were among the 89 who refused to commit to Theresa May’s timetable for Brexit in the Commons on Wednesday night. Mr Nuttall said the five – Barry Sheerman, Angela Smith, Graham Allen, Chris Evans and Paul Farrelly – had written their political epitaths.
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a man some believe could be the next U.S. Secretary of State, has praised Britain for leaving the European Union and says a bilateral trade deal between the UK and U.S. should be a priority. Speaking Thursday morning on Breitbart News Daily with Raheem Kassam the California Congressman said that trade needed to be viewed in a way that supports its allies and fights against the enemies of the United States. The Congressman was asked a number of questions relating to his view on the UK leaving the European Union and said that a deal with trusted allies like Britain should be high on the priority list for the incoming Trump administration. “Great Britain has always been significant to our own security and our own prosperity,” he said and added, “the fact that Great Britain is now charting a course that could put them back as partners of the United States rather than as part of a much larger entity.” He then went on to say that the United States must make arrangements with the UK and that should be “high on our priority list.”
KFC has revealed plans to overtake McDonald’s in Britain for the first time. The chicken company wants to expand its empire by 50% to make it the country’s biggest fast-food chain. It hopes to open 400 more restaurants, taking its total to 1,250 outlets nationwide. Bitter rival McDonald’s only has around 1,200 restaurants. KFC hopes most of the new diners will be drive-throughs – but it may also open some smaller eateries. There are also plans for a large number of out-of-town locations at transport hubs. KFC chief development officer Chris Holmes said: “We’re proud to be growing and each new KFC brings a range of local investments.
Fast food giant McDonald’s is moving its European base to the UK in a dramatic vote of confidence in Brexit. The firm is to establish a new holding company in this country where it will pay tax on most of its income outside of the US. The Treasury could rake in hundreds of millions of pounds a year as a result. The shift, which will begin in the New Year, comes after the EU launched a probe into the company’s tax arrangements at its current base in Luxembourg. It represents a significant turnaround, as McDonald’s warned in the run-up to the historic EU referendum that Brexit would be damaging and drive up unemployment. In July the company announced it was creating 5,000 jobs after franchise managers made a £600million investment to overhaul the 1,250 restaurants in the UK.
McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) said on Thursday it would move its international tax base to the United Kingdom from Luxembourg after coming under increased scrutiny from European Union regulators over its tax arrangements in the small country. McDonald’s said it would create a new international holding company domiciled in the UK that would receive the majority of royalties from licensing deals outside the United States. “We are aligning our corporate structure with the way we do business, which is no longer in geographies, but in segments that group together countries with common market and growth characteristics,” McDonald’s said in a statement. The move will also help to cut costs, McDonald’s said.
A MASSIVE 6.9-magnitude earthquake has rocked the dangerous San Andreas fault line in California before a larger quake on the Solomon Islands – raising fears the “Big One” is on the way. The epicentre was 165km west of Ferndale, California, at a shallow depth of 10km according to the scientific agency. No tsumami warning was issued, but a massive 7.8 magnitude quake in the Solomon Islands followed soon after. Social media users said they felt the California tremor in San Francisco, about 418.43 km south. Antonis Papatsaras from the Bay Area city wrote: “That was a big one.”JP Rinylo wrote: “Totally felt the Earth moving under my feet”. Chasa Toliver-Léger added: “I felt it! My building in the Marina has yet to be retrofitted so we wobbled back and forth!” California is known to sit on the deadly San Andreas fault, which has created a killing zone predicted to cause the deaths of millions.