Поновлений на посаді глава КС Шевчук вимагав допустити його на робоче місце, йому відмовили

16 жовтня поновлений на посаді суддя Конституційного суду України Станіслав Шевчук вимагав допустити його до робочого місця. Про це повідомили у КСУ.

«Він наголошував на тому, що в рішенні Окружного адміністративного суду міста Києва йдеться про негайне виконання рішення в частині поновлення Станіслава Шевчука на посаді судді та Голови Конституційного Суду України», – мовиться у повідомленні.

У судді Шевчуку сказали, що КС почав розгляд цього питання напередодні.

«Разом з тим, станом на 16 жовтня 2019 року, на час прибуття Станіслава Шевчука до Конституційного Суду України відсутнє Рішення Окружного адміністративного суду міста Києва у справі № 640/8752/19 завірене гербовою печаткою як цього вимагає чинне законодавство України. Крім того, як скорочений, так і повний тексти Рішення у цій справі відсутні у Єдиному державному реєстрі судових рішень. Надана особисто Станіславом Шевчуком 15 жовтня 2019 року копія скороченого судового Рішення Окружного адміністративного суду міста Києва від 11 жовтня 2019 року не завірена належним чином, як цього вимагає Інструкція з діловодства в адміністративних судах України», – заявили у КСУ.

14 травня КСУ звільнив голову суду Станіслава Шевчука з посади судді і призначив головою суду Наталію Шапталу. Шевчук назвав ці події «антиконституційним переворотом» і пізніше оскаржив це рішення у суді.

11 жовтня Окружний адміністративний суд Києва поновив на посаді колишнього голову Конституційного суду Станіслава Шевчука.

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За час анексії до Криму переселили 140 тисяч росіян – постпред президента в АРК

Представник президента України в АР Крим Антон Кориневич заявив, що через намагання змінити демографічну карту анексованого Криму Росія за час анексії переселила туди понад 140 тисяч російських громадян. Як передає телеканал UATV, таким чином, на думку Кориневича, Москва хоче збільшити на півострові кількість прихильників анексії.

«Це така практика держави-окупанта, коли вона заміщає населеніt окупованій території своїм населенням – для того, щоб змінити демографічну карту цієї місцевості. Переселяючи своїх громадян на півострів, безумовно, Росія порушує четверту Женевську конвенцію, що  захищає цивільне населення під час війни. Але це, по суті, ще й військовий злочин – за змістом восьмої статті Римського статуту Міжнародного кримінального суду. Безумовно, таке заміщення має одну мету – змінити склад населення для того, щоб там було більше людей, які є прихильниками дій окупаційних властей», – сказав Кориневич.

Реакції російської сторони на такі висловлювання українського чиновника поки немає.

Раніше національний лідер кримських татар Мустафа Джемілєв заявляв, що російська влада переселила в Крим майже мільйон осіб.

Прокуратура АРК кваліфікує зміну демографічної ситуації в анексованому Росією Криму як військовий злочин.

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Catalans March on Barcelona After 2 Nights of Violence

Spain’s government said Wednesday it would do whatever it takes to stamp out violence in Catalonia, where clashes between regional independence supporters and police have injured more than 200 people in two days.“Everything is prepared and (the government) will act, if needed, with firmness, proportionality and unity,” a government statement said.It said caretaker prime minister Pedro Sánchez was meeting with other national political leaders and “he doesn’t rule out any scenario.”Many people in Catalonia have long fought for it to break away from Spain and become a new European country. Demonstrations have traditionally been peaceful, but not always.A protestors raises his fist at police across a burning barricade during clashes between protestors and police in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019.Violent clashes erupted in Barcelona and other Catalan towns after Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday handed nine separatist Catalan leaders lengthy prison sentences for their part in an October 2017 effort to achieve independence.Rioting broke out Tuesday evening, when Barcelona police said 40,000 protesters packed the streets near the office of Spain’s government representative.Protesters turned over metal barriers, set fire to trash cans and threw firecrackers and other objects at police. The outnumbered police used foam bullets, batons and shields to battle the groups amid tense standoffs on Barcelona’s streets.An organization representing downtown Barcelona businesses, called Barcelona Abierta, said the violence in the city had caused “significant losses” and “deeply damaged” the image abroad of the popular tourist destination.The tumult prompted Sánchez, who is preparing for a general election Nov. 10, to consult with his party and other leading figures, some of whom are urging him to take a firmer hand.Albert Rivera, leader of the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party, traveled to the Catalan capital Barcelona and said the country faced “a state of emergency.”Popular Party leader Pablo Casado, a conservative, called for a government decree that would allow the central government to take over full control of the Catalan regional police, while the far-right Vox party wanted exceptional measures that would temporarily lift some civil rights.Policemen in riot gear move past a burning barricade during clashes with protestors in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 15, 2019.Police made 29 arrests in Barcelona, where more than 150 street barricades were set ablaze by protesters, according to the Interior Ministry.Similar protests turned violent in other towns in Catalonia, which has seen a rise in separatist sentiment over the past decade. Roughly half of the region’s 7.5 million residents support independence, with the other half opposing a breakaway, according to polls.Students in the restive region went on strike, with organizers urging them to remain peaceful.The marches and sporadic street protests continued to snarl traffic across the wealthy region. Flights and passenger movements at Barcelona airport have also been disrupted by protests.Traffic in downtown Barcelona was also slowed by the massive cleanup effort to remove the debris of burned barricades and trash.Gabriel Rufián, a leading Catalan separatist and member of Spain’s parliament, and some other high-profile secessionists, called for calm.“Nothing can justify violence,” Rufián told Cadena SER radio.Most impromptu protesters have responded to an online campaign by Tsunami Democratic, a shadowy grassroots group that uses encrypted messaging apps to call for peaceful disobedience.Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said authorities were investigating the group.But on Wednesday, the group issued a statement appealing for an end to the violence.The Supreme Court found nine of 12 Catalan politicians and activists guilty of sedition and gave them prison sentences of nine to 13 years. Four of them were additionally convicted of misuse of public funds. The other three were fined for disobeying court orders.

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Ukraine’s Chief Prosecutor Could Be Pivotal in Trump, Biden Standoff

 Ukraine’s new prosecutor general has only been in office since the end of August, but he will likely be central to the future course of any investigations relating to the impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump and the conduct of his possible rival, Joe Biden, in the 2020 presidential election.
Democrats say Trump tried to blackmail Ukraine to get it to investigate the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, when he sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.  Republicans deny the blackmail accusation and say there are legitimate questions that must be answered about the role of both Bidens in Ukrainian affairs.
Ukraine’s Chief Prosecutor Could Be Pivotal In Trump, Biden Standoff video player.
Embed” />CopyUkraine’s Chief Prosecutor Could Be Pivotal In Trump, Biden StandoffUkraine’s prosecutor general, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, was appointed by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and, at a press conference, he pledged to conduct an “audit” of all major cases investigated by his predecessor, including some involving Hunter Biden.
“After reviewing …those cases we will understand which decisions can be accepted, and which decisions have to be made. I cannot guess what kind of decisions will be taken,” Ryaboshapka told reporters October 4 in Kyiv.
He said 15 of those cases under review involve Burisma, the energy company where Hunter Biden sat on the board.
Burisma’s activities are difficult to track down. The company is registered in Cyprus and is based in Kyiv, but there are no listed headquarters in the Ukrainian capital.
 Owner Mykola Zlochevsky reportedly lives in Monaco; the only trace of him in Kyiv is a luxury shoe store called Zlocci, which is registered to Burisma Holdings. Zlochevsky has faced corruption allegations before but investigations have not revealed any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden or Joe Biden.
So how deep will the audit of the previous Burisma investigations go? Former opposition lawmaker Serhiy Leshenko, who served on the parliamentary anti-corruption committee in the previous administration, says Ukraine’s new prosecutor is trying to be diplomatic in the face of demands from the American president.
“We will look (at the cases). In reality it means nothing because ‘look’ doesn’t mean ‘investigate,'” Leshenko told VOA. “It’s an attempt to put Ukraine as this battlefield between two big political forces in the U.S.  And for Ukrainian success, we have to stay as far as possible from this mess.”
 Chief Prosecutor Ryaboshapka was a key member of President Zelenskiy’s team that swept to power in April’s elections.
“At the same time, he has his reputation as a very independent and a very unbiased person who resigned under the pressure of the previous president and his prosecutor general,” adds Leshenko.
Leshenko himself was involved in another corruption case involving the United States – the prosecution of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was jailed for seven-and-a-half years on fraud and conspiracy charges.
Another key player in the Manafort prosecution was Viktor Trepak, former deputy head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who has now been appointed deputy prosecutor general.
 President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has previously suggested that Ukraine’s help in the prosecution of Paul Manafort was an attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to benefit the Democrats. Leshenko rejects that claim and says investigations have shown there is no evidence.
“Nothing happened in the sense of interference in the American elections. It was just part of a conspiracy theory constructed by the previous prosecutor general and Mr. Giuliani was happy to believe in this,” Leshenko told VOA.
New Prosecutor General Ryaboshapka is tasked with transforming a dysfunctional system, says Brian Bonner, Editor of the Kyiv Post newspaper.
“There’s one thing you should know: in 28 years of Ukrainian national independence since the break-up of the Soviet Union, nobody has been convicted of any major corruption,” Bonner said.
 Ukraine Fears Collateral Damage From Trump Impeachment ProbeTeaser DescriptionPresident Zelenskiy tries to stay neutral amid competing Republican, Democrat claimsThat has to change, says former deputy prosecutor David Sakvarelidze – who was also fired after clashing with the previous administration in Ukraine.
“Otherwise the country is just drowning into corruption. Ukraine can have a stimulus for example and a chance of really launching a very aggressive anti-corruption policy in this regard. And Zelenskiy’s team possesses and has every instrument to achieve this goal. They have a majority in the parliament, they have 100% of their government,” Sakvarelidze told VOA.
Ruslan Ryoaboshapka and his new team will be central to that formidable task.   

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Харківська міська рада підтримала «формулу Штайнмаєра»

53 депутати міської ради Харкова підтримали звернення до президента України Володимира Зеленського, в якому назвали так звану «формулу Штайнмаєра» «єдиним шляхом припинення війни». Проти виступили 12 депутатів.

Звернення під час сесії Харківської міської ради зачитав мер міста Геннадій Кернес.

Міська рада Харкова вимагає припинити акції «Ні капітуляції!» та висловлює підтримку позиції президента України Володимира Зеленського.

«Ми, депутати Харківської міської ради, підтримуємо президента України у пошуках миру. Ми вважаємо «формулу Штайнмаєра» єдиним на сьогодні реальним шляхом до припинення війни. Відведення військ не є відступом, а є кроком вперед до ще більшого припинення вогню, а отже, і смертей», – йдеться у зверненні.

Харківська міська рада закликала колег з органів місцевого самоврядування усіх рівнів «підтримати зусилля президента України Володимира Зеленського у його діяльності на шляху повернення миру в Україну».

Перед початком сесії члени громадських організацій, що входять до складу «Штабу спротиву капітуляції», передали у міську раду звернення із вимогою до депутатів висловитися проти підписання «формули Штайнмаєра», яку вважають загрозою суверенітету України. Утім, міська рада це звернення не підтримала.

Раніше проти «формули Штайнмаєра» виступили, зокрема, міські ради Сум, Кропивницького, Черкас, обласні ради Івано-Франківщини та Львівщини.

Тристороння контактна група в столиці Білорусі Мінську 1 жовтня узгодила й підписала документ, що розвиває так звану «формулу Штайнмаєра». Документ передбачає запровадження закону про особливий статус окупованої частини Донбасу після проведення там місцевих виборів, відповідно до законодавства України.

Читайте також: Що таке «формула Штайнмаєра» і чи капітулював Зеленський перед Москвою?

Цю формулу запропонував свого часу колишній міністр закордонних справ Німеччини і на той час голова ОБСЄ Франк-Вальтер Штайнмаєр. Згідно з його пропозиціями, Донбас отримує «особливий статус» (тимчасово набуває чинності закон про особливості місцевого самоврядування в ОРДЛО) в день проведення виборів на окупованих територіях на тимчасовій основі. Після того, як ОБСЄ засвідчує законність таких виборів, закон набуває чинності постійно.

У відповідь на рішення узгодити текст «формули Штайнмаєра» в українських містах періодично відбуваються акції «Ні капітуляції!»

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Захист Фірташа допоміг адвокатові Трампа атакувати Байдена – Time

Захист українського олігарха-втікача Дмитра Фірташа, який зараз очікує на екстрадицію із Австрії до США, передав адвокатові американського президента Дональда Трампа Руді Джуліані документи, які містять суперечливі обвинувачення на адресу колишнього віцепрезидента США Джо Байдена і колишнього спецпрокурора Роберта Мюллера, повідомляє Time.

Видання посилається на п’ятьох людей, причетних до цього питання, і ще двох, знайомих із ним.

За даними Time, Джуліані, зокрема, передали матеріали зі свідченнями колишнього генпрокурора України Віктора Шокіна, який стверджував, що був змушений припинити розслідування стосовно компанії Burisma, членом ради директорів якої був Гантер Байден, син віцепрезидента США Джо Байдена, під тиском з боку США. Шокін також заявляв, що був звільнений із посади через тиск із боку США.


Як пише видання, Джуліані згодом показував ці документи телеканалу FoxNews, але при цьому не згадував, де він їх узяв.

Крім того, як пише Time, адвокату Трампа також передали документи, які свідчили про пропозицію одного із ключових заступників спецпрокурора Мюллера, який проводив розслідування щодо російського втручання у вибори в США 2016 року, зняти звинувачення з Фірташа в 2017 році в обмін на свідчення, які могли б нашкодити президентові Трампу. За даними Time, йдеться про Ендрю Вайсмана, якого Мюллер називав «одним із найталановитіших прокурорів» у своїй команді.

Видання пише, що Вайсман не відповів на електронного листа з проханням про коментар.


Джуліані на питання про свої зв’язки із командою Фірташа написав, що «не представляє пана Фірташа і ніколи з ним не зустрічався».

Адвокати Фірташа також від вересня не відповіли на численні питання щодо їхніх зв’язків із Джуліані, пише Time.

У вересні Палата представників Конгресу США, де більшість мають демократи, оголосила про початок офіційного розслідування щодо імпічменту президента Дональда Трампа.


Демократи вважають, що Трамп тиснув на українську владу, вимагаючи розслідувати діяльність на Україні Гантера Байдена, сина кандидата в президенти США Джо Байдена, а також інформацію про причетність до втручання в американські вибори українців.

На думку критиків Трампа, спроби залучити іноземну допомогу в боротьбі зі своїм потенційним суперником на майбутніх президентських виборах можуть стати підставою для оголошення імпічменту президенту.

Трамп усі закиди на свою адресу відкидає і називає розслідування «полюванням на відьом».





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Clashes Erupt in Barcelona as Catalan Separatists Protest Sentences for Leaders

Protesters and police clashed late on Tuesday in Barcelona during rallies against the jailing of nine Catalan separatist leaders, with the unusually tense confrontations turning into a major challenge for Spanish and regional authorities.Protesters threw cans, stones and flares at riot police, and set garbage containers and cardboard on fire in the middle of several streets in Barcelona, including a thoroughfare housing designer stores and the stock exchange.Fences were on fire next to La Pedrera, one of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s most famous buildings and one of the city’s main tourist attractions.Police charged several times through the crowd with batons and fired foam projectiles at the protesters. A spokesman for the regional Mossos police said they were trying to make space around the local headquarters of the Spanish government. Four people were detained, the spokesman said.A Reuters cameraman was hit by police in the leg while filming them charge at protesters. The cameraman, clearly identified as a journalist by a press armband, was hit from behind by a police baton.This was the second day of protests after the Supreme Court sentenced nine separatist leaders to nine to 13 years in jail over their role in a failed bid to break away from Spain in 2017.The clashes are a challenge for the regional, pro-independence authorities and the central government in Madrid, both of which are facing a fragmented political landscape and an economic slowdown.Catalan separatism has long prided itself on being a peaceful movement and its leaders say that has not changed. But there were concerns in Madrid already before Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that heavy jail sentences for the separatist leaders could unleash pent-up frustration among a radicalized fringe, a senior parliamentary source told Reuters.A spokeswoman for the pro-independence Catalan regional government was quick to say that separatists had proven they were peaceful and that an isolated group behaved violently, sullying their reputation.”The regional government condemns all violent actions as we always have done,” spokeswoman Meritxell Budo told Spanish national broadcaster TVE.Spain’s acting government warned in a statement it would step in if needed to guarantee security in the region, without elaborating.”A minority is trying to impose violence in the streets of Catalan cities,” the statement said. “It is obvious that this is not a peaceful movement,” the government said, while praising coordination between regional and national police Catalonia’s independence drive triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades in 2017 and still dominates much of the country’s fractured political debate. It was a major theme in a parliamentary election in April and will likely be as well for the new, snap election set for Nov. 10.SecurityThe leader of Spain’s centre-right People’s Party, Pablo Casado, on Twitter called for acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to activate a national security law and take control of Catalonia’s security forces to “guarantee security and public order.”Spain’s main parties have consistently refused to hold an independence referendum in Catalonia, although the Socialists say they are open to dialogue on other issues.Police also charged protesters in the cities of Girona and Tarragona, TV footage showed. Catalan police warned people on Twitter not to approach the epicenter of protests in Barcelona and Girona for safety reasons.Reuters reporters saw Spanish national police firing blanks in the air from rubber bullet guns in Barcelona. Police could not immediately be reached for comment.Earlier in the evening, thousands of peaceful demonstrators ad taken to the streets of the regional capital. Some lit candles and chanted “Freedom for political prisoners.”Pro-independence leaders have vowed to keep pushing for a new referendum on secession, saying Monday’s prison sentences strengthened the movement.Oriol Junqueras, who was given the longest sentence of 13 years for his role in organizing the 2017 referendum which was ruled illegal, told Reuters in his first interview after the sentence that it would only galvanize the independence movement.”We’re not going to stop thinking what we think, ideals can’t be derailed by (jail) sentences,” he said, adding that a new plebiscite was “inevitable”.Demonstrators had blocked railways on Monday and thousands descended on Barcelona’s international airport, where some clashed with police. An airport spokesman said 110 flights were cancelled on Monday and 45 more were cancelled on Tuesday.Diana Riba, wife of convicted leader Raul Romeva, told Reuters the independence drive would prevail over time.”This is a very long process, but we will see results as we did with the feminist movement, how they grew until becoming massive and achieving the rights that they were seeking,” she said, calling for “everyone to take to the streets.”

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Гривня втратила 25 копійок стосовно долара – НБУ

Гривня втратила 25 копійок стосовно долара, свідчать дані на сайті Національного банку України.

На 16 жовтня офіційна вартість долара встановлена на рівні 24 гривень 78 копійок.

Євро коштуватиме 27 гривень 28 копійок (це на 19 копійок дорожче порівняно з 15 жовтням).


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Пенс і Джуліані не збираються співпрацювати з Конгресом у справі про імпічмент Трампа

Віцепрезидент США Майк Пенс і адвокат президента США Руді Джуліані 15 жовтня заявили, що не збираються співпрацювати з Конгресом у справі про імпічмент президента Дональда Трампа.

Пенс через свого адвоката заявив, що не надаватиме довгий перелік документів, пов’язаних із Україною, які запитує Палата представників.

Джуліані також відмовився від співпраці з парламентом і заявив про готовність до звинувачень у неповазі до Конгресу.

Представники Демократичної партії США вважають, що президент США Дональд Трамп тиснув на українську владу, вимагаючи розслідувати діяльність на Україні Гантера Байдена, сина кандидата в президенти США Джо Байдена, а також інформацію про причетність до втручання в американські вибори українців. На думку критиків Трампа, спроби залучити іноземну допомогу в боротьбі зі своїм потенційним суперником на майбутніх президентських виборах можуть стати підставою для оголошення імпічменту президенту.

Трамп усі закиди на свою адресу відкидає і називає розслідування «полюванням на відьом».

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Nigeria’s Land Borders  Closed to All Goods, Customs Chief Says

Nigeria has closed its land borders to all movement of goods and has no timeline for reopening them, the head of the nation’s customs agency said, as part of an effort to curb smuggling.”All goods for now are banned from being exported or imported through our land borders and that is to ensure we have total control over what comes in,” Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs Service, told reporters in Abuja on Monday. Africa’s largest economy launched a partial border closure in August as part of an effort to thwart smuggling of rice and other goods, and there had been widespread local media reports of a broader closure.But Ali’s announcement was the first official confirmation of a total shutdown in trade across Nigeria’s land borders — including goods that had been moving legally.”We are strategizing on how best the goods can be handled when we eventually get to the point where this operation will relax for the influx of goods,” he said. He did not give a timeline for any relaxation of the controls.The closure has no impact on Nigeria’s economically crucial oil exports, which are shipped out almost entirely via the nation’s seaports and offshore oil platforms.Ali added that despite the land border closure, it would still be possible for goods to cross at points equipped with special scanners, but did not say where those locations were.Ali said reopening the borders would depend on the actions of neighboring states, and that as long as they and Nigeria were not in accord on what goods should be imported or exported overland, the frontier would remain shut.The move is likely to make a variety of food items, such as rice, tomatoes, poultry and sugar, more expensive for consumers.While it was illegal to bring these items into the country via land borders even before the border closure, they had been widely smuggled.”Already we are seeing effects on prices and inflation and I’m guessing we will see effects on Q3 GDP once that data comes out in November,” said Nonso Obikili, director at the Turgot Center for Economics and Policy Research in Abuja.Exports are also restricted, which will stop movements of cocoa and sesame seeds via land borders, Obikili said.Ali noted that legal exports could continue via seaports, but Nigeria’s congested terminals and dilapidated road and rail networks make it difficult to quickly change export routes.Deliveries of gasoline in Nigeria had also dropped by nearly 20 percent during the early stage of the border closure, according to the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.Gasoline, whose prices is capped in Nigeria, is frequently smuggled across land borders and sold in neighboring countries.

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EU: Brexit Deal in Sight but UK Must Still Do More

European Union officials hoped to sketch out a Brexit deal with Britain within hours, but negotiations stretched into early Wednesday in the latest effort at producing an agreement in more than three years of false starts and sudden reversals.
The bloc said it might be possible to strike a divorce deal by Thursday’s EU leaders’ summit, which comes just two weeks before the U.K’s scheduled departure date of Oct. 31. One major proviso: The British government must make more compromises to seal an agreement in the coming hours.
Britain and the EU have been here before – within sight of a deal only to see it dashed – but a surge in the British pound Tuesday indicated hope that this time could be different. The currency rose against the dollar to its highest level in months.
Even though many questions remain, diplomats made it clear that both sides were within touching distance of a deal for the first time since a U.K. withdrawal plan fell apart in the British House of Commons in March.
Still, talks that first lingered into Tuesday night turned into negotiating past midnight as no deal materialized between experts from both sides holed up at EU headquarters in a darkened Brussels.
Late Tuesday, Martin Schirdewan, a German member of the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, said an agreement was “now within our grasp” following a breakthrough in negotiations.
This week’s EU leaders’ meeting – the last scheduled summit before the Brexit deadline – was long considered the last opportunity to approve a divorce agreement. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists his country will leave at the end of the month with or without an agreement, although U.K. lawmakers are determined to push for another delay rather than risk a chaotic no-deal Brexit.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said at a meeting of the bloc’s ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday that the main challenge now is to turn the new British proposals on the complex Irish border issue into something legally binding. EU member Ireland has a land border with the U.K.’s Northern Ireland, and both want to keep goods and people flowing freely across the currently invisible frontier.
A frictionless border underpins both the local economy and the 1998 peace accord that ended decades of Catholic-Protestant violence in Northern Ireland. But once Britain exits, that border will turn into an external EU frontier that the bloc wants to keep secure.
Barnier wants a clear answer by Wednesday morning, so EU capitals can prepare for the bloc’s two-day summit that begins Thursday. “It is still possible this week,” said Barnier. As so often, intricate details kept hopes from turning into immediate reality.European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaks with the media as he arrives for a meeting of EU General Affairs ministers, Article 50, at the European Convention Center in Luxembourg, Oct. 15, 2019. 
The big question is how far Johnson’s government is prepared to budge on its insistence that the U.K., including Northern Ireland, must leave the European Union’s customs union – something that would require checks on goods passing between the U.K. and the EU, including on the island of Ireland.
The British government has given away little detail of the proposals it has made on the issue; even government ministers have not been told specifics. In broad terms, the U.K. is proposing that Northern Ireland – but not the rest of the U.K. – continue to follow EU customs rules and tariffs after Brexit in order to remove the need for border checks.
But that sounds like a customs union in all but name – and would mean new checks or tariffs on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
An EU official said Barnier told a teleconference of some lawmakers that the Irish Sea would largely become the customs border between the EU and the U.K. That would avoid having a visible land border on the island of Ireland between the two. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing.
But Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, the party that props up Johnson’s minority government, strongly opposes any measures that could loosen the bonds between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K.
After DUP leaders met with Johnson late Tuesday at the prime minister’s office, the party said negotiations continued but “it would be fair to indicate gaps remain and further work is required.”
Brexit supporters are also wary that maintaining any kind of customs union with the EU will tie the U.K. to the bloc’s regulations and limit its ability to strike new trade deals around the world – undermining what were supposed to be some of the key benefits of a withdrawal.
The customs proposals on the table also appear similar to those put forward by former Prime Minister Theresa May. Opposition from pro-Brexit lawmakers, including Johnson, led to those being rejected by Parliament three times.
In public, Johnson has not changed his tune. But the British leader was working hard behind the scenes to secure a deal that would allow him to fulfil his vow to take the U.K. out of the bloc. And some of the staunchest Brexit-backers appeared willing to give him a chance.
“I am optimistic that it is possible for us to reach a tolerable deal that I will be able to vote for,” said pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Steve Baker.
On Tuesday, Johnson called French President Emmanuel Macron – one of the EU leaders most skeptical about Britain’s intentions – to discuss where elements of a compromise could be found. Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, called the conversation “constructive.”
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who had a long, intense talk with Barnier early Tuesday, said the EU believes a deal “is difficult, but it is doable.” He said Barnier addressed EU ministers and “did point to progress in the last number of days where the gaps have been narrowed.”
Still, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the British proposals to keep the Irish border protected from smuggling and fraud once it leaves the bloc were insufficient.
EU ministers insisted it was Johnson’s turn to make the next move – and he seemed to be listening. In addition to the call with Macron, Johnson shifted Britain’s weekly Cabinet meeting from Tuesday to Wednesday to give his ministers a better idea of Brexit progress.
If talks fail or stumble ahead of the EU summit, there could always be an extraordinary meeting just before the Brexit deadline – or it could be extended again. It has already been postponed twice.
“There will be progress tomorrow, the question is how big this progress will be,” said a senior German official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity in line with department rules. “Is this progress so great that work is still needed, but this work can be done in the next few days? Or is the progress such that two more months’ work is needed?”

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Erdogan Remains Defiant in Face of US Sanctions

U.S. sanctions on Turkey over its Syrian military offensive are being dismissed by the political leadership in Ankara, as financial markets shrug off the measures.Sanctions were announced against Turkish officials on Monday as negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal ended. While a tariff on Turkish steel was doubled to 50%, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the measures would remain until Turkey declared a cease-fire with the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG.Last week, Turkish forces launched a major military attack into Syria against the YPG, considered by Ankara to be linked to terrorism inside Turkey. The YPG has been a U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State terror group.With over 100,000 people displaced by the fighting, and fears mounting that the operation is opening the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group, international condemnation continues to grow.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the Trump administration’s measures.”We have seen all the threats from sanctions to embargoes, just because we fight against terrorism,” he said.Erdogan later pledged to continue with the operation until “all our objectives had been achieved.”FILE PHOTO: A merchant counts Turkish lira banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2019. Erdogan’s defiant stance comes as Turkish financial markets were mostly unaffected by the sanctions. Analysts say sanctions were widely seen in Turkey as symbolic and posed little threat to financial institutions or the broader economy.U.S. President Donald Trump’s previous increase of Turkish steel tariffs a year ago over the jailing of American pastor Andrew Brunson plunged the Turkish economy into crisis. Brunson subsequently was released; however, some analysts say the Turkish financial markets are more resilient.”The then-imposition of sanctions on an ally was pretty much uncharted territory,” said an international banking analyst, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “But since then, the markets are more prepared for assessing sanctions.”News of Trump’s sanctions saw the Turkish currency, the lira, increase in value, along with gains in the broader financial markets. The gains came after several days of losses fueled by growing fears of more draconian sanctions from the United States. Both Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Congress are united in a rare bipartisan consensus in condemning Turkey’s military operation.FILE – Sen. Lindsey Graham, speaks to reporters after a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 21, 2019.Trump’s sanctions are seen as at least postponing, if not averting, more stringent measures against Turkey. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen are proposing legislation targeting Turkey’s energy and military sectors, along with other financial measures.Graham has indicated he is ready to wait to see if Trump’s measures will be effective. Analysts suggest, at least for now, that Turkey has had a narrow escape.”If Graham’s bill passes, Turkey will be in deep trouble,” said analyst Atilla Yesilada of Global Source Partners. “Last week, [Turkish] state banks sold a billion dollars to stabilize the currency. This threat of sanctions is a long-term affair.”The threat of significant damage to Turkey’s economy from sanctions remains.”If these sanctions don’t achieve the required results, and if Turkish involvement in Syria goes on and even deepens, then there might be further sanctions, as this path has been opened,” the anonymous analyst said.Local traffic follows as U.S. Army vehicles with flags drive down the street allegedly near the Syrian-Turkish border town Kobane, Syria, Oct. 12, 2019 in this still image taken from video. Deeper punishmentPence warned of further U.S. measures if Turkey continues with its military operation. He also gave a specific warning to Ankara not to attack the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobane on Turkey’s border. Erdogan has declared it a key objective in Turkey’s military offensive.The Turkish operation seeks to create what Erdogan calls “a “safe zone” in Syria about 400 kilometers (250 miles) long and 30 kilometers (19 miles) deep. The zone not only aims to secure the Turkish border from the threat of the Kurdish militia, but also to allow the return of up to 2 million refugees living in Turkey.”We will secure the area extending from Manbij [in Syria] to the Iraqi border, and then facilitate 1 million Syrian refugees’ return home in the first phase. And later on, the return of 2 million people,” Erdogan said Tuesday in a speech in Baku, Azerbaijan.Analysts say Erdogan faces increasing domestic pressure, with growing public discontent over the presence of 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.Pence said he plans to visit Turkey for high-level talks, which are expected this week. Analysts warn that Erdogan’s room for maneuver is likely to be limited.”I can’t imagine the repercussions at home of Turkish soldiers picking up and going back,” Yesilada said. “Erodgan will have to pay some price for staying there in some limited way.”

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