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BACKGROUND THIS WEEK in Brexit: A surprise from Farage and a 'charm offensive'

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - Two key ministers led what British media called a "charm offensive" to persuade German business leaders and politicians to back their push for special protection for financial services in any post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

Meanwhile, at home, two unexpected voices added their support to growing calls for a second Brexit referendum.

- Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip HAMMOND and Brexit Secretary David DAVIS risked fresh tensions with Brussels by calling for a new model of cooperation with Berlin and the European Union, despite EU officials insisting that negotiations must be handled out of Brussels, not between Britain and individual EU members.

Hammond and Davis set out their plans in an article for a German newspaper, calling for a "BESPOKE SOLUTION" aimed at maximizing economic cooperation between Britain and the bloc, before making separate speeches in Berlin and Munich.

There was no sign that their BREXIT DIPLOMACY had paid immediate dividends. Indeed, both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and top EU officials have previously firmly rejected any moves by London to cherry-pick in an exit agreement.

- In London, former UK Independence Party leader and self-styled protector of Brexit Nigel FARAGE caused another stir on Thursday by suggesting he was close to backing calls for a second referendum.

"The last thing I‘ve ever wanted is another EU referendum, but I fear it may be forced upon us. We have to BE PREPARED," Farage said in a rallying call to Brexit supporters on Twitter.

Farage‘s suggestion drew immediate support from his friend and Leave.EU co-founder Arron BANKS, who said Prime Minister Theresa May‘s cabinet "couldn‘t be trusted to deliver Brexit," but both men came under fire from fellow Brexiteers who apparently fear that a second vote might not go the way they want.

- May has ruled out the possibility of a second referendum. But the centre-left LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, who oppose Brexit, are campaigning for one and arguing that more people might vote against leaving the EU now that the risks are clearer.

"Support is now GROWING on both sides of the argument for a vote on the final deal and the choice of an exit from Brexit," Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said. 

- In Brussels, meanwhile, officials warned that Brexit would complicate the next round of EU BUDGET negotiations, for the decade after 2020, since Britain‘s departure from the EU is expected to leave an estimated hole of 12-13 billion euros annually.

- Adding to the pressure on May‘s government, an economic analysis commissioned by London mayor Sadiq KHAN said Britain could lose up to 120,000 financial services jobs and some 350,000 other jobs within a decade if it leaves the European Union in March 2019 without a deal on post-Brexit trade.

- Another study by consultancy Deloitte suggested that a "no deal" Brexit would put 14,000 jobs at risk in Germany‘s CAR INDUSTRY.


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(19.01.2018 22:20)

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