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Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Bayeux Tapestry to be displayed in Britain

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Artwork will leave France for first time since 11th century

The Bayeux Tapestry has only once been moved from Normandy since 1803

The first loan of the Bayeux Tapestry outside France for 950 years, revealed today by The Times, is expected to be to the British Museum in 2022.

Although the museum stopped short of confirming that it had secured the loan, its director gave a statement saying that his museum would welcome it.

Hartwig Fischer, who became head of the museum in 2016, said: “This would be a major loan, probably the most significant ever from France to the UK. It is a gesture of extraordinary generosity and proof of the deep ties that link our  two countries.

Brexit and Northern Ireland

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

Brexit Countdown: Why is the Northern Ireland border question so hard?

The international border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is about 310 miles long with, depending on how many tracks you include, as many as 275 crossing points.

In reality, the entire border is a crossing point because, apart from road signs changing from miles per hour to kilometres per hour, there is no physical infrastructure to see.

The concern is that all that could change when the UK leaves the European Union, and Ireland stays as an EU member state.

Why can’t there be a hard border?

Irish border sign

Part of the concern is political. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the basic building block of peace in Northern Ireland, removed security checkpoints from the border and helped make it all but invisible. Customs checks could undermine much of that progress.

Like many peace deals, the Good Friday Agreement is a masterpiece of creative ambiguity, allowing different people to take different things from different parts of the text.

Shared membership of the European Union made that much easier to achieve. Ireland wants a clear written commitment that the agreement will be respected in all its parts.

The other concern of course is economic. The economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic are completely interconnected. Huge amounts of goods and services cross the border every day without checks of any kind.

Brexit negotiators are currently looking through more than 140 areas of north-south co-operation, involving everything from the single electricity market to environmental protection.

It is also estimated that at least 30,000 people cross the border every day for work. The movement of people is governed by the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland, which predates the EU.

Both sides are determined that the Common Travel Area will remain in place, but that in itself doesn’t resolve the challenge of a hard border re-emerging.

So if no-one thinks a hard border is a good idea, why can’t everyone agree now that it won’t be re-imposed?

Because the UK has announced that it is leaving the EU single market and the customs union. That immediately turns the internal border in Ireland into an external border for the single market and the customs union – with all the potential checks that implies.

At the moment, all rules and regulations, north and south, are exactly the same – on food safety, on animal welfare… you name it.

Again, it’s a relationship based in large part on agreements covered by joint membership of the EU. As soon as that changes, border checks may have to begin again.

That’s why the Irish government wants a written guarantee from the UK that Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules – so goods can continue to move freely across the border.

“It seems essential to us,” said the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney earlier this month, “that there is no emergence of regulatory divergence from the rules of the internal market or the customs unions which are necessary for meaningful north-south co-operation, or an all-Ireland economy that is consistent with the Good Friday Agreement.”

In other words, both Ireland and the rest of the EU are suggesting that Northern Ireland should stay within the customs union and the single market.

But there would have to be checks somewhere between the EU and the UK, wouldn’t there?

Yes. It would – in effect – push the customs border out into the Irish Sea… an internal customs border, if you like, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Would that be acceptable to the UK government, or to its Unionist political allies in Northern Ireland, the DUP? In a word, no.

“We respect the European Union desire to protect the legal order of the single market and customs union,” the UK’s Brexit Secretary David Davis said in Brussels recently.

“But that cannot come at a cost to the constitutional and economic integrity of the United Kingdom.”

Couldn’t the UK simply declare the border open on a unilateral basis, and impose no checks or tariffs at all?

If it did that then, under World Trade Organization rules, it would have to do the same for the rest of the world. The UK economy would be swamped with cheap imports.

The EU would impose checks anyway which might allow the UK government to shift the blame on to Brussels. But that would be a pretty futile gesture.

So is there a solution?

Irish border

If it was easy, it would already have been done.

The EU argues that the UK’s red lines on Ireland – no border on the one hand, and UK exit from the single market and the customs union on the other – are fundamentally incompatible.

The British government has spoken of technological fixes such as pre-screening of goods, and trusted trader schemes.

The EU says such things could speed up border transit, but it would be nowhere near enough to avoid the return of some border checks.

Alternatively, Irish officials argue that there are already cases of rules and regulations being different in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, and they point to other examples such as Hong Kong in China where there are different regulatory arrangements within sovereign states.

Intense negotiations are taking place to try to come up with a solution that would ensure a) no divergence of regulations in key areas; and b) the creation of some form of customs partnership on the island of Ireland, which doesn’t threaten the constitutional order of the UK.

But if a fix emerges that seems to turn Northern Ireland into a back door route into the single market, then other EU countries will cry foul.

So even if all parties agree in the next two weeks that “sufficient progress” on Ireland has been made, there will be a long way to go before any kind of lasting solution emerges.

The Queen and Prince Phillip pose for official photo ahead of 70th wedding anniversary

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The Queen and Prince Phillip pose for official photo ahead of 70th wedding anniversary

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have been pictured standing side by side in the first of a new series of portraits to mark their 70th wedding anniversary.

The photographs, taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak, show Elizabeth II and Prince Philip standing in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in early November.

In the image, the couple are framed by Thomas Gainsborough’s 1781 portraits of George III and Queen Charlotte, who were married for 57 years.

Their enduring relationship has lasted the longest of any British sovereign, and Philip has been at the Queen’s side throughout the decades.

The monarch, who was a 21-year-old princess when she walked up the aisle, is the nation’s longest reigning sovereign, having overtaken the record set by Queen Victoria.

The 96-year-old newly retired Duke, who was 26 and fresh from serving for the Royal Navy in the Second World War when he wed, is the longest serving consort in British history.

Together they have celebrated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of the Queen’s reigns, and faced ups and downs over the years.

What is Brexit?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

What does “Brexit” stand for?

The term is a commonly-used abbreviation for British exit from the EU.

How will it be decided?

The decision hangs on the result of a national referendum, currently being prepared by the government.

When will the referendum be held?

The referendum looks likely to be held as early as June 2016 although it could be put back to the Autumn if David Cameron does not reach a deal before the February 19 meeting of EU leaders.

What will the question be?

The question will ask: ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’

What happens next?

David Cameron’s Bill on the EU referendum has been passed by Parliament.

Meanwhile, he is trying to secure a better deal from the EU by negotiating with fellow European leaders on issues such as migrants’ access to welfare

What is the expected result?

Most polls show the British public is roughly evenly divided about the country’s future in the EU, with a slight bias towards staying

Boris Johnson backs Brexit

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Boris Johnson today says that Britain has a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to vote to leave the European Union as a way of securing an entirely new relationship with Brussels based around the single market.

He says that “EU history shows that they only really listen to a population when it says No”.

 

He calls for Britain to have a deep and co-operative relationship with the EU “on the lines originally proposed by Winston Churchill: interested, associated, but not absorbed; with Europe – but not comprised”.

His decision will electrify the referendum campaign and came as a major blow to David Cameron just one day after the Prime Minister called the June 23 vote.

Brexit

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Brexit – what would happen if Britain left the EU?

Growth, trade, immigration, jobs, diplomacy: what would the impact be if a 2017 referendum pushed UK towards the exit?

Starting with the estimates that leaving would be a net loss to the UK economy, one analysis often cited is from researchers at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in 2004. They found an exit from the EU would permanently reduce UK GDP by 2.25%, mainly because of lower foreign direct investment. the UK could suffer income falls of between 6.3% to 9.5% of GDP, similar to the loss resulting from the global financial crisis of 2008-09. That is under the researchers’ pessimistic scenario, in which the UK is not able to negotiate favourable trade terms. Under an optimistic scenario, in which the UK continues to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU, losses would be 2.2% of GDP. Those most passionately opposed to a Brexit, meanwhile, say leaving the EU would shut the UK out of its most important market (the EU) and from other markets around the world that have trade agreements with the EU (but not with the UK in isolation). More than half of businesses (57%) believe that remaining a member of the EU, with more powers brought back to Westminster, would be positive. However, 28% of firms also view withdrawal combined with a formal UK-EU free trade agreement as a positive scenario. But only half that proportion, 13%, view withdrawal without such an agreement as positive. In The Trouble with Europe, Bootle tries to assess what this all means for the UK economy. Looking at goods and services exports as well as what the UK earns on overseas investments, the proportion of total receipts from abroad that come from the EU is just over 40%, Bootle says. Although this probably exaggerates the true importance of the EU in British trade, says the economist, given distortions to the figures from factors such as UK companies exporting to ports in the EU only to re-export beyond the region.

Suffragette

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Voici le film dont je vous ai parlé en classe

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On TV !

Monday, November 9th, 2015

pour les Premières et Terminales,

sur les deux thématiques Mythes et Heros et Lieux et Formes du Pouvoir,

Je vous conseille de regarder Mardi 10 Nov sur France 2 à 20.50 “Une jour une histoire” sur la Reine Elizabeth

http://www.programme-tv.net/programme/culture-infos/r230474-un-jour-une-histoire/6868121-the-queen/#serie-header

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

on Wednesday, September 9 Queen Elizabeth will become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and Kelloggs will celebrate it !

Are Queen Flakes the poshest cereal ever made?
(Picture: Kellogg's)

The suffragettes

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

read a complete article here