Britain must accept EU standards if it wants full market access: Germany’s Maas

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has suggested that the EU’s door would always remain open for Britain to come back. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Britain must accept EU standards if it wants full market access: Germany’s Maas

  • ‘By the end of the year, we need to be clear on the shape of our relationship’
  • Referring to the Beatles song “Hello, goodbye,” Maas said that both sides had sorted out the goodbye

BERLIN: Britain will have to compromise on issues such as consumer rights and environment protection if it wants to maintain full access to the European Union’s single market, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday.
“By the end of the year, we need to be clear on the shape of our relationship,” Maas wrote in a guest article in German weekly Die Zeit in reference to the post-Brexit transition period.
“So let me say very openly: Yes, we all want zero tariffs and zero trade barriers, but that also means zero dumping and zero unfair competition. Without similar standards to protect our workers, our consumers and the environment, there can be no full access to the largest single market in the world.”
Britain and the European Union will therefore have to conduct the negotiations on their post-Brexit economic relations in a way that “won’t harm the European Union,” Maas said.
Turning to security and defense policies, the minister said that Britain and the EU needed to develop new forms of cooperation, for example by creating a European Security Council.
Such a council could help coordinate joint positions on strategic issues of European security and to respond more quickly to international crises. “We are working with France to flesh out this idea as quickly as possible in order to build a foundation for our future relationship,” Maas wrote.
The German minister also suggested that the EU’s door would always remain open for Britain to come back.
Referring to the Beatles song “Hello, goodbye,” Maas said that both sides had sorted out the goodbye.
“But should this farewell ever turn out to be less final than anticipated, rest assured that we will always have a place for you at our table in Brussels and in our hearts,” he added.


Virtual oil summit planned amid ongoing market volatility

Updated 6 min 3 sec ago

Virtual oil summit planned amid ongoing market volatility

  • Meeting follows call from Saudi Arabia for urgent meeting and telephone diplomacy between Kingdom, Russia and the US

DUBAI: Leaders of the global oil industry are planning a crucial “virtual” summit next Monday amid ongoing volatility in crude prices and falling energy demand.

The meeting follows a call from Saudi Arabia on Thursday for an urgent meeting and a round of telephone diplomacy last week involving the Kingdom, Russia and the US, as well as meetings between policymakers and oil industry executives.

The summit is expected to involve the 11 members of OPEC as well as other oil producers from the OPEC+ group.

But exactly which countries will take part in the summit was still up in the air last night. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin was holding talks with executives from the country’s major oil companies before deciding whether or not to participate. The Russian leader has previously indicated his willingness to get involved in talks to help resolve the crisis in the global energy industry, but Russia was also the country that refused to take part in a round of deeper production cuts proposed by Saudi Arabia in Vienna last month, sparking the current price war.

In response to that refusal, the Kingdom increased production and lowered its selling prices. On Sunday, Saudi Aramco, which has pushed output to a record 12.3 million barrels per day, is scheduled to announce its “official selling prices” (OSP) for the month of May, expected to show a continuation of the deep levels of discount to attract customers, especially in Asia, in the battle for global market share. 

Brent crude continued its rollercoaster ride on global markets on Friday, dipping nearly 5 percent before hitting a high of 17.5 percent up at $34.91, before paring gains to about $33.

The options for the producers at Monday’s meeting are limited, in the face of an unprecedented drop in global oil demand. By some estimates, more than 20 million barrels of daily demand was lost last month, the biggest ever contraction in oil history.

Saudi Arabia and Russia, which between them produce around 23 million barrels per day, are unlikely to be willing to take all the pain of bigger cuts without an offer from the Americans.

US President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday that he expected between 10 million and 15 million barrels of oil to be taken out of supply, but he did not specify where this would come from. Meetings were expected to take place at the White House with oil industry executives and policymakers on Friday.

Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning oil expert, said: “The ‘when,’ ‘how’ and ‘who’ of the potential deal remain unclear. And the larger the universe of players the more difficult it will be to implement an agreement.”

OPEC+ consists of the 11 OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, plus 10 non-OPEC producers, of which Russia is by far the biggest.

The involvement of the US in the Monday meeting is also unclear. America is not an OPEC member, but US oil executives have attended OPEC deliberations in the past. American participation in any new rounds of output cuts will be constrained by the fact that the US oil industry is made up of private companies — as opposed to state-directed corporations — whose interests diverge.

While big players including Exxon Mobil and Chevron might be willing to take some advice from the White House, the smaller companies in the Texas shale fields are more focused on the immediate financial repercussions of the past month’s volatility.