UK warns EU on Brexit: We won’t blink first

Britain says the EU is dragging its feet in talks and has failed to fully accept that it is now an independent country. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 06 September 2020

UK warns EU on Brexit: We won’t blink first

  • Britain left the EU on Jan. 31 but talks have so far made little headway on agreeing a new trade deal with the bloc

LONDON: Britain will not blink first in Brexit trade negotiations with the European Union and is not scared of a no-deal exit, the country’s top Brexit negotiator warned the bloc on Sunday.
Britain left the EU on Jan. 31 but talks have so far made little headway on agreeing a new trade deal with the bloc by the time a status-quo transition arrangement ends in December.
“We came in after a government and negotiating team that had blinked and had its bluff called at critical moments and the EU had learned not to take our word seriously,” negotiator David Frost told the Mail on Sunday.
“So a lot of what we are trying to do this year is to get them to realize that we mean what we say and they should take our position seriously,” he was quoted as saying.
Talks are due to resume in London on Tuesday but they have stalled over Britain’s insistence that it have full autonomy over state aid and its demands over fishing.
Britain says the EU is dragging its feet in talks and has failed to fully accept that it is now an independent country.
“We are not going to be a client state. We are not going to compromise on the fundamentals of having control over our own laws,” Frost told the Mail. “We are not going to accept level playing field provisions that lock us in to the way the EU do things.”
“That’s what being an independent country is about, that’s what the British people voted for and that’s what will happen at the end of the year, come what may,” Frost said.
He said a lot of preparation had been done for a possible exit without a trade deal.
“I don’t think that we are scared of this at all,” Frost said. “If we can reach an agreement that regulates trade like Canada’s, great. If we can’t, it will be an Australian-like trading agreement and we are fully ready for that.”


Dubai’s Al-Habtoor Group to open representative office in Israel

Updated 20 September 2020

Dubai’s Al-Habtoor Group to open representative office in Israel

  • Al-Habtoor and Fogel both welcomed the landmark agreement that was signed on Sept. 15 in the US
  • The tycoon revealed his plans to open a representative office in Israel

DUBAI: Dubai’s Al-Habtoor Group (AHG) plans to open a representative office in Israel its chairman said, following an historic peace deal signed last week between the UAE and Israel to normalize relations.

Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor, who is AHG founding chairman, welcomed Ampa Group’s co-owner, chairman and CEO Shlomi Fogel at the hospitality conglomerate’s Dubai headquarters. Ampa Group deals in real estate, finance and industry. 

Al-Habtoor and Fogel both welcomed the landmark agreement that was signed on Sept. 15 in the US. 

The UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords in a ceremony overseen by US President Donald Trump. The two Gulf countries join Egypt and Jordan as the only Arab nations to have full relations with Israel.

“I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time,” Al-Habtoor said. “I have always believed that Emiratis and Israelis have a lot in common. Both peoples are business-oriented and have relied on human talent and ambition more than their countries’ natural resources to build robust, innovative economies. The opportunities that this deal will present are great for both sides. I am confident this will open up new doors and lead to stronger economies, and closer cultural ties between the peoples.”

The tycoon revealed his plans to open a representative office in Israel and said that there was a lot of interest in collaboration.

“We have received a large number of inquiries for collaboration in several fields, ranging from AI and technology, to agriculture, hospitality and trading. The possibilities are endless for both sides in our diversified fields and new ones, and we want to be present to grasp them.”

He previously disclosed that AHG had started talks with Israeli domestic carrier Israir Airlines to open direct commercial flights, “and we are preparing to reveal a few collaborations in the coming days.”

Fogel said that peace would be cemented through successful business collaboration and trade. “Together with our Emirati counterparts we will show the way to live in peace to the rest of the world,” he added.

Fogel was accompanied at the meeting by Ampa Group executives, including Erez Katz and Saar Bracha.

AHG was represented at the meeting by Mohammed Al-Habtoor, Ahmad Al-Habtoor, Maan Halabi, Sanjeev Agarwala and other members of senior management.