Brexit will have 'consequences' for the UK says Olaf Scholz
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Social Democrat Olaf Scholz announced a deal to form a new governing coalition in Germany on Wednesday that aims to modernise Europe’s largest economy, accelerate the green transition and bring the curtain down on the Angela Merkel era.
The alliance, the first at federal level between the ideologically disparate Greens, the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) and Scholz’s centre-left SPD, ends 16 years of Merkel-led conservative governments.
The three parties enjoy a majority in the lower house of parliament and hope the government will be sworn in early next month after they ratify the 177-page coalition pact.
The document is already proving bad news for Boris Johnson as it insists on the need for “full compliances with the agreements adopted”, making reference particularly to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
This brutal Brexit blow says any breach by the UK side of the withdrawal agreement must be met with “consistent application of countermeasures”.
Named after the parties’ respective colours, the traffic light will usher in a new era of relations with Europe, and plans to speed up digitalisation of the continent’s biggest economy while maintaining fiscal discipline.
At a news conference in Berlin, flanked by the FDP and Greens leaders, Scholz recalled that when the first traffic light was erected at the city’s Potsdamer Platz in 1924, many questioned whether it could work.
He said: “Today, the traffic light is indispensable when it comes to regulating things clearly and providing the right orientation and ensuring that everyone moves forward safely and smoothly.
“My ambition as chancellor is that this traffic light alliance will play a similarly groundbreaking role for Germany.”
In another blow to Brexit Britain, the new alliance also signalled support for French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambition for more EU “strategic autonomy”.
It comes as Britain and France continue to lock horns over post-Brexit fishing licences for UK waters.
Talks are ongoing between Britain, France and the European Commission to settle the main source of contention, which is the number of licences to fish in waters around the British coastline for smaller French vessels which can prove they have historically operated there.
On Monday, France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said all options remain on the table in the fishing row.
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He said France wants a “constructive solution” over the number of licences granted to trawlers to fish in British waters, which he described as still being “not at all” satisfactory.
But he said Paris would consider taking action if the dispute is not solved, with threats including tighter checks and a ban on British trawlers landing catches in French ports.
Meanwhile, the European Commission stepped up pressure on the UK in the dispute.
Commission spokesman Tim McPhie said: “There’s been some progress with the outstanding licensing requests but the process is going too slowly.”
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