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EGYPT/RUSSIA – The 2 countries have agreed a draft 5-year agreement permitting each other’s military planes to use one another’s air bases. Egypt’s government has yet to approve the deal.

SYRIA/RUSSIA – Russia says preparations for its military forces to leave Syria are underway.

N KOREA/GERMANY – Germany will reduce its embassy staff in North Korea and requires Pyongyang to do the same in Berlin.

TURKEY/EU – The 2018 EU budget will cut Turkey’s pre-accession funding by 175 million euros because of Turkey’s “deteriorating situation in relation to democracy, rule of law and human rights”.

JAPAN/EMPEROR – PM Abe says Emperor Akihito will abdicate the throne in April 2019.


Given that the U.S. and South Korean air forces will spend the week conducting drills it seems prudent that last week China and the USA held talks about improving military dialogue in the event of a crisis.

It’s a big Brexit and a big EU week….UK PM May and EU Commission President Juncker meet ahead of the decision about whether talks have gone far enough to move to stage 2 of Brexit negotiations. The EU of course is busy getting on with life without the UK and this week there will be much debate on reenergising the Euro zone. Paris wants increased spending, Berlin is not so sure, especially about spending more in the southern EU countries. Mrs Merkel, who is trying to take a keen interest in both of the 2 previous topics will remain bogged down in coalition talks with Germany’s centre left SPD.


Mon – US and S Korean forces conduct week long air force drills.

Mon –  UK PM Theresa May in Brussels for final negotiating session with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker before the heads of government summit 14/15 Dec.

Mon –  Self-exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont back in a Brussels court for extradition hearing.

Mon –  Campaigning for Catalan election (21st Dec) begins.

Tues – IOC to decide if Russia can compete at the South Korean Winter Games in Feb.

Tues – NATO Foreign ministers meet in Brussels. N Korea on agenda, but UK’s Boris Johnson may want a word with Rex Tillerson re Trump’s tweeting of a UK far right group.

Weds – EC to announce if ‘sufficient progress’ has been made to move to phase 2 of Brexit talks.

Weds – President Trump’s travel ban back in Court of Appeals. He’s added N Korea and Venezuela to list to try and get around freedom of religion restrictions.

Thurs –  Irish gov cabinet meeting ahead of next week’s EU summit re Brexit.

Thurs – Germany’s SPD holds annual convention. Will it join Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU in a coalition gov?

Fri – Russia launches 1st phase of having liquefied natural gas facilities above the Arctic Circle.

Sun –   Nobel Peace Prize announced.  Oslo. Nominees include Donald Trump.




2 Comments on "Things We Lost In The Mire…. 48"

  1. The British government is an embarrassment, they are probably the best argument that the remain side has for staying in the EU. If they sprouted some common sense they would see that the bespoke deal they talk about negotiating is a figment of their own imagination. The choices are WTO rules or continued membership of the EU in all but name, in which case we may as well not leave. The longer they prevaricate the more upheaval will be caused by going the WTO route as the time to prepare is running very short, though I suspect that is probably the idea.

    I see daily nonsense in the Guardian about people changing their mind about leaving (in-between the bile filled abuse), everything I have seen from the EU over the past year and a half has simply confirmed what I already believed. Indeed what has been revealed during this process is just how prevalent the EU is in every facet of how our country is run. I’ve always been interested and even I never quite realised just how much autonomy we had surrendered.

  2. At the SPD convention yesterday their leader Martin Schulz called for a “United States of Europe” by 2025. He told the convention that he wanted member states to agree a new constitutional treaty to establish a federal union and that countries that refused to sign up should have to leave the EU. A timely reminder that “ever closer union” is only on pause at the moment. The SPD did vote to start talks with the CDU on coalition.

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