Cologne Summit: Last orders for duty-free
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Friday 04 June 1999
Tony Blair joined French and German leaders by demanding a rethink at the EU summit in Cologne, just four weeks before duty-free shopping is due to be abolished.
As Mr Blair made his appeal over a working dinner last night, British officials were not optimistic that the EU would reverse its 1991 decision. "We have not given up hope but the omens are not good," said one British source.
Overturning the move would be a populist decision ahead of next week's European Parliament elections. However, this would require unanimity among all 15 EU states. Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland insist the change must go ahead to help the EU complete its internal market. The European Commission is also strongly opposed to a U-turn. "It must and will go ahead," said one Commission official.
Mr Blair is worried that up to 30,000 British jobs could be at risk, including almost 11,000 in ferry companies and inshore jobs around ports. "We know that other countries feel the same as us," said Mr Blair's spokesman. "We just have to keep plugging away at it. It was a decision taken by the last government. We have tried manfully to reverse it but it is very difficult."
- 1 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 Is Ebola coming to Britain? UK health officials issue warning to doctors as outbreak fears grow
- 4 Richard Dawkins says 'date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse' on Twitter
- 5 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
- < Previous
- Next >
Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...
£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...
£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...