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Euro MPs back Brexit delay in letter to Britain

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STRASBOURG: More than 100 members of the European Parliament have promised to back a deParliamentxit to allow voters to think again, in a letter to British citizens.
The cross-party group of MEPs wrote as Prime Minister Theresa May faces a probable defeat on Tuesday when British lawmakers vote on the Brexit withdrawal plan.
Speculation is rising that Britain will have to ask Brussels to pause the “Article 50” process that will see it leave Europe on March 29 with or without a deal.
Officials say EU leaders, who signed the withdrawal agreement with May in late November, may agree to extend the deadline to avoid a disruptive breakdown in ties.
A European Court has ruled Britain could unilaterally revoke the decision to launch the two-year withdrawal countdown if it decides to abandon Brexit altogether.
But a delay to allow May time to win over skeptical MPs – or to organize an election or a second referendum — would need to be unanimously agreed by EU leaders.
The European lawmakers, including socialist group leader Udo Bullmann and the Greens’ Philippe Lambert, said they would support such a delay.
“Any British decision to remain in the EU would be warmly welcomed by us,” the signatories said in the letter, which was published in German media on Saturday.
“We have greatly appreciated the enormous impact British politicians and citizens have contributed to the European project,” they said.
“We would miss the extraordinary expertise of our British colleagues… Brexit will weaken all of us. We want you to stay.”
Even if the March 29 deadline date is pushed back, Brexit would complicate planning for the European parliamentary election that begins on May 22.
Britain may have to expect a new batch of MEPs if Brexit hasn’t happened, and EU officials want the process finished before a new parliament sits.
“If the UK is still in the EU during the European elections, then they’ll have to organize a vote,” a European diplomatic source told the Media.
“It would be a strange situation because British MEPs would only sit provisionally for a limited period.”
The diplomat said much would depend on the scale of May’s expected defeat.
It the vote is close, Europe might give May a chance to win over more British MPs — but if she is crushed then Britain could leave on March 29 without a deal.

 

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Economy

Danish delegation visits Faisalabad

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FAISALABAD: Under the development initiative of Punjab government, the waste water treatment plant project costing Rs.15 billion would be completed with the cooperation and financial assistance of Denmark to utilize 150 MGD waste water of Maddoana drain for irrigation purposes.
In this connection, a delegation of Denmark visited Faisalabad and held a meeting with Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sardar Saifullah Dogar.
A delegation headed by Deputy Head of Mission Bente Schiller included Director RDC Ulrik Netterstrom, Investment Director Danida Business Finance Rina Stender Sapru. MD WASA Faqir Muhammad Chaudhry and other officers were also present.
Deputy Commissioner welcomed the Danish delegation and said the Punjab government was taking a keen interest in the provision of potable water to the people. In this connection, the government had set its priorities besides allocating sufficient funds, he said and added that cooperation of Denmark was appreciable which would help in early completion of project.
He said that this project would further cement the bilateral relations between the two counties.
Bente Schiller said that Denmark government through Danida Business Finance was conducting a feasibility study prior to financing a large scale waste water treatment plant with the newest Danish technology.
She hoped that project would enhance the living conditions for the population in and around Faisalabad as pollution through waste water was a major health concern.

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Economy

Strike hits German airports

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Frankfurt am Main: Hundreds of flights were cancelled at eight German airports today, including at the nation’s busiest travel hub Frankfurt, as security staff walked off the job in a deepening row over pay.
Germany’s powerful Verdi union said the strike would last from 02:00 am until 8:00 pm (0100-1900 GMT) at Frankfurt airport, with walkouts in Munich, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt following roughly the same schedule.
At least 220,000 travellers would be hit by cancellations and delays, the ADV airport association said, in a calculation that includes knock-on effects at other airports.
Frankfurt airport operator Fraport, which axed 617 out of around 1,200 scheduled flights, urged passengers not to come to Europe’s fourth-busiest airport during the strike.

 

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Business

VW, Ford confirm alliance

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DETROIT: Volkswagen and Ford announced today that the automakers had agreed to an alliance to jointly develop commercial vans and pickups starting in 2022 in a bid to reduce costs.
The announcement came after more than six months of talks between the car giants which has also included discussions around autonomous and electrification technologies. The companies said they had agreed to “investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services, and electric vehicles and have started to explore those opportunities.”
The deal reached between the American and German automakers to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups as early as 2022 does not involve cross-ownership, according to a joint statement.

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