Satellite becomes Brexit battleground
Brexit negotiations reached new heights of tension yesterday as a row launched over Britain’s access to Galileo, the EU’s global navigation satellite system. Only EU member states have access to procurement and the high-precision service, and the Commission wrote to the UK in January this year to explain it would be inappropriate to provide such a service to a third country, although Norway and the US are currently negotiating access rights with the EU. With signs that UK aerospace companies are already losing out on future Galileo contracts – and little the UK can do to stop it – news that the British armed forces could lose access to it saw the row set alight. In response, the British government will threaten to turn off key facilities in its overseas territories if it is denied access.
One year to go
Politicians of past and present marked the one year anniversary of triggering Article 50 – the formal beginning of Brexit – on March 29. The date also marks the halfway point, with exactly one year to go until it takes effect. UK Prime Minister Theresa May toured the country promising that “the future would be bright” while her predecessor-but-two, Tony Blair, used the opportunity to repeat his calls for a second vote. A coalition of former Remain groups also spent £500 000 ($703 000) on advertisements calling for a “people’s vote”. In broader society, though, the effect of such interventions has yet to be seen, with polling indicating that one year since Article 50 was triggered, very few people have changed their mind – a referendum re-run would still be around 50-50, and roughly two-thirds of Britons still consider the matter closed.
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