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Friday 29 June 2018 

By now Brexiteers are used to these late night European summits, David Cameron’s failure billed as success renegotiation being the most vivid example. Last night’s humdinger over the migrant crisis dragged on so long EU leaders better acquainted with foie gras and caviar had to refuel on takeaway pizza.

Exercising its veto to the consternation of Merkel and Macron was Italy. Disappointingly, prime minister Giuseppe eventually caved in. In the early hours of this morning, the other leaders agreed to the EU’s mad plan for migrant registration centers on European territory, which fails to either strengthen Europe’s external border or tackle the people-smuggling operations running riot on the other side of the Med. Italy bears the brunt of this crisis, centrally located Germany does not.

The primary concession eked out by Conte is for the EU to “swiftly explore the concept of regional disembarkation platforms” (aka processing centres in North Africa). The EU also recognises “a consensus needs to be found” to “reform” its ludicrous Common European Asylum System, but stops short of providing any assurances the cat and mouse farce of registering illegals only in the country where they land, and obliging them to stay there (i.e. in Italy and other exposed Mediterranean countries) will be sorted out proper.

The EU’s asylum system makes no sense in a passport-free zone. The dysfunctional bloc faces a choice, help out Italy or bin Schengen enabling the new, muscular administration in Rome to take matters into its own hands and forbid the landing of migrants salvaged from deliberately flimsy boats floating across the sea from Libya. But that would not sit well with the globalists in Brussels. Not at all.

The can has now been kicked (this trend is becoming tiresomely common) with the ball now in Horst Seehofer’s court. Germany’s interior minister and Angela Merkel’s political rival in the sister CSU party had threatened to strengthen the country’s southern border to repel migrants journeying from Italy.

Seehofer had agreed to hold back until July 1, following the conclusion of this crunch Council. Like Conte, and the powerful Lega leader Matteo Salvini, he will be dissatisfied with the result. Seehofer has a lot of political capital to gain from his Conservative Bavarian electorate by going ahead with his threat. Doing so would plunge the EU into an extraordinary crisis.

No surprise then that Theresa May’s brief opportunity to bring the EU27 onside over Britain’s withdrawal was rendered even briefer.

For once, she talked tough. Breaking off security cooperation with one of the world’s great military and intelligence powers would be a grave error for a continent seemingly allergic to reinforcing its defences.

“The time for playing nice and being exploited is over,” May told her European counterparts.

Reducing Europe’s collective capacity for mapping cross-border terrorist networks “is not what I want and I do not believe it is what you want either,” the prime minister threatened.

“I would urge you to consider what is in the best interests of your citizens and mine.”

Finally, May appears to be taking the option of a clean exit – real or merely threatened – more seriously. Westmonster report HMRC have “revamped” Britain’s customs system “to be ready for no-deal Brexit”. This is good news. Leave.EU has repeatedly complained about HMRC’s failure to upgrade infrastructure and recruit additional personnel to effective administer a newly independent customs regime. It’s finally happening.

May has now returned to London, leaving the remaining EU member states to discuss Brexit. There’s little to talk about though, the situation has not changed since the last summit in March.

The other summit of note is, of course, the big pow wow at chequers taking place late next week. The Sun reports May will schedule a major Florence/Mansion House-esque speech for the following week, after the white paper, the contents of which will be determined by the outcome of the Chequers summit, has been published.

Finally, BAE systems have won a £20bn contract to build the next generation of Australian warships. See Westmonster for more. Good news.