interference in the 2016 presidential election. michael cohen has admitted lying to congress about a project to build a trump organization skyscraper in moscow. the president has responded, claiming mr cohen is lying now to get a reduced jail sentence. mr trump has touched down in argentina's capital, buenos aires, for the 620 summit. he has cancelled several planned meetings at the last minute, including one with vladimir putin. at a time of growing differences over trade, climate change, and global security, he is expected to have tense to have tense trade talks with china. the united nations‘ cultural organisation, unesco, has added reggae music to its list of global treasures. reggae, which takes its influences from calypso, jazz and the blues, grew out of jamaica in the 1960s thanks to artists like bob marley. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk.
i'm stephen sackur. in just a few days‘ time, the uk parliament will make a fateful decision, to accept or reject theresa may's brexit deal, painfully negotiated with the eu. right across europe, the vote will have huge repercussions. for all of the focus on britain's political crisis, this is europe's problem too. my guest is danuta hubner, an influential polish mep who sits on the brexit steering group in the european parliament. is the eu ready to deal with potential brexit chaos? danuta hubner in brussels, welcome to hardtalk. welcome to you as well. i talked about the fateful decision facing the british parliament, how closely are you and others at the heart of power in brussels watching the events unfold in the uk right now? well, we have been, i think, watching i can say safely what's
going on in the uk from the very beginning from this announcement back many years ago of the future referendum, then also the deal with mr cameron in february 2016 and then, of course, the referendum, which was a big, bad surprise to me personally. then, of course, the notification and then we organised ourselves in the parliament in such a way that we could not only follow, but also contribute to the negotiations. we have been also briefed basically weekly by michel barnier, the chief eu negotiator on the progress in the negotiations, on the challenges in the negotiations. we have involved through a special structure, which is called brexit steering group, we have involved all five major political groups in the european parliament in this process of being part of brexit negotiations
with a view to build a constructive body, a constructive majority for the future vote on the deal once it's finalised, which is actually the situation today. just a few days ago, theresa may and the eu 27 leaders agreed on the withdrawal agreement — treaty it's going to be. they also agreed on a framework for the future relationship between the eu 27 and britain. after that deal was done, jean—claude juncker, the president of the commission, said this is the best deal possible, in fact, this is the only deal possible. we're not to take him entirely seriously, are we? well, i think one should take it seriously because after all the negotiations, actually, we have reached an agreement. if you look at our watches, if you look at them, you can see the time is really disappearing very quickly actually, and we have very limited time now
to finalise the whole process and you can see on the basis of what is going on now in the uk, that it is a process, the political element, the political discussion of the deal, and also on our side, we need to go through the procedure, which requires some months. so we are actually in a moment where we cannot waste more time and we cannot imagine that there can be something good going back to the table and renegotiating. i don't think mrjuncker has exaggerated, i think there is nothing hidden as a plan b here. you say nothing hidden, no plan b, and we'll get back to that injust a moment. given the sensitivity of the time, as you say the clock is ticking and everything now needs to happen very quickly, how wise do you think it was for emmanuel macron, the french president, right after the signing of the deal at the leadership level, how wise was it for him to come out and tell europe's press that
in his view, france and the eu now had a major lever which they could use over britain? he described the backstop arrangement by which the british will stay in a customs union, if there is no future agreement on a trade relationship by december 2020, he described that backstop arrangement, indefinite arrangement, as a tool and a lever which would ensure that france will get what it wanted on fisheries, for example. that was very damaging, wasn't it? you know, when you think back the last two years and if you remember what politicians said for the whole purpose of talking to the public at home, that a lot of unnecessary things have been said and i think there's language of using every opportunity
to speak to our own electorate, or our own public. i think sometimes it's also damaging because today, when you say something, immediately on the other continent, they also hear the same thing in the same moment. so yes, i think certain things are definitely unnecessary and especially that i think ther is no — we have been avoiding up ‘til now this trade—off approach, and we have never linked anything to the other thing, so i don't think this is in the spirit of the negotiations that have so far been maintained, and i trust it will be also maintained in the future. i guess — forgive me for interrupting, but i guess what i'm getting to is the point that many people in britain who support what's called a hard brexit, and i can think people like borisjohnson, the former uk foreign secretary, who you know well, jacob rees mogg and others, they describe the deal that has been done by theresa may as a form of capitulation,
a form of surrender. they use this word "vassalage" to indicate that the eu will retain power and control over many aspects of britain's economy and britain's life, with britain having no say in the future at the eu table. can you, as a pole — and of course, the poles have their own scepticism about elements of the european union — can you understand the concern that is in britain today? we have been responding, i have also personally invested a lot of my time in this process to make the process really as friendly as possible as a process, of separation of two sides that have had times in the past and would like also to have a very deep, close relationship in the future, i think we have to maintaine this spirit, but also what we could hear and i would say in particular from the british politicians very often, the comments which were very far from the reality which have even been ignoring the way the european union functions
and is structured, there have been a lot of intention also, which i think unnecessary, to the community to say it will have 140 million inhabitants once the uk changes the rules, on which we have built our unity, our functioning, our single market and customs union. i guess the time has come now that the politicians would just really start talking to people seriously about the consequences of no deal, and about also understanding and explaining to the people the deal that is really on those 585 pages, or 20 something pages of the political declaration. i think people would be surprised that a lot of things which are presented there to them are not really a reality which is in this deal. so i don't think that there... all right, well, let's strip away any misinformation and let's get down to reality.
you will know as well as i do, ms hubner, that the mathematics for theresa may at the moment look terrible. it looks very, very difficult for her to win a majority in the house of commons for this deal. i would imagine you would agree that it is incumbent upon the eu side, as well as the british side, to begin to think about what will happen if the uk parliament rejects the deal, that there are various propositions for a renegotiation of the agreement. are you telling me that it's too late for any renegotiation, or is there room for more talk? well, all i can say is probably repeat what has been said over the last few days on our side by all the leaders at the european institutions level but also at the national level, that we have finalised negotiations and what we have discussed already, that we have no time to start from scratch. this is something both sides have to take seriously.
we have managed to convince our 27 member states, not all of them were very happy with everything that is in the deal, but we have managed to convince them that this is a deal that we have to accept as an offer also by the prime minister to the public and to the politicians in london. i'm sorry but, yeah? i can see it would be very difficult at this point to unpick the binding withdrawal agreement, which ultimately will take treaty form. that would be very difficult, but it would be much less difficult to change the wording of the declaration on the future relationship. there are people in the uk who are now saying what we need is a much clearer vision for the future. whether it be to go to what's being called a norway plus solution, which would see britain in the european free trade area, that's what some of the more soft brexiteers would like to see, or indeed, a nod towards a canada plus super—sized free—trade
agreement, which is what people like borisjohnson would like to see. either way, surely there is still time to change the wording on the declaration about the future relationship? but, you know, it's not only that changing the wording in the declaration, this is a completely different concept. and so far, you might remember from the day one of this whole process of leaving the european union, the uk has been very clear on what we call the red lines. so we heard so many times, and it was just something repeated by everybody, that the uk definitely will have ot — will leave the single market, which is the norway or ea solution, that uk will leave the customs union, that the uk was actually presenting the red lines and conditions... yeah, but my point is everything has to be on the table because britain is in political chaos, there is a total meltdown crisis
in the uk. it's quite possible that after december 11, there will be a majority in the house of commons to push forward a norway plus solution, which would involve the european free trade area, would involve britain playing by the rules of the single market. i guess what i need to hear from you is whether you're prepared to even consider that? you know, i think we shouldn't discuss it unless we maybe reach such a moment and there will be a political crisis, then we — of course, both sides will need to sit together and see if we can still do anything for the uk, in the spirit of the eu to have good relations with the neighbours also, and never everjust aim at punishing or making somebody‘s life difficult. we also have our rules and we also have our limits when it comes to the solutions offered to third countries and we also have this time limit, and we also have behind us the negotiations that have led to some sort of brexit fatigue on this side because we also have other things to do. believe me, i understand brexit fatigue, so i want to keep my
questions as simple as possible, and your answers. simple questions. i understand. would you consider, you have an important post at the european parliament, would you and the brussels powers consider extending the deadline beyond march 29, to give britain, with all of its political chaos, more time to sort out what it really wants? but you know — i think this possibly exists but this possibility would have very strict rules that would have to be respected. but can you imagine, in the current political situation in the uk, that there will be an agreement of staying longer in the european union when we have heard so many times that 29 march, 11pm, not a second more, so it's very difficult to imagine that this kind of request could come from the uk.
that's what i am saying, any new situation i think will be not welcome, but met with an open attitude and goodwill on our side and with faith also, but let's hope that we don't reach that stage where you will have to test our readiness to go back to the negotiation table. i still think that mrs may will have... can ijust say one more thing, because i believe that if mrs may could depersonalise this agreement and make it really an agreement which is a uk agreement, then i think other politicians would feel the responsibility for the future of the british citizens and businesses, and find the agreement which is proposed, an agreement with the uk government, acceptable. i find it interesting that you say that you believe that it is possible, the eu side would consider extending the deadline, in essence, suspending the deadline in the article 50 two year rule. that's interesting because many
british politicians are now thinking, for example, that britain might need to go through a general election or even a second brexit or eu in—or—out referendum. now, i wonder whether any politicians of the ruling conservative party or the opposition labour party or the liberal democrats or the scottish nationalists, have they been talking to you about the possibility of a second referendum and about the need, therefore, to extend the deadline? you know, the deadline extension has been a thing from the very beginning a possibility, because that is also in the european parliament resolution, that we can imagine this. but this would require unanimity on the side of the european union, so you would have 27 leaders, 27 member states, willing to do so. and it would require also the request coming — justified request coming from the uk to do it. but i'm not saying that it's
absolutely possible to do this. would be also a political — i don't want to use the word gesture, but probably political gesture is the right word, but clearly justified. and i can imagine that it would be maybe more imaginable if thatjust happened by default, and not due to political problems, because those political problems would have been solved already, months if not years ago. have you spoken to any british politicians about it? yes, i think many people — you know, i've had hundreds of meetings over the last two years... forgive me, but i mean in the last week. it is now — it is d—day, it's the moment of truth in britain. ijust wonder if british politicians are talking to you about different scenarios right now.
i didn't meet anybody with this request who is responsible for decision—making on the uk side, this i can say. but of course, there are many citizens, many organisations, that are coming to us. many also probably — we could think of politicians coming also from more devolved territories than from london. but of course, nobody talks officially to us, nobody who is in power to make this type of decision on behalf of the british government. right, the more we talk, and the more i hear you use words like flexibility, and trying to make this work for both sides, the more i realise that jean—claude juncker‘s statement this is the only deal has to be taken with a grain of salt. and it strikes me that europe faces a crisis here, as well, not least because if britain were to leave in a disorderly brexit, some call it the crash—out brexit, it would have grave consequences for the member states of the european union, particularly ireland, which could lose up to 3% or more of its gdp over the coming years. german exporters, the dutch, who trade so much with the uk — the truth is that the eu membership, as well as britain, can't really
afford to countenance a disorderly, no—deal brexit. i don't think that when jean—claude juncker said, and then others repeated it, that there was something which was not reality. i think it is reality. there is no other deal under — today, there is no other deal to be offered to the uk, or to be renegotiated. but that is a different story from what we have been discussing, which is the extension of article 50, which of course would be limited, because we have elections in the european parliament, as you might remember, a couple of months later after the uk leaves. so there would be a limit, even if that would be feasible. but what is i think, i hope, a common approach, but definitely the european approach — that the most undesirable result, outcome of this process, would be a no—deal scenario. it's even hard to imagine the consequences of this,
especially for the uk. but not only — there are still some politicians in the uk who believe that no deal would be also a negotiated scenario. no, no deal isjust no — nothing with regard to citizens which would be negotiated, nothing with regard also to the irish border, no transition period. the crash—out, as you say, just overnight, and the dramatic consequences not only for citizens, but also for businesses, hence also for the economy. so yes, we are against that scenario. yes, of course you are against it. but again, isn't the truth somewhat different from the way you present it? you say the crash—out brexit will lead to this disaster in relation to the rights of polish citizens in the uk, of which there are 1 million or more... i was thinking also of british citizens in europe. indeed. the truth is that, if there really were to be no—deal brexit, in the last weeks before it actually happened, surely eu officials would get together with british officials and make sure that there were ad hoc arrangements to ensure
that the planes kept flying, the ports remained open, that poles could still work in the uk and british citizens could still work in poland. ad hoc arrangements would be made. so in a sense, you are scaring people, aren't you? no, quite the contrary. we're thinking that this is something that we have to take into account, like the brits also have taken it into account. we have to be prepared to avoid these dramatic consequences for people, for businesses. that's why we're waiting in our hands with all the preparedness and all the contingency planning for this, the most undesirable outcome of the whole process. still, we have the ratification document in our hands, and then we can just stop preparing. because otherwise, we would have to prepare to protect the citizens, protect businesses, as much as we can. but i think, first of all, we must do everything exactly to avoid this scenario to take place. because it is inevitable — if we don't have agreement on time, then we can't change the european treaties, we can't change the british loss, so there will be
consequences of this. there are some things you can't prepare for, and i'm thinking in particular of poland's case, because of course you're a former polish government minister and eu commissioner. the british share of the eu budget amounts to something like 15%. now, they have promised as part of the agreement to pay 39 billion, in terms of their obligations and dues to the eu, as part of the divorce settlement. but if the deal isn't ratified, and britain crashes out of the eu, the british government isn't going to give you the 39 billion euros, and a government like poland which relies on eu money in so many different ways is going to be thrown into crisis. butjust let me say two things. one is, of course, the british
are not paying a fee of separation or divorce. the british contribution to the eu budget would be linked to the programmes, projects and research, among other things. there will be a continuation of all the programmes related to — during the transition, to the end of the financial perspective... well, you can dress it up any way you want. but i think it is quite plain that, if britain crashes out of the eu, you will not be getting your 39 billion euros — nothing like. it's one thing, and the other thing is, of course, if we have a no—deal scenario, then we're fully aware that there will be no contribution from the uk to the budget. and you may be surprised. listen closely to the polish government, which is not my government, saying that they are prepared to pay more to the eu budget to maintain the policies which poland benefits from. so in your view, the eu could withstand all of the problems, challenges and pressure that would come with a crash—out, disorderly brexit. well, both sides would be affected, that is absolutely clear.
as you can imagine we have also, in the uk but also on the continent, we have altogether, i think, more than 28 million small and medium—size companies, which have not prepared like the big financial firms. they never functioned, even, outside the single market. they never functioned outside the customs union. so yes, it will be a very difficult situation for many businesses, also for citizens. we can have emergency measures that would help in the short run, but we would have to be prepared that soon those measures will stop being applied, and we will move to a third—country regime with the uk, or other relations with the uk. so yes, this is a process which costs, that is obvious, and it will cost much more. and we have to — we have the capacity as politicians and the responsibility to avoid this. no deal is not... last question. it is personal and it's emotional. you have known britain for a long time, long experience working with the british. are you feeling very angry towards the british today? we respect the decision.
we regret it very much, and i'm certainly among those people who regret it probably above the average. so yes, i'm angry. i regret it, and i cannot understand, and i also hope that those who might wish to create a hard brexit, a crash—out, that they will understand the consequences for the generations of brits, of other europeans. so i think our duty is first of all to find an agreement that would allow us to have an orderly brexit — no importance what nonsense it actually is for me. danuta hubner, thank you very much for being on hardtalk. thank you. hello there. yesterday was a really dramatic day of large and crashing waves and some very strong gusts of wind. the top gust was recorded on the western edge of the isle of wight, at the needles — a gust of 82 miles an hour recorded here. 72 in plymouth, 72 as well in capel curig, in conwy in north—west wales. there were a number of sites that got into the 60s too.
the area of low pressure that brought those strong winds was this one just heading to the western side of norway at the moment. the main parent low was still to the north—west of scotland and that is what is continuing to bring these strong winds. at the moment we are seeing a number of heavy showers flowing in to the western side of scotland and it will stay very windy here. windy too for northern ireland, north—west england, even further south. the winds are noticeably brisk, although continuing to gradually ease down. there's still some showers coming in to southern wales and southern counties of england. not entirely dry but, if you're heading outside over the next hour or two, it's not particularly cold. temperatures between 4 and 7 degrees for many of us. those strong winds will continue to push in across scotland, particularly the northern isles, actually, where i think we could gusts as strong as 50—60 miles per hour, perhaps even a touch stronger than that in the northern isles, for a time. band of rain pushes through here, followed by plenty of showers. so that's how things will start off,
with those brisk winds continuing to blow the showers in for much of the day. good news though, with those strong winds is the downpours do not last too long, they move across the sky pretty quickly, with some brighter spells interspersed. showers continuing for wales, north—west england. still a few across southern counties of england, although these will probably get a bit rarer as we head into the afternoon, the weather becoming a bit drier. mild for most. temperatures reaching a high of 12 degrees towards the south. and then we'll take a look on into the all—important weekend forecast. we're looking at this next area of low pressure bringing another bout of rain across england and wales. that rain is going to be very slow to clear its way eastwards. across east anglia, south—east england, it will be raining for much of the day. the rain quite slow to ease up as well, across northern counties of england, once its set in here. further north, for scotland and northern ireland, there will be some sunshine around but we are into the cooler air here. temperatures between 6 and 8 degrees celsius. still pretty mild though further south reaching a high of around 13 degrees. more rain in the
forecast for sunday. clearing away quickly across eastern areas with some sunshine following. it will be very windy. uncertainty at how far north this band of rain will reach. could push well into scotland as we head into sunday so there could be some rain around at times. temperatures on the mild side, looking at highs of around 111—15 degrees. that's your latest weather. bye for now. rawls of this is the briefing. i'm victoria fritz. our top story: touching down in buenos aires — world leaders arrive for tough talks at the g20. diplomacy by rail — a south korean train crosses into north korea, for the first time in a decade. and romania's disappearing forests — how one group is trying to protect some of europe's most ancient woods. in business: global trade faces the worst crisis since 1947, the head of the wto tells the bbc.