British prime minister Theresa May outlined on Tuesday (18 January) a strategy leading to a so-called hard Brexit from the EU.
"What I'm proposing cannot mean membership of the single market," she said in a speech to ambassadors called Plan for Britain.
She explained that the UK could not accept the four freedoms of goods, capital, services and people attached to the single market
"Being out of the EU but a member of the single market would mean complying with the EU’s rules and regulations that implement those freedoms, without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are," she pointed out.
She insisted that the message from British voters was clear: "Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. And that is what we will deliver."
May added that a post-Brexit UK could not accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
"We will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws," she said, adding that "leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast".
British prime minister Theresa May is steering towards a "hard Brexit" from the European Union, a leaked draft of a policy speech indicates.
“We seek a new and equal partnership – between an independent, self-governing, global Britain and our friends and allies in the EU,” May is expected to say according to a draft of her speech reported in the British media.
“Not partial membership of the European Union, associate membership of the European Union, or anything that leaves us half-in, half-out,” she will add in a speech to be delivered on Tuesday (17 January).
“We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave. The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. My job is to get the right deal for Britain as we do.”
British media expect the speech to contain the most concrete vision yet of how Britain will leave the EU, after its people voted for Brexit in a referendum in June last year.
“They voted to shape a brighter future for our country. They voted to leave the European Union and embrace the world,” May is expected to say.
“And they did so with their eyes open: accepting that the road ahead will be uncertain at times, but believing that it leads towards a brighter future for their children – and their grandchildren too.”
“And it is the job of this government to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU. It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.”
Tens of thousands of people seeking better lives are expected to trek across deserts and board unseaworthy boats in war-torn Libya this year in a desperate effort to reach European shores by way of Italy.
More than 181,000 people, most so-called “economic migrants” with little chance of being allowed to stay in Europe, attempted to cross the central Mediterranean last year from Libya, Africa’s nearest stretch of coast to Italy. About 4,500 died or disappeared.
Some European leaders are warning of a fresh migration crisis when sea waters warm again and more people choose to put their lives in the hands of smugglers.
“Come next spring, the number of people crossing over the Mediterranean will reach record levels,” Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, whose country holds the European Union’s presidency, predicted. “The choice is trying to do something now, or meeting urgently in April, May…and try to do a deal then.”
Israel's Institute for National Security Studies stressed in its annual strategic assessment, released Jan. 2, that Hezbollah remains the most serious threat the Jewish state faces.
It urged Israel's intelligence establishment to intensity efforts to block the transfer of advanced weapons systems to Hezbollah — a process that may already be under way with a spate of air and missiles strikes against Syria.
The vast majority of the arms supplied to Hezbollah from Iran pass through Syria.
Hezbollah, a key force keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power amid the war in the country, is reportedly building military bases and seeking to establish a presence in the disputed Golan Heights, a strategic volcanic plateau that overlooks Israel's agricultural heartland.
Iran, Hezbollah's patron and arms supplier, is listed as the second-ranking military threat by INSS, in part because of its distance from Israel.
Combined, Iran and Hezbollah, which serves as the Islamic republic's strategic arm in the Levant, present a comprehensive threat to Israel that far exceeds any other. This ranges from Iran's growing ballistic missile force and the nuclear weapons Israel's military leaders are convinced it will develop in the coming years to Hezbollah's emerging tactical capabilities.
Much of that is due to advanced weaponry it amassed in recent years despite repeated Israeli airstrikes against weapons convoys and targeted assassinations in Syria and Lebanon of key figures in acquiring or developing Hezbollah's firepower.
Hezbollah is estimated — largely by Israel — to possess more than 130,000 rockets and missiles, including long-range weapons capable of destroying city blocks.
In recent weeks, the covert war between Israel and Hezbollah that has dragged on for five years apparently flared again, possibly this time with higher stakes.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged for the first time in April 2016 that Israel has been mounting airstrikes in Syrian territory to curb shipments of what he called "game-changing weaponry" to Hezbollah.
The Jerusalem Post suggested on Dec. 8 that the Israelis' strikes the previous day had targeted "the presumed base of the Syrian Army's secretive Unit 450, a branch of the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre that is at the center of the Assad regime's chemical weapons program north of Damascus."
On the same day, Israel's hawkish defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, raised the ante by claiming that the Israeli Air Force had thwarted an attempt to transfer chemical weapons from Syria to Lebanon.
If that is true, it suggests that Hezbollah and Iran may be prepared to escalate the covert efforts to upgrade Hezbollah's arsenal to a highly dangerous new level.
Lieberman often shoots from the hip and his comments may have had political overtones but it was the first time a top-level Israeli official had voiced such concerns.
These air and missile strikes constitute what the Israelis call a "campaign between wars," a concept that involves overt and covert operations designed to thwart emerging threats, particularly the acquisition of advanced weaponry.
This is a finely balanced confrontation short of war in which both sides observe certain restraints that will prevent hostilities escalating to all-out conflict.
But now Israel seems to be stepping up the shadowy conflict with Hezbollah, as Iran seeks to establish a presence in the divided Golan, a red line for Israel.
Lieberman warned that while Israel has no interest in intervening in the Syrian war, it would take action to preserve Israelis' security, particularly on advanced weapons transfers to Hezbollah. Israel, he declared, "will make decisions according to this policy without taking other circumstances or restriction into account."