Category: Great Britain

Russia confronts London with 14 questions on the “fabricated” Skripal case

The Russian embassy in London has sent a list of 14 questions to the British Foreign Office and demands that it reveal details of the investigation into the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

The questions, which are fully listed below, include the requirement to clarify whether samples of the nerve poison А-234 (also known as “Novitschok”) have ever been developed in the UK. The embassy’s statement calls the incident that triggered the recent diplomatic dispute a “fake case against Russia”. The questions are:

1. Why was Russia denied the right of consular access to the two Russian citizens who were harmed on British territory?

2. What specific antidotes and in what form were injected to the victims? How did such antidotes get into the possession of British doctors at the scene?

3. Why was France involved in technical cooperation in the investigation of the incident in which Russian citizens were injured?

4. Has the United Kingdom informed the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) of France’s participation in the investigation into the Salisbury incident?

5. What has France to do with the incident involving two Russian citizens in the United Kingdom?

6. Which rules of British procedural law allow a foreign state to participate in an internal investigation?

7. What evidence has been provided to France to investigate and conduct the investigation?

8. Were the French experts present at the sampling of biomaterial from Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

9. Was the examination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal’s biomaterials carried out by the French experts and if so, in which special laboratories?

10. does the United Kingdom own the materials involved in the French investigation?

11. have the results of the French investigation been submitted to the OPCW Technical Secretariat?

12. On what properties was the alleged “Russian origin” of the substance used in Salisbury established?

13. does the United Kingdom have control samples of the chemical warfare agent known as “Novichok” by British representatives?

14. were the samples of a chemical warfare agent of the same type as “Novitschok” (according to British terminology) or its analogues developed in Great Britain?

A similar list of 10 questions was sent to the French Foreign Ministry by the Russian Embassy in Paris. According to the document, Moscow wanted to know why France was involved in the British investigation into Skripal poisoning.

She demanded that Paris reveal what kind of evidence France was handed over by the United Kingdom and also asked whether French experts held samples of the nerve agent А-234 (also known as “Novitschok”) or biomaterials belonging to Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Russia also asked for explanations of what led French experts to conclude that the substance used in the attack in Salisbury was a nerve gas: there was also critical questioning about how А-234 and a Russian origin were concluded. The last question on the list was: “Were the samples of such a chemical warfare agent or its analogues developed in France and, if so, for what purpose?

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered on a bank in Salisbury in early March, with the United Kingdom claiming that a nerve gas designed by the Soviet Union was used against them. Without a proper investigation being conducted, London said it was “very likely” that Russia was responsible for the attack. The British government shortly thereafter introduced sanctions against Russia, including the expulsion of Russian diplomats.

Moscow has rejected all accusations as “provocation” and demanded evidence from the British side. However, London refused to cooperate with Russia in this case by denying Russian consular staff access to Russian citizen Yulia Skripal and rejecting the request for a sample of the toxic substance in question.

Brexit, what now? An overview

What are the economic, legal and financial consequences of brexit?

What are the specific economic consequences of Brexit for Britain and the EU? We investigated this in a study using various scenarios. The result: In the extreme case, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Great Britain could shrink by up to 313 billion in the long term, while that of Germany could fall by up to 58 billion. A fact sheet on the study also shows the possible GDP losses.

The legal challenges posed by Brexit are also considerable. We discussed this with the European lawyer Federico Fabbrini. In addition, Brexit represents a significant cut in the EU budget. Our analysis assumes that an annual error of 10 billion euros is to be expected. At the same time, however, the withdrawal of the British could also provide the impetus for a reform of the EU budget.

And what do the entrepreneurs directly concerned think? In a representative company survey we found out in the run-up to the referendum that German and British entrepreneurs see the Brexit very critically.

Brexit inspires EU approval

“Too bureaucratic, distant from citizens and undemocratic’ – the EU is often perceived negatively, not only in the UK, and some clichés are persistent. But the image of citizens is more complex than many people think. This is shown by our regular European-wide surveys from the “eupinions”series. Already at the end of 2016, shortly after the referendum, one of our surveys revealed that the Brexit promotes approval of the European Union – also in Great Britain.

The “eupinions” also show that an issue that also played an important role in the EU referendum in the United Kingdom has a major impact on Europeans’ political attitudes: globalisation and the fears that go with it. According to the survey, skeptics of globalisation are much more critical of the EU and democracy.

Even if the British had stayed in the European Union, cooperation in Europe would have been complicated. The EU reform deal that Prime Minister Cameron negotiated with the other EU countries in February 2016 made it even more difficult, as our analysis of the special agreements shows.