Bitesize Blighty: March 23, 2018
- Five EU countries are prepared to follow Britain and expel Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double-agent and his daughter, the Times reports. The news comes as Theresa May attended talks in Brussels, where Donald Tusk has used firmer language condemning the attack in Salisbury, and adding that it was "highly likely Russia is responsible".
- European leaders on Friday agreed to extend Britain’s de facto EU membership until the end of 2020, backing a transition deal to smooth the implementation of Brexit. Meeting in Brussels for a summit of the European Council, the other 27 EU countries took a matter of minutes to sign off on a 21-month transition period and adopted guidelines setting out the bloc’s strategy for negotiating a future relationship with the EU, covering trade, security and other issues.
- Franco-Dutch company is poised to win the contract to make the iconic blue British passport after the UK leaves the European Union, the Telegraph understands. In a move set to infuriate Brexiteers, sources have told this newspaper that Gemalto, which is listed on the Amsterdam and Paris stock exchanges, is close to signing the contract after undercutting rivals, including a British firm, by around £50 million.