european union

Inside The U.S. Foreign Service

Jan 7, 2020
U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland meets with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanayahu in May 2019.
U.S. Embassy Jerusalem / Flickr

The United States Foreign Service was created in 1924 to put foreign relations in the hands of non-partisan professionals who are trained in the arts and diplomacy.

The people of Scotland have already rejected the U.K.'s political agenda, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says — and now she wants them to vote in a public referendum on leaving the U.K. altogether. Sturgeon says she's sending Prime Minister Boris Johnson a letter formally requesting that Scotland be allowed to hold a vote on its future.

"Let's assert our rights as an equal nation and partner," Sturgeon told Scotland's residents as she began the push for what's widely being called #IndyRef2.

Updated 10:40 a.m. ET

British voters delivered a stunning victory to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party in Thursday's general election, giving the Brexit backer a large majority in the House of Commons and the support he needs to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union in January.

"The Conservatives picked up 47 seats," NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. "This is the biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher's win in 1987."

Voters in the United Kingdom head to the polls Thursday for a crucial election that could determine the country's future, and how and when it will break off from the European Union.

This will be the fifth major vote in the country in less than five years — including two previous general elections, European Parliament elections and the Brexit referendum — a sign of how chaotic British politics have become.

The stakes are high, voters are weary and the two main candidates for prime minister are especially polarizing.

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Nov 20, 2019
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A key witness in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Gordon Sondland, is testifying before House lawmakers on Wednesday.

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who has emerged as the impeachment inquiry's most pivotal witness, is set to make a much-anticipated appearance before House investigators on Wednesday.

Sondland will face lawmakers who have many questions about conversations he had with President Trump about U.S. aid to Ukraine — and why his story changed since he first appeared before them in a closed-door session last month.

Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

The divorce has been deferred once more.

Days before the U.K.'s Oct. 31 deadline to leave the European Union, the multinational bloc agreed to Britain's request on Monday to postpone the departure another three months.

Updated 3:35 p.m. ET

Just one day after the British Supreme Court dealt the country's prime minister a devastating blow, ruling that Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament was "unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed," Johnson challenged the U.K.'s newly reconvened lawmaking body to try to take him down.

Updated at 5:49 a.m. ET

Theresa May will step down as prime minister of the United Kingdom on June 7, she said Friday at No. 10 Downing St.

She came to the job in 2016 after U.K. voters backed plans to exit the European Union in a referendum. For the following three years, she attempted to navigate the difficult and complex process of making that happen.

"I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice, you have a duty to implement what they decide," she said. "I have done my best to do that."

"Are you angry?" yelled Will Grover, a councillor with Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party.

"Yes!" yelled back the mostly older crowd.

"You should be," said Grover, "because your voice, your vote, is being betrayed. They do not respect you. Why should you respect them?"

The European Parliament has voted to discontinue daylight saving time. However, before the proposal becomes a law, European Union member states will need to hammer out the details.

Under the proposal, by 2020 each EU member state would need to choose either "summertime" (daylight saving time) or "wintertime" (standard time). The change would go into effect in 2021.

Updated Thursday at 9:38 a.m. ET

This week marks a turning point for Britain and Brexit. On Tuesday, the British Parliament voted down Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan for the second time. On Wednesday, lawmakers voted against a "no-deal Brexit" — leaving the European Union without a formal agreement with Brussels.

Today, they will vote on whether to postpone Brexit beyond the scheduled departure date of March 29.

Here's what you need to know.

What happened on Tuesday?

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

With the U.K. fast approaching the March 29 deadline for when it will leave the European Union, the prospects for an orderly, on-time Brexit — or even any Brexit at all — have dimmed considerably. On Tuesday evening, British lawmakers rejected the deal Prime Minister Theresa May had reached with the EU, opening a Pandora's box of possible outcomes to be considered in the weeks to come.

And the result of the critical vote wasn't even particularly close.

Updated at 12:35 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Theresa May has postponed a critical vote on the draft Brexit deal she negotiated with the European Union, conceding that it would not have enough support to pass Parliament if the vote were held Tuesday as scheduled.

"I've listened very carefully to what has been said in this chamber and out of it, by members from all sides," May told the House of Commons on Monday, only to be interrupted by a peal of derisive laughter from lawmakers.

With just months to go before the U.K. leaves the European Union, the two governments have agreed on a draft of what exactly that withdrawal will look like. The British prime minister's office announced the tentative agreement Tuesday without offering details about the deal hashed out with EU negotiators in Brussels.

The specifics will likely surface only after members of the U.K. Cabinet are consulted. Any agreement requires the approval of Parliament as well as all 27 remaining EU member states.

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