Europe briefing: Brexit draft text 'agreed' and French fuel tax hike

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By Sallyann Nicholls
Europe briefing: Brexit draft text 'agreed' and French fuel tax hike
Copyright  REUTERS

1.Brexit 'endgame' nears

The UK and European Union have agreed to a draft text of a Brexit withdrawal agreement, which will be presented to senior ministers in Westminster on Wednesday. 

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC Radio that Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed deal could potentially break up the UK because it will treat Northern Ireland differently.

2. Italian government sticks to big spending budget despite EU rejection

The Italian government announced that it will maintain its big spending budget for 2019 despite the European Commission's demands for the plan to be revised, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said Tuesday. 

Last month, the Commission rejected the plan for the big increase in the deficit and said its growth forecast was "overly optimistic".

3. EU digital tax proposal in the works

A European Union digital tax will be proposed at a meeting of EU finance ministers in December, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an interview with German website

Germany has been working with France who's a big supporter of a digital tax for a long time. The French government said that after months of lobbying, the only governments that remain opposed are Denmark, Sweden, and Ireland.

4. French prime minister said fuel tax hike is going ahead despite protests

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on French radio that tax hikes on fuels will go ahead despite popular opposition. 

Speaking on RTL radio, he also unveiled a €500 million plan to help motorists with the lowest incomes. As part of the plan, the government will double the current €2,000 bonus low-income motorists receive when they change their high-polluting old-model cars.

5. Swedish parliament rejects centre-right Moderates leader as prime minister

As expected, the Swedish parliament has rejected the centre-right Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson as the new prime minister after voting on Wednesday, leaving the political deadlock with no end in sight. 

Kristersson was rejected with 195 members of the 349-seat parliament voting and 154 voting in his favour.