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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Shooting in Utrecht, Cyclones in East Africa, & Brexit Showdown

This week has been overshadowed with multiple tragic events.

On Monday morning, breaking news of a shooting came from Utrecht, not too far from Maastricht. After assumptions of it being a relationship crime, the perpetrator confessed the crime had been with terroristic intentions. In a tram, he indiscriminately fired around himself and eight innocent people, three dead and five more insured, fell victim to this awful crime. It is hard, presumably impossible, to understand and accept such an offence but we mustn’t be intimidated.

The shooting not being enough, we had to hear about cyclone “Idai” in Mozambique. Additionally, Zimbabwe and Malawi didn’t get away unscathed. Particularly the city Beira of about 500.000 citizens was heavily affected. Nothing is like before. Hundreds of thousands are homeless, streets and bridges are non-existent since the mass of water swept everything away. Until yesterday, the death toll had risen to 400 already but the number is expected to still increase. The rescue is a battle against the clock. The cyclone claims evermore victims and one fears the dissemination of diseases such as cholera and typhus. The catastrophe has taken on a dramatic scale and Mozambique declared a state of emergency.

Coming to something less devastating yet concerning many of us: Brexit. Its negotiations have been on-going for ages and for most of us it’s hard to keep up with it. Almost every day we receive news about demonstrations, possible referenda, extensions, postponements, etc. The situation is pure chaos. Some people still have hope that Brexit is not happening at all, but I fear it’s too late for that. Both Theresa May and the EU seem tired of the back and forth since the negotiations seem to lead nowhere and no one is willing to make more concessions. Next to the proceedings, an online-petition went viral. Already more than four million signed and raised their voice against the Brexit. Beyond that, this week thousands of anti-Brexiters went on the street in London for the “people’s vote” march. They claimed a second referendum.

Contrastingly, Theresa May wants a third vote, but with the Speaker of the House denying further voting unless meaningful changes are made to May’s deal, will there even be a third vote? In a letter to MPs on Friday, she indicated that she would not put her deal up for vote again, unless a supporting majority becomes visible beforehand. Should that not happen, she would ask the EU again for elongating the extension of the UK’s exit date –even if that meant participating in the European Elections at the end of May. EU Council president Donal Tusk said, “The 12 April is a key date in terms of the UK deciding whether to hold European Elections or not”.

All options are still on the table: Revoking Article 50 to stay in the EU, a second referendum, crashing out without a deal, or elongating the exit date.

I don’t want to let you go with too many negatives thoughts on such a sunny day. After weeks of seemingly endless rain, spring has finally arrived in Maastricht!


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