EU elbows, silver surges and the patience of a Brexit negotiator
Planet Business: Let’s not get going
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and European Council president Charles Michel practice their elbow bump. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/AP
Image of the week: Summit bazooka
Fair play to Michéal Martin if he still wants to be Taoiseach after attending the second-longest EU summit in history. Falling just 25 minutes short of the EU enlargement get-together in Nice 20 years ago, the first face-to-face meeting of EU leaders since coronavirus involved 90 hours of talks in Brussels and culminated in a weary deal to provide €390 billion in grants to countries most hit by the pandemic and €360 billion in low-interest loans to other member states.
Here, in the company of German chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte (centre left) is seen demonstrating this year’s biggest dance craze, the elbow bump, with European Council president Charles Michel, shortly before everybody agreed they weren’t going to go through another full day of wrangling.
In numbers: High-ho silver
7 The price of silver hasn’t been so high in this many years, with spot prices surging amid industrial demand for the metal, as well as investor interest in safe havens.
9 The price of gold is at a nine-year high, though silver has outperformed it so far in July thanks to its use in batteries, semiconductors, solar panels and various industrial processes.
$23.0282 Spot price per ounce for silver on commodity markets on Wednesday, after an 8 per cent jump. (Spot gold, meanwhile, was about $1,865.81 per ounce).
Getting to know: Olympia Ohanian
The daughter of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and tennis superstar Serena Williams, two-year-old Olympia has been named alongside her parents in a majority female group of investors that also includes Oscar winner Natalie Portman, her fellow actors Jennifer Garner and Eva Longoria, USA national team veteran Mia Hamm, senior Netflix executive Cindy Holland and video game entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, Angel City’s president. Alexis Ohanian said he wanted his football-loving daughter to have “a front-row seat to this revolution”.
The list: Brexit thinking
It’s had to play tenth fiddle to a virus since March, but Brexit hasn’t gone away. Here are five of the latest thoughts on the subject. Warning: may trigger déjà vu.
1. Nothing to see here. Nobody should be at all alarmed that the UK government showed zero interest in whether Russia interfered in the referendum, says Boris Johnson. That’s just “the rage and fury of the remainer elite”, who should “move on”.
2. Never mind the details. Westminster’s new Brexit awareness campaign shows people with suitcases under the slogan “let’s get going”, but doesn’t dare mention customs and immigration queues.
3. Any time is good. If no UK-EU deal is agreed before the end of the transition period, it will be “an enormous act of self-harm”, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
4. That pesky border. The UK’s international trade secretary Liz Truss has been expressing her concerns about its readiness for the end of transition, a pragmatism that is sure to see her reshuffled out of her job between now and December 31st.
5. Tough job: patience required. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, says his team will continue to talk to its London counterparts “with patience, respect and determination” despite “significant divergences”.