Connect with us


More ‘oomph’: UK’s Johnson eyes Brexit trade deal by July



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he believed stuttering post-Brexit trade talks could conclude by as early as next month, after a meeting with EU chiefs that saw both sides commit to ramping up negotiations.

An upbeat Johnson emerged from an hour-long video conference call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and other leaders to reveal he had told them to “put a tiger in the tank” and add “a bit of oomph” to three months of talks.

“I don’t think we are actually that far apart,” he said. “The faster we can do this, the better, and we see no reason why you shouldn’t get that done in July…

“I don’t want to see (the talks) going on until the autumn, winter.”

The two sides earlier said in a joint statement that “new momentum” was required, after four rounds of negotiations and little to show for it.

The leaders also agreed to pursue a possible “early understanding” on the broad principles of the deal, in an acknowledgement that negotiations could run out of time.

It was Johnson’s first personal involvement in the talks, which began just weeks after Britain left the European Union on January 31 after 47 years in the European project.

He won election victory in December last year on a promise to “get Brexit done” but is under pressure because of the economic fall-out from the coronavirus outbreak.

Businesses are also demanding more certainty about new cross-Channel trading rules once Britain leaves the single market and stops adhering to Brussels’ rules on December 31.

EU Council chief Charles Michel said on Twitter they were “ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke”.

‘Battle of strategies’

Talks have been led by EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost. PHOTO: POOL/AFP / Olivier HOSLET

Both sides hoped the intervention of Johnson and von der Leyen could revive proceedings, which have mostly taken place online because of the global pandemic.

Johnson, Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier all caught the virus.

Negotiators complain the format has not lent itself to making compromises and finding common ground on thorny issues.

Added pressure came after Britain on Friday formally declared that it would not seek to extend the post-Brexit transition by one or two years — something it could have done according to the terms of the divorce deal Johnson signed last year.

Repeated stumbling blocks include British refusals to accept EU calls to commit to European standards overseen by EU law to keep open access to the single market.

Brussels says that would maintain a “level playing field”.

“Level playing field is essential,” Michel said.

Britain says its border checks will be ‘light-touch’ for the first months of next year, whatever the outcome of the talks. PHOTO: AFP / Ben STANSALL

“We cannot accept the UK’s attempts to cherry-pick parts of our single market benefits,” Barnier said in a speech on Thursday.

The EU is also asking for continued guaranteed access to British waters for European fishing fleets, which Britain has so far refused.

Instead, they have proposed annual talks on quotas for catches.

“The cherry-picking is on the side of Brussels,” complained Greg Hands, the UK’s junior minister for trade, to German public radio, citing the case of fishing rights.

Britain wants to keep strong business ties to the EU single market, the world’s biggest — but London will not recognise any mention of EU law or court decisions in the deal, seeing that as a violation of sovereignty.

Johnson’s government also refuses to discuss many topics beyond trade that the Europeans would like to have bound to the same deal, including security, diplomacy, research and data flows.

‘Early understanding’

Opinions differ on how soon a deal needs to be struck.

The EU pushed October 31 as a deadline, while Britain has said this summer was the last chance.

The statement on Monday seemed to indicate that both sides agreed that some sort of deal in principle could be acceptable given the time constraints.

Intensified talks, it said, “should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement.”

A deal in principle could be enough to avoid the damaging consequences of no deal on December 31 and effectively extend the negotiations beyond this year.

Failure to agree a trade deal will lead to tariffs, customs and regulatory checks and other obstacles — in effect removing Britain from Europe’s supply chain.

Reporting and photos: AFP


Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting



The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
Continue Reading


Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024



Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.

This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.

Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:

  • Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
  • Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
  • Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
  • Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.

Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.

Continue Reading


Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives



Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally  acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive  art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to  February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands,  weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger  than-life canvases. 

Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement.  Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself. 

The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation. 

At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.

Experience artistry at its most exclusive

Art Exhibition
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.

Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.

Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.

Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.

Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact

Continue Reading


Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.