Insights

General Politics

Hard and soft political risk: What FTSE-100 companies have to say

General Politics

The political environment facing large international businesses has rarely been more uncertain or more complicated. Over the past twelve months, the UK has voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump has become President of the United States, and Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and removed from office as President of Brazil.

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Strong Currents: Navigating the post-Brexit energy market

Energy & Commodities

In collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group, Global Counsel has co-authored a paper looking at the impact of Brexit on the energy sector in the UK and the EU. The paper identifies key energy and climate change policy implications as well as highlighting the role of business in shaping post-Brexit outcomes for the sector.

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General Politics

Britain’s higher tax future?

General Politics

Tax rises are now back in the centre ground of the UK economic discourse, in a way they have not been for at least a decade. This shift should put businesses and investors on notice - the era in which they could safely assume an ever-friendlier approach to taxation may be at an end.

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General Politics

Could Italy see the return of Berlusconi?

General Politics

Sunday’s Italian municipal election results demonstrated one of the golden rules of Italian politics – never underestimate Il Cavaliere. Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party Forza Italia and its ally, Lega Nord, had a string of very good results in some of Italy’s largest cities, with victory in the erstwhile left-wing stronghold of Genoa being the most…

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Could the UK join NAFTA?

Trade & Manufacturing

The question of UK membership of NAFTA seems to be doing the rounds again. This is not entirely surprising. Both Australian and Canadian trade officials – including Ottawa’s former chief NAFTA negotiator - have recently called for the UK to join existing trading blocks, such as NAFTA, as an easy fix to potential Brexit-related disruptions to UK trade and production…

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The Digital Single Market has a new commissioner – will Mariya Gabriel censor social media?

TMT

After an eight-month hiatus, the EU looks finally set to have a new Commissioner in charge of its flagship, the Digital Single Market (DSM) agenda. Mariya Gabriel is a former MEP, and it showed, in an effective hearing before the European Parliament, which is now certain to rubber stamp her appointment. This support matters for Gabriel as she will need to mobilise MEPs to…

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How Banco Popular put a spotlight on the EU’s Single Supervisory Mechanism

General Policy

I listened this week to SSM head Danièle Nouy defending the sale of Spain’s Banco Popular to Banco Santander in front of the ECON committee of the European Parliament. It was notable how hard Spanish and Italian MEPS in particular pushed her on the ECB’s declaration that the transfer of ownership had been a success for the SSM and the EU’s new approach to resolution and…

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General Politics

Einstein’s advice for Brexit negotiators: relative urgency depends on regulators as much as on politics

General Politics

Much has been written at the launch of Brexit negotiations today about the time remaining for negotiators. Michel Barnier has set a deadline of October 2018 for agreeing a withdrawal treaty, which may or may not include an outline of the future UK-EU trading relationship. This is to allow ratification by the European Council, European Parliament and – where necessary -…

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Customs union: soft Brexit or hard sell?

Trade & Manufacturing

When Theresa May’s UK’s government was stripped of its majority in last week’s general election, the result was widely interpreted as a demand that the UK government focus on minimising the impact of its exit from the EU. One concrete consequence has been to put the question of customs union with the EU back in play as one possible variant of a soft Brexit, although it…

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Deepening the Digital Single Market: not much to tweet about

TMT

Yesterday marked the entry into force of the EU’s ban on data roaming charges. Former England footballer and sports broadcaster Gary Lineker tweeted “Well played EU”, which was just the kind of high profile validation that EU policymakers are looking for. But it’s worth remembering that when the DSM was created in 2015, the strategy was built around three broad objectives…

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Does the migration stick for Visegrad countries require a carrot as well?

General Policy

Migration has drawn the most serious division line between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU member states in a decade. This week’s European Commission infringement decision against Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic for their refusal to pledge to accept refugees is just another strong indication of that.

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The EU banking union 5 years on

Financial Services

5 years have passed since the establishment of the banking union concept as the EU’s three-pillar response to breaking the sovereign-bank “doom loop” behind the EU sovereign debt crisis. Those five years have seen some advances, especially in the creation of a new single supervisor for the EU’s largest banks. Progress has been more uneven in creating a single European…

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General Politics

How Trump shakes up the Middle East

General Politics

It’s only been three weeks since Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, but the repercussions could be felt the moment he left. Only a few hours after his departure to Israel, Bahraini security forces stormed a Shiite village where protesters had staged sit-ins in support of a top Shiite cleric, who Manama accused of supporting foreign interests, meaning Iran. A week later, Egypt…

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General Politics

Was 2017 really a Brexit election?

General Politics

At the start of the election campaign, 2017 was meant to be the election that delivered Theresa May a strong mandate for Brexit as both Leave voters and pragmatic Remainers trusted her to get on with the job of implementing the referendum result. Meanwhile, Labour was supposed to be headed for a 1983-style defeat under the left-wing Jeremy Corbyn, losing Remain voters to…

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Au revoir Donald: is US withdrawal from Paris an opportunity for European climate leadership?

Energy & Commodities

On Thursday, self-proclaimed deal maker Donald Trump turned ‘deal breaker’, as he announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The decision provoked condemnation from an extraordinary spectrum of political and business leaders, and the US now appears on course to leave at some point towards the end of 2020. Soon after the announcement, some European…

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Could TTIP really be relaunched?

Trade & Manufacturing

On Tuesday, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gave the clearest sign yet that the US administration might have an interest in reviving the TTIP negotiations. Ross told media that it “makes sense” to continue negotiating the deal that slipped into a coma just before the Obama administration left office.

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European policy and the future of the EU

General Policy

Ten years of serial crises and rising voter scepticism about mainstream political parties have definitively buried the managerialist consensus that dominated EU policymaking in the early 2000s. The financial crisis, strained public finances and large-scale immigration flows have exposed the delicate balance between technical problem solving, solidarity of national…

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General Politics

A German-German motor for the EU27?

General Politics

Attention in the European Council has turned from unity over Brexit to whether France and Germany can find a unifying policy direction for the EU27. The view in Paris is that Franco-German compromises offer a realistic balance between the interests of member states in the west, east, north and south, and that a joint platform is more achievable without the need to take…

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