Insights

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Is the ECJ judgement a big deal for a big EU-UK deal?

Trade & Manufacturing

Last week’s ECJ judgement on the ‘mixity’ question in EU trade agreements was a big one for EU trade policy. The ECJ overturned the Advocate General and years of practice by declaring that almost all of the things the European Commission negotiates on in FTAs should be treated in this respect as the exclusive competence of the EU. This includes big areas like transport…

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General Politics

The British Conservatives: May in the middle

General Politics

The election manifesto of the governing UK Conservative Party published yesterday was the most ambitious attempt to redefine British conservatism since the 1980s. It did this not by calling for radical policy change – it recommitted to radical policies like Brexit and set out a wide range of aims and ideas but little that is new – but by ambitious repositioning and some…

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General Politics

Draghi’s monetary policy predicament

General Politics

If you want to understand the predicament facing ECB Governor Mario Draghi you need look no further than estimates of long-run real interest rates for the major eurozone economies.

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Thinking out loud on globalisation

General Policy

The European Commission published this week its assessment of how the benefits of globalisation can be harnessed, while addressing the anxieties that are also created and which are impacting on political debates across Europe.

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Theresa May’s energy price cap: more about who, than how

Energy & Commodities

When it finally came, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that she would introduce a cap on energy prices if re-elected was made more in anger than in sorrow. Declaring in the Sun newspaper that she is “fed up with rip-off energy prices” May promised to cap the ‘standard variable tariffs’ (SVT), through which most UK households buy their energy. The cap will be…

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Brexit and energy: the view from Europe

Energy & Commodities

Today, the BEIS Select Committee released its report on the UK government’s Brexit negotiating priorities on energy and climate change. The report highlights important issues, including the need for a delay in the UK’s exit from nuclear cooperation agreement Euratom, potential “special arrangements” to maintain a single Irish energy market, and the view that the UK…

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Trump races to the bottom with dynamic models

Financial Services

The NASDAQ reached an all-time high yesterday as Donald Trump announced he wants to more than halve the US corporation tax rate, from 35% to 15%. But he knows that doing so comes with a big price tag – one that, in the context of a fraught debate about the US national debt and deficit, is an almost impossible sell to Congress. The solution? Dynamic modelling: counting the…

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It’s good to talk in Washington

General Policy

When the finance ministers of the world’s largest economies gathered in Washington over the weekend they had in front of them IMF analysis of the global economy that for once was quite up-beat. The growth forecast is higher, financial markets are buoyant, and a long-awaited cyclical recovery is underway in many economies.

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General Politics

May’s Manifesto – The Ins and Outs

General Politics

With the UK now set for a general election on 8 June, attention has turned to the party manifestos. Given the general expectation that the Conservatives will win a large new majority, their platform is of particular interest. With very little constraining political opposition, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has the freedom to be as innovative as her admittedly cautious…

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The audio-visual single market unravels – saying goodbye to the country of origin principle

TMT

A vote today in the European Parliament’s Culture Committee on the reform of the Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive signals a significant re-nationalisation of the EU’s single market in online broadcasting.

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General Politics

Brexit means what Theresa May says it means

General Politics

Theresa May’s decision to call a general election on 8 June is timed to minimise disruption to the negotiations with the EU. The early stages were always going to be about modalities - about who will participate, what they will discuss and when - and that can still happen in the run up to the election. The serious discussions, requiring high-level political backing, will…

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General Politics

Washing up before the election

General Politics

With the UK Parliament likely to dissolve on the 2-3 May, ahead of the 8 June election, there will now be a frantic scramble for the UK government to complete the passage of legislation currently in train. This process, known as the wash-up, was thought to be relatively obsolete with the introduction of fixed-term parliaments. Revived now it will be…

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The politicisation of monetary policy

Financial Services

Central bankers have never operated in a political vacuum, even though many of the most important are at least operationally independent. For some, that independence is now being eroded - or even directly challenged. The result is a creeping politicisation of policy, at a critical decision point for monetary policy, which may have long-lasting economic implications.

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A Brexit pill for Romania

General Policy

When you mention EU states competing to win a prestigious and powerful European regulatory agency from Britain after Brexit, most people would probably think of the European Banking Authority. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is also up for grabs, and the most intriguing bidder is Bucharest.

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General Politics

Early positioning and leverage in the Brexit negotiation

General Politics

The early stages of any negotiation are all about positioning. The Brexit negotiation is no different. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter invoking Article 50 - and the draft negotiating guidelines issued by European Council President Donald Tusk - are both exercises in positioning. Each sets out objectives and constraints, as the two sides compete to shape the…

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Fintech revolution or market evolution? When David becomes Goliath

Financial Services

When the European Commission holds its public hearing on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) tomorrow, one of the key questions will be how to promote fintech while ensuring consumer confidence. Tools such as crowdfunding have become a potentially revolutionary means of alternative financing, giving the CMU serious growth potential. At the same time, they present new…

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Greener than Trump: how seriously can we take Chinese low carbon leadership?

Sustainability

Whatever gets discussed at Mar-a-Lago between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, it probably won’t include climate change. Trump has just ripped up Obama’s Clean Power Plan and approved Keystone XL. Xi is positioning China as the new global leader in climate change. Anyone trying to make sense of what this means for demand for renewables and the global dynamic in climate…

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Is this the tipping point for off-payroll working?

General Policy

Regional UK city Lincoln’s hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department was at risk of being closed this week. This was not due to a deluge of patients or a lack of funding but rather the result of a recent tweak to the UK’s tax rules and could have far reaching ramifications for the UK-wide review of self-employment practices, currently underway.

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