Insights

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How multi-speed can Europe be?

General Policy

As European leaders head to Rome this weekend to contemplate the EU’s future, there is an elephant in the room, and it is not actually Brexit. It is the question of whether the EU is ultimately reaching the zenith of the harmonising push begun with the creation of the single market thirty years ago. The logic of Brussels has always been that unity follows uniformity. One…

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General Politics

Right and wrong kinds of populism?

General Politics

We were lucky to have former MEP and Dutch Labour Party President Michiel van Hulten in to GC this week for a briefing on the Dutch election. Michiel provided plenty of food for thought, especially on the coalition-building dynamic over the weeks (months?) ahead. A couple of things stood out from the group’s discussion for me.

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General Politics

Erdogan and Europe: the long disengagement?

General Politics

The Dutch election has set a precedent: It pays for ‘mainstream’ European politicians to take a tough line on Turkey, which has become the symbol for the challenges of immigration in many EU member states. Mark Rutte’s stand-off with Ankara was certainly a vote winner. This has not gone unnoticed by party strategists in Paris and Berlin, who are preparing for their own…

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General Politics

Talking politics in the windy city

General Politics

During a trip to Chicago earlier this month, I reflected on the differences between my time in office and the present. Despite economic gains from globalisation, failures in politics and in policy have led to a crisis of confidence in global cooperation. This has made the identity-based, pessimistic politics promoted by populists more attractive. But it also poses a…

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Dear Donald, love Mark

General Policy

Mark Carney knows that the Financial Stability Board, the global financial regulator he chairs, needs the US on board. And he knows that the Trump administration is facing pressure to abandon ship. These facts explain the thrust of his letter to the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors ahead of this weekend’s summit in Baden, Germany. It is an almost explicit…

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Unscheduled stops

Trade & Manufacturing

One of the many things the UK will need to do on its way out of the EU is to establish its new ‘most favoured nation’ trading profile at the WTO in Geneva. This means establishing the tariffs for goods, minimum market access conditions for services trade and a number of other notified conditions that will apply in the UK market. Other WTO member states will have the right…

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General Politics

Europe and China’s looming investment conflict

General Politics

If you want to understand the state of the EU-China economic relationship, then reading the analysis of China’s Manufacturing 2025 strategy by the European Chamber of Commerce in China is a great place to start. It does not bother with the usual, dry statistical analysis of export growth rates and bilateral deficits. Instead, it is a stark exposé of why European…

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Why Theresa May might not worry about foreign takeovers

Financial Services

Today SoftBank, new owners of UK tech jewel ARM Holdings, sold a 25% stake in the business just nine months after acquiring the chipmaker. Though the UK government is committed to ending short-termism in company governance and stewardship, and addressing the power of ‘foreign’ takeovers of British companies, the move apparently sounded no more alarm bells than did the…

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General Politics

What Northern Ireland’s election means for Brexit

General Politics

Northern Ireland’s Assembly election on 2 March has come close to delivering a political earthquake, with the nationalist Sinn Fein coming within 1,200 votes of beating the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to first place, while the Assembly could for the first time lack a unionist majority. Arguably the most consequential election since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the…

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Facilitating trade facilitation

Trade & Manufacturing

This week marked something of a milestone for the 21-year old World Trade Organisation (WTO). After being agreed at the December 2015 Nairobi Ministerial meeting, the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has now been ratified by more than two thirds of the WTO membership and has thus entered into force. This makes it the first successful multilateral agreement reached under…

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General Politics

Identity politics and the Jakarta Governor election

General Politics

The race for the governorship of Jakarta is almost over. According to unofficial results from private pollsters this week, incumbent governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama and Gerindra Party-backed Anies Baswedan will be facing off in a runoff election on 19th April. The leadership of the capital is arguably the biggest job under the President and a platform for national…

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General Politics

Will Britain lose Dyson to Singapore?

General Politics

Last week Dyson announced the opening of a new £330 million R&D centre in Singapore. The focus of the centre, home to Dyson’s new Global Technology Centre of Excellence, is on commercialising Dyson’s technology for global markets, including, for example, for use in smart homes. Dyson has grand ambitions to expand beyond household devices into technologies that will…

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General Politics

Silicon Valley’s conflict of interest over Trump

General Politics

In the 2016 Presidential election, Silicon Valley burnished its credentials as a liberal bastion. In the combined counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda, 78% of voters supported Hillary Clinton with only 16% voting for Donald Trump.

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Scotland’s £12bn export gap

Trade & Manufacturing

If there is a second independence referendum in Scotland, one of the central issues will be which single market matters more, the UK’s or the EU’s? The latest export statistics for Scotland, published last month, reveal what’s at stake.

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A Trump answer to an Obama trade question

Trade & Manufacturing

On Wednesday next week, the US Trade Representative will hold a public hearing on whether the US should reinstate retaliatory tariffs on various imports coming from the EU, in retaliation for an EU ban on US hormone-treated beef exports. This is a longstanding trade irritant between the EU and the US, first erupting with a (successful) US complaint at the WTO in 1996. A…

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UK trade deals: a tale of two cities

Trade & Manufacturing

The British Prime Minister has just returned from an important visit to a large UK trading partner with a controversial and often provocative leader. There was talk of a possible future bilateral trade deal between the two, and agreement to start preliminary discussions to this effect. This was a cause of mild irritation in Brussels, where the UK’s right to trigger such…

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Could Macron’s ‘Marche’ get stuck despite winning?

General Policy

A poll this week shows French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron for the first time making it to the second round of the elections. It also suggested that he would easily defeat Front National leader Marine Le Pen. Previously dismissed, the former investment banker and minister under François Hollande, has now become the unexpected frontrunner in France’s most open…

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Brexit’s nuclear option

Energy & Commodities

Yesterday’s government White Paper on Brexit confirmed that the UK will leave the European nuclear research and cooperation framework Euratom. Having concluded that Euratom is “uniquely legally joined” with the EU, the government argues that Brexit will require the UK to leave Euratom when it leaves the EU. While Euratom has its own treaty status, it is the central role…

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