Insights

General Politics

A Franco-German motor for EU defence policy

General Politics

Manuel Valls’ elimination from France’s Presidential race meant one certainty in an unpredictable election: on 7th May voters will choose a ‘change’ candidate. It may mean the ‘new politics’ promised by Emmanuel Macron, eschewing left/right party structures. It may be the ‘new economy’ promised by François Fillon, with radical structural reforms. Or it may be the ‘new…

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The uncertain future of the UK Green Investment Bank

Financial Services

It would appear that Macquarie’s status as preferred bidder for the Green Investment Bank, a UK government owned renewable energy investor, is under threat. While the sale was supposed to have been finalised at the end of 2016, Climate Change Minister Nick Hurd confirmed on Wednesday that the government has not taken a final decision on the structure of the sale or…

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Carney on fintech: quid pro quo

Financial Services

Yesterday in Wiesbaden, Bank of England Governor and Financial Stability Board (FSB) Chair Mark Carney gave the clearest articulation yet of how financial regulators are weighing the future of fintech. While at pains to predict a “shining future” for financial disruption, he put both innovators and incumbents on notice. The speech gave us three clues about what he and the…

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At the front of a very slow queue

Trade & Manufacturing

British Prime Minister Theresa May goes to Washington this week to meet President Trump, with the aim of securing a strong public commitment to conclude a trade deal at the earliest opportunity.

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Is the EU a pragmatist or a purist on insurance equivalence?

Financial Services

There has been quite a lot of media coverage of the recently finalised negotiations between the EU and the US Department of Treasury and Federal Insurance Office on a “covered agreement” for (re)insurance services. Notable features of the deal include the national, uniform treatment of collateral requirements, exchange of regulatory information between leading…

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All (climate) politics is local

Energy & Commodities

As the Davos elite gather in the shadow of the Trump inauguration, much of the talk is of uncertainty over the future of globalisation. Davos sessions with titles such as ‘Climate change: COP out?’ highlight the very real fears that the new mood could see politicians privilege the national and local at the expense of the multilateral and global, with damaging impacts on…

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General Politics

Brexit begins now

General Politics

Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech has provided much needed clarity about the British approach to Brexit. It has reset the baseline for the negotiation by taking the UK out of the single market. This is a hard concession for Europhiles in Britain to swallow, but one that was inevitable. By conceding the point early, the UK will avoid being put on the defensive…

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General Politics

Do populists need to win to matter?

General Politics

The upcoming Dutch parliamentary elections on 15 March are the first test in a year that will see populist parties perform strongly in elections in France, Germany, and probably Italy as well. Earlier this week, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte ruled out any coalition with Geert Wilders, leader of the populist right Party of Freedom (PVV). Wilders’ agenda goes further…

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Brexit and the future of UK immigration policy

General Policy

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has all but ruled out maintaining freedom of movement between the UK and EU post-Brexit. This implies a new migration system, providing recruitment challenges for a range of sectors from social care to agriculture. Businesses should now plan to adapt, but policy flux is not all bad news, with some distinct opportunities arising, especially…

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Passporting is dead. Long live ‘passporting’?

Financial Services

There was some comment this week about the fact that the UK’s largest financial services advocacy body TheCityUK has self-consciously ceased to advocate the retention of passporting rights for UK-based financial services businesses after the UK has left the EU. This was presented as a concession of ambition, but it is also a form of tactical retreat.

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General Politics

Could the UK’s new industrial strategy solve the conundrum of skills and migration?

General Politics

UK immigration minister Robert Goodwill’s comments were very rapidly dismissed by his prime minister this week when he floated the idea of extending the proposed £1,000 a year charge on skilled migrant workers to workers from the European Union after the UK has left the EU. Aside from the now familiar sight of ministers being put back in their boxes after speculating on…

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Who wants a universal basic income?

General Policy

Interest in a universal basic income is growing at both ends of the political spectrum, albeit for very different reasons. It is also attracting support, and some financial backing, from tech entrepreneurs. The flexibility of the concept explains why it has created such broad interest. It can be regressive or progressive, depending on the level, who pays and what it means…

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General Politics

Short-changing Britain with shoddy analysis

General Politics

Campaign group Change Britain has published flawed and incomplete analysis suggesting the UK will gain £24bn a year, or £450mn each week, if the UK government pursues a ‘clean Brexit’ and leaves the single market and customs union. 

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EU FTAs: mixed fortunes

Trade & Manufacturing

The EU Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston yesterday delivered an important preliminary conclusion in the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) review of the ratification requirements of the EU-Singapore FTA. This sounds like an arcane question but is actually a big political issue. Because the question Sharpston has answered is the question of whether or not EU trade…

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Vestager dislikes Facebook status on WhatsApp data

TMT

The European Commission today brought charges against Facebook, alleging the company misled the EU’s competition authorities during its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014. The social media giant stands accused of submitting evidence to the Commission to the effect that it was technically impossible to match its users’ accounts with WhatsApp’s, something subsequently shown…

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Murdoch reaches for the Sky – will he fall flat again?

TMT

Following yesterday’s formal confirmation of 21st Century Fox's bid to take control of Sky, UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will soon need to decide on whether to launch a public interest investigation into the takeover. There is a strong sense of déjà vu with News Corporation’s ill-fated bid for BskyB in 2010.

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General Politics

Carney and Bloomberg’s climate competent market

General Politics

This week saw Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg launch the second phase of the work of the G20 Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. The report sets out a comprehensive framework to help a range of companies, from asset managers to the extractives industries, explain the potential impacts of climate change – and the efforts…

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China, the EU and ‘market economy status’: what happens now?

Trade & Manufacturing

Yesterday marked the deadline to solve the issue of China’s market economy status (MES) and yet nothing has changed in the EU rulebook. However, a reform package is on its way and will probably be agreed at some point in 2017. In the meantime, the EU will likely carry on as usual in anti-dumping investigations. The main takeaway from the MES debate is not the new…

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