Insights

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BT and Ofcom – who will blink first?

TMT

Frustrated by the lack of progress in its attempt to reach a voluntary agreement with BT Group about the future of its Openreach subsidiary, UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, this week raised the stakes. Chief Executive, Sharon White, notified the European Commission of its intention to impose legal separation between BT and Openreach, its infrastructure network. This…

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Trump, Iran and the future of the deal

Trade & Manufacturing

Donald Trump may be a deal maker, but on the Iran nuclear deal he is a wild card. He has said he would police the strict implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, which is President Obama’s primary foreign policy achievement. He has also said his top priority is to dismantle it. Such contradictory statements are a Trump signature, but make understanding his Iran…

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Protecting Tech – is it in the public interest?

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"I am tackling the longstanding problem of our fastest growing technology firms being snapped up". So said UK Chancellor Philip Hammond this week. Yet the very next day it was announced that Skyscanner, one of the UK’s leading tech companies, had been “snapped up” up by Ctrip.com, the Chinese online travel company for £1.4 billion. Should we see this as an example of the…

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General Politics

Donald Tusk plays Ukrainian trump card

General Politics

The EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on Thursday just ended on an unusual note - and not just because Donald Tusk delivered some of his closing remarks in Ukrainian. He also officially said that the EU now bears the entire responsibility for successful completion of the visa facilitation process and the Association Agreement implementation impeded by the results of the Dutch…

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General Politics

How long will Rajoy put up with being in office but not in power?

General Politics

The Spanish parliament’s vote earlier this week to raise the minimum wage from 655 to 800 euros a month - despite the opposition of the governing People’s Party (PP) - highlights the unusual situation that the PP finds itself in, of having to govern in a parliament where a hostile opposition has a majority. 

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Could UK exporters miss the ECJ?

Trade & Manufacturing

GC has just published a report with colleagues from Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group looking at some of the implications of a ‘hard Brexit’ for traders between the EU and the UK. Media coverage of the report has focused on the headline issue of tariffs being re-imposed on EU-UK trade. But, among many other things, the report flags the important…

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Trade Post-Brexit

Trade & Manufacturing

In collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group, Global Counsel has co-authored a paper looking at the meaning and implications of a hard Brexit for businesses, aiming to help them understand the role they may play in shaping this or an alternative outcome.

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The power of procedure: how might the UK parliament shape Brexit?

General Policy

A contest for control of the Brexit process is playing out between the government and parliament in the UK. The complex, opaque rules of parliamentary procedure have suddenly become central to the ability of either side to dictate the tempo and content of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Understanding these rules is key to understanding whether and how parliament can…

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General Politics

Russian economy minister arrested, but the ship sails on…

General Politics

Russia woke up this morning to news unprecedented in its modern history – a serving minister has been arrested for an alleged $2 million cash bribe over the 50% privatisation of Bashneft oil company by the powerful Rosneft. An operation led by the Investigative Committee and the Federal Security Service reminded some of infamous high-profile night-time arrests in the…

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Britain’s not quite open for business

Trade & Manufacturing

In Delhi last week I had the opportunity to hear how Indians see Britain and what they make of Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Will the LinkedIn case start a chain reaction for US tech businesses in Russia?

TMT

This week the Americans elected a new president who is portrayed by some as an agent of change for US-Russian relations and a potential advocate of large US businesses operating in Russia. Donald Trump was quickly congratulated by President Putin, who publicly sought to restore severed links with Washington. What happened within the next 36 hours to two large US tech…

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General Politics

Is Renzi making the same mistake as Cameron?

General Politics

Discussing Italy’s constitutional referendum with people in Milan this week, I was struck by the parallels with the UK, and the ways Matteo Renzi risks falling into the same traps as former UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Though a victory for the ‘Yes’ side led by Matteo Renzi cannot be ruled out given the large number of undecided and abstaining voters, Renzi now seems…

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General Politics

Top Trumps: thirteen takes‎ on a Trump presidency

General Politics

Following the result of the US presidential election, we ask thirteen of our policy specialists for a first take on a Trump administration and its implications for policy and politics.

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Modi’s cash call: political genius or recklessness?

General Policy

It is an interesting week to be in Delhi. While everyone is trying to work out the implications of Donald Trump’s shock victory, Indians are also coming to terms with their own domestic political earthquake.

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What is the point of equivalence in EU financial services?

Financial Services

UK commentators have spent recent weeks debating the opportunities offered by the EU’s ‘equivalence’ regime for companies outside the single market. The concept was significantly expanded by Michel Barnier to encourage global adoption of EU rules and simply commits the EU to go beyond its formal WTO commitments for countries that meet its regulatory standards. In the…

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General Politics

Sizing up soft political risk

General Politics

Soft political risks from changes to regulation, fiscal policies and the way legislation is enforced are now at least as important as hard risks from security threats, political instability and geopolitical tensions. Their prevalence in Europe and the United States means they are now a core issue for just about any investment thesis or corporate strategy. This is partly…

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General Politics

Berlin needs Oettinger

General Politics

Germany’s EU Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, is no diplomat. He has been accused of racism, homophobia and sexism following a speech he gave last week in which described Chinese diplomats as “slitty-eyed rascals”, joked that gay marriage might soon be made compulsory in Germany, and implied women only get jobs through quotas. It is not the first time he has been accused…

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Political support for the “gig economy”: nowhere left to hide?

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Ed Vaizey made a splash at Global Counsel’s breakfast “Digital Tech: Bridge or Barrier to Social Mobility?” when he suggested that self-employed platform workers should receive the minimum wage. The former Minister of Culture and the Digital Economy was responding to a succession of controversies over working conditions in the so-called “gig economy”: Deliveroo riders…

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