Insights

General Politics

Spain will have a new government, but how much will it be able to do?

General Politics

After 10 months of political uncertainty and two general elections, Spain will now get a government, but one that will be severely constrained. Incumbent interim centre-right Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will now face, and win, an investiture vote in the Congress of Deputies at the end of the week. This follows the decision by the centre-left Socialist Party at the…

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CETA: What’s the matter with Wallonia?

Trade & Manufacturing

This has been a tricky week for EU trade policy. Up until last Friday, EU governments were largely expected to unanimously give their final greenlight in this week’s Council meeting for the signing and provisional implementation of CETA. However, this week the minister president of Belgium’s Wallonia Region Paul Magnette de facto ordered the Belgian federal government to…

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General Politics

Is Donald Trump about to become an exception to the ‘October 31 rule’?

General Politics

Donald Trump’s performance in the third and final presidential debate seems unlikely to do much to stem his plummeting popularity. It is not unusual for presidential campaigns to be tawdry affairs but the last couple of weeks has seen the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton shock even seasoned political commentators. The clip of audio revealing Trump’s amused…

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General Politics

Pravin Gordhan and what happens next in South Africa

General Politics

In his time, Pravin Gordhan has played many roles: pharmacist; anti-apartheid activist; prisoner; chief taxman; and finance minister not once, but twice. In South Africa’s current political morality play, he is cast as the martyr – fending off what many see as politically motivated accusations of fraud from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to prevent him exposing…

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Less taxation for… more representation

General Policy

The German federal election is less than a year away and strategists in the two large coalition parties are both preparing to answer the same question: how to change the subject from migration. This week hinted at the likely answer, and it is not a particularly novel one: money.

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Marmite for banks

Financial Services

When British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed her Conservative Party conference earlier this month she railed against the side-effects of super-low interest rates and bemoaned the cost to savers. She promised to fix the problem “because that’s what a Conservative Government can do” raising concerns about whether a government that says it is “prepared to intervene”…

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The 100,000 person question

General Policy

Immigration is the simmering political issue at the heart of Brexit. Much of the debate has focused on how far the UK can reclaim control of EU migration into the UK, while retaining some form of participation in, or preferential access to, the single market. But what if we assume that full migration policy is back in the hands of the UK government. How does it meet…

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In the Brexit divorce, who gets custody of the EU’s FTAs?

Trade & Manufacturing

Like many divorces, Brexit is going to be a custody battle of sorts. UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox has warned (via his preferred UK newspapers) his EU counterparts that attempts to prevent the UK inheriting a large number of FTAs signed on the UK’s behalf by the EU could be met with retaliation by those EU trading partners. This is, in essence,…

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Indonesia opens a new front in the GAFA wars

General Policy

ASEAN policymakers have always watched their European counterparts closely – both for good and bad examples. The European Commission’s landmark decision last month instructing Ireland to claw back €13 billion of unpaid corporate tax from Apple is no exception.

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General Politics

EU tuition fees post-Brexit: feast or famine?

General Politics

In a week when a UK university, Oxford, was crowned the best in the world, it’s worth reminding ourselves that Brexit gives the British higher education sector a lot to chew on. The potential loss of research funding and restricted access to top EU talent are headline concerns, but here’s a different question: what happens once EU students become classified as …

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Support for outward investment: a questionable solution to a misdiagnosed problem

Financial Services

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox slipped out an important change in policy earlier this month when he told Conservative MPs that from now on the government would give the same weight to supporting outward investment as it does to inward investment. His concern is the deterioration in the current account. Inward investment may bring jobs, but foreign companies want a…

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Brexit and the audio-visual sector – facing up to life outside the single market

TMT

As Whitehall limbers up for the UK’s exit negotiations from the European Union by establishing new departments and recruiting new staff, it will be some time before the government reaches its full capacity for managing the negotiations. Before this point, however, fundamental decisions will need to be taken about the direction of the negotiations, such as whether to…

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Will the EU's new cybersecurity law prevent another Yahoo?

TMT

The data security world has been rocked by Yahoo’s revelation that it had been the victim of a “state sponsored” hack leading to the exposure of 500 million user accounts. Beyond the sheer scale of the breach, its significance lies in the apparent lack of transparency with users, who were only notified this week when the incident is reported to have occurred in 2014. This…

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General Politics

United Russia victory as a silver bullet for PM Medvedev

General Politics

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EU-UK (Un) Free Trade Agreement

Trade & Manufacturing

One of the consistent themes of the UK referendum campaign on EU membership was just how hard it would be to re-establish trading terms between the two sides if the UK was outside the EU. Opponents of exit warned that it could take many years for the EU and the UK to negotiate a ‘Free Trade Agreement’ (FTA). To be sure, the EU’s own experience with such negotiations has…

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Investors raising the bar for ESG disclosures

Financial Services

Everyday it seems there is another responsible investment framework, or new updates to comply with. Investors have driven the creation of these frameworks – now they need to drive their consolidation.

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Why Britain’s attitude to foreign inward investment has not yet gone nuclear

Energy & Commodities

In the end, the energy wonks were disappointed. Weeks of speculation about Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant were ended by the go-ahead for a deal which looks remarkably similar to the one previously on the table. The changes, and where they came from, were not about energy but security. The proposals which accompanied the decision are something of a glimpse into the…

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Should the UK seek Customs Union with the EU?

Trade & Manufacturing

It was interesting to watch the new UK Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis face-off for the first time with the British Parliament this week. As expected, he was pushed on the detail of his vision for the future relationship between the EU and the UK and he ultimately got in trouble with his boss in Number 10 for sounding a bit too sure on the question of…

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