Insights

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The £60 billion economic impact of Brexit (and counting)

General Policy

One of the most contested issues, before and since the referendum on UK membership of the EU, has been the potential impact of Brexit on the UK economy. The exercise is almost as difficult now as it was before the referendum, because we still don’t know what Brexit will mean for the UK’s trading relationships, or the regulatory environment in Britain, two issues that will…

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General Politics

Political lessons from Madrid to Berlin

General Politics

After the withdrawal of the liberal FDP from coalition negotiations, German politics is faced with a similar dilemma to Spain in 2015-2016: an inconclusive set of elections, the unwillingness of the centre-left to support the incumbent centre-right Prime Minister, and ultimately the possibility of another set of elections. In both instances, it was up to social democrats…

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Good work? Will the UK government act on the Taylor Review

General Policy

The UK government’s official response to the Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices is expected imminently. However, there are major questions over whether ministers will be able to support many, if any, of Matthew Taylor’s wide-ranging recommendations for reforming UK employment law. While a wholesale reform of employment law seemed unlikely when May commissioned the…

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General Politics

Sicily and the perils of going it alone

General Politics

Last Sunday’s regional elections in Sicily were the last major electoral test ahead of Italy’s general elections next spring, and they do not bode well for the Five Star Movement. The party had high hopes of winning the contest, in a region that saw the party’s best results in the 2013 general elections. After its victories in Rome and Turin in 2016, winning Sicily’s…

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Digital competition in India and Europe

TMT

In New Delhi last week, I joined business and political leaders considering the prospects for the digital sectors in India and Europe. The differences and the similarities, in the outlook and the issues being confronted by policymakers in each market, are equally striking.

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General Politics

Will ANO say ‘Yes’ to Euroscepticism and ‘No’ to Brussels?

General Politics

The parliamentary elections in Czech Republic last weekend produced an unsettling but not unexpected result. The moderate populist ANO party won nearly 30% of the vote, but fell far short of a majority in the parliament. Other anti-establishment parties – the Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) and the Pirates Party – have significantly strengthened their positions…

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Australia’s European opportunity

Trade & Manufacturing

While in Australia at the start of this month, one question that came up repeatedly was how Australia should approach its trade relationship with Europe.

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General Politics

Anglo-German relations and the EU question

General Politics

Brexit was conspicuous by its absence in the German election campaign. Migration, Islam and relations with Turkey dominated the only TV debate in early September. Relations with the second largest European economy were not even mentioned once. The EU itself also hardly figured in the campaign, beyond the usual vague commitments to the union, and having more of it. That…

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Ofgem, price caps, and the dangers of Italian design

Energy & Commodities

Prime Minister Theresa May restarted the UK energy bills debate last week, announcing a draft Energy Bill which would allow Ofgem – the UK national energy regulator – to cap household energy bills in the form of the time-limited introduction of a ‘safeguard tariff’. While the GC energy practice watched from afar in Rome, some unexpected lessons from the Italian market…

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In defence of Catalonia in Brussels

General Policy

The European Commission has manoeuvred carefully to avoid being drawn into the dramatic events unfolding in Spain over the last few days. A related plenary debate between European Parliament group leaders in Strasbourg this week was a heated one, with the Commission coming under fire for both passivity and preferential treatment for Madrid. While mainstream leaders…

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Dividing EU-UK farm trade quotas: no friends, just interests

Trade & Manufacturing

News this week that the EU and the UK have agreed on a methodology for dividing current farm trade quotas between them was expected at some point. These ‘TRQs’ are in effect a piece of EU property that the two sides needed to agree how to divide. The problem is, of course, that they are used by other WTO members to trade with the EU and the UK, and these members will…

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Power and responsibility for big tech: a last chance for self-regulation?

TMT

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the EU and the US legislated for an online ‘liability exemption’ under which websites and online platforms are broadly not held liable for the content or products that their customers and users upload to their sites. This approach was replicated globally and has been key in allowing user-generated and user-uploaded platforms such as…

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Reforming EU financial supervision: more Europe without more treaties

Financial Services

Reforms to the EU’s financial supervisory system proposed this week can be boiled down to two principles: more supervision at the European rather than the national level, and more powers for the EU to keep a closer eye on developments in other jurisdictions.

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Taking back control of EU trade policy

Trade & Manufacturing

Yesterday, the European Council’s Trade Policy Committee gathered for an informal meeting in Tallinn to discuss how to approach the European Commission’s new trade package. The package essentially fleshed out some of the policy details of Commission President Jean Claude Junker’s vision for a more balanced and progressive EU trade policy, set out in his ‘state of the…

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General Politics

The Irish border trilemma

General Politics

The Irish border is one of the few Brexit issues for which the positions of the parties to the negotiation are precise and clear. They are also irreconcilable, as things stand.

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Cybersecurity regulation gets personal

TMT

UK government proposals on cybersecurity in the automotive sector highlight how one unexpected outcome of digitisation could be the introduction of strict corporate governance rules previously unseen outside of the financial services sector.

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Can natural capital provide the framework for a ‘green’ Brexit?

Sustainability

Putting a monetary value on nature provides a stronger economic case for ambitious environmental policy supported by public and private investment, but it also leaves that value, and the investment case, hanging on politics.

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Banco Popular: too much transparency or too little?

Financial Services

The European Commission-approved resolution of Spanish Banco Popular, initially considered a demonstrable success of the EU’s Single Resolution Mechanism, has come to a predictable head with its investors. A group of bondholders filed suit with the ECJ last week to overturn the ECB’s June decision to resolve the bank due to its “likely to fail” status. The investors argue…

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