I have just spent an interesting week in Madrid talking with people from every part of the political spectrum. There was a lot of talk of Spain flexing its muscles more in Europe. In the background to these conversations, Spain was pushing hard for – and got – concessions from the UK over Gibraltar that prompted Pedro Sánchez to trail the prospect of co-sovereignty for the territory. Everyone notes that Spanish MEPs will have a uniquely strong presence across all of the main pan-European political groupings after June. The Ciudadanos centrists in particular anticipate playing a pivotal role as a broker between the ALDE and Macron’s En Marche. People point out that Spain remains exceptional in not having any significant Eurosceptic political party and some of the highest levels of pro-Europeanism in the EU. These are firm signs of a potential end to long relative marginalisation that followed the 2012 rescue package. But there are also some tests ahead for Spain.
We’re a few days away from the start of the annual climate negotiations – or Conference of the Parties (COP) – this year happening in Katowice, Poland. It is already being hailed as Paris 2.0 or the COP that puts the agreement found in Paris into action with associated rules and procedures. With Ireland on the verge of becoming the first country to require its Strategic Investment Fund to divest from fossil fuels, the EU committing to net zero emissions by 2050, and the Greens surging in Germany, it would appear that there is a growing trend of climate action and general agreement. But the UN emissions gap report issued yesterday and the IPCC report of a month ago paint a different story about how many of the countries thought to be leading on climate, are nowhere near achieving their Paris agreement pledges or the measures that it will take to keep warming to 2 degrees. So, is Paris burning with the stage set for a return for pre-Paris deadlock? Four things to watch next week.
EUROPE: Global Counsel Practice Lead Thomas Gratowski discusses with Sir Peter Torry, former UK Ambassador to Germany, the future of the CDU leadership after Merkel steps down in December and what it might mean for her chancellorship until 2021.
UK: Global Counsel team members Rishi Patel, Matthew Duhan and Adam Terry discuss the prospects for a Labour government, and what it could mean for businesses and investors, particularly in the energy and financial services sectors.
With British prime minister, Theresa May, stating that the Brexit talks are in their endgame, it is worth looking ahead at where the risks for the government will be most acute in the process required to ratify an agreement under the Article 50 framework.
That probably got your attention. It certainly got enough attention to ensure that the editor of Waitrose’s food magazine, William Sitwell, had to stand down after he joked that "killing vegans, one by one" was preferable to publishing a feature on plant based recipes. The story broke on World Vegan Day: talk about bad timing.
Election season has begun in Indonesia. Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held simultaneously on April 17th, 2019, where approximately 187m Indonesians (out of approximately 265m) will be eligible to vote. The presidential election will be a repeat of the contest in 2014 between former general Prabowo Subianto and incumbent president, Joko Widodo, who is running for a second term. As campaigning for the presidential election intensifies in the next couple of months, there are three things to watch.
For a very powerful head of a huge and centrally controlled nation, President Xi Jinping of China has a remarkably relaxed air about him. He exudes composure, in public at least.
WORLD: Global Counsel Senior Director Stephen Adams is joined by Oliver von Landsberg-Sadie, Founder & CEO of BCB Group, Oliver Tonkin, Co-Founder and Adviser of BCB Group, to discuss the regulation of crypto-assets.
UK: Global Counsel Chairman Peter Mandelson interviews a special guest - Director of the London School of Economics, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Dame Minouche Shafik - on the topic of trust in institutions, economics and labour market.