Brexit

The British exit of the European Union is the most significant economic demerger between major economies since the Second World War and much about the forthcoming process of transitioning out of the EU has no precedent. But we know already that both the UK and the EU will be significantly changed by what is about to unfold.

Global Counsel has been helping clients prepare for a possible Brexit over the past two years. Our team of former Whitehall and Brussels policymakers and sectoral specialists, based at our offices in Brussels and London, enable us to help clients navigate the politics, policy and commercial implications of Brexit. Contact us to find out how we can help your organisation.

 

 

Post Brexit – Leaving Euratom
In collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills

Analysis & Blogs

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

29 Nov 2017

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 have a significant bearing on the long-term economic consequences.

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What does no deal mean?

30 Oct 2017

The baseline for the trade relationship after a no-deal Brexit would be WTO rules. In practice – and depending on the political atmosphere – there would at least be some enhancements to this baseline in the form of bilateral agreements between the EU and the UK on specific issues that are...

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The UK's relationship with Euratom: What next?

25 Oct 2017

As Global Counsel and Herbert Smith Freehills convene a discussion on the UK’s future relationship with Euratom, this paper provides an overview of the legal and political background. The paper also identifies some of the potential options for mitigating the impact on the UK. Lastly, the paper...

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Australia’s European opportunity

20 Oct 2017

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. Australia is on the verge of launching a formal trade negotiation with the EU. This comes just as the UK is negotiating its exit from the EU, which is why Australia is also ‘scoping’ a future deal with Britain. Australia must therefore decide how to balance its interests between the bit of the EU where the economic relationship is strongest - the UK - and the other 27 states.

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Anglo-German relations and the EU question

19 Oct 2017

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.

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The Irish border trilemma

13 Sep 2017

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. For the Irish government, it is politically indispensable that there is no return to a hard border. This is not just a question of customs controls and the economic costs created by processing delays and charges; it is also about the social impact on communities that straddle border and political symbolism in a country where this is especially important.

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

23 Aug 2017

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. As British Environment Secretary Michael Gove attempts to project a vision of a ‘green Brexit’, natural capital is the buzz word on which assertions are being built, and the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) will be key architects of a 25-year environmental plan promised within the Conservative Party manifesto.

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Policymaking by accident

18 Aug 2017

The British government papers on Brexit published this week leave you wondering if cabinet ministers really understand what the UK is proposing and the implications. The customs paper proposes an interim agreement that “could involve a new and time-limited customs union between the UK and the EU Customs Union, based on a shared external tariff and without customs processes and duties”.

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Brexit customs questions

16 Aug 2017

Yesterday, the UK floated a set of ideas for managing the future of the customs frontier between the EU and the UK. They were broadly divided between two proposals: a first, based around some very practical ideas for using technology to streamline the movement of goods across a future EU-UK customs border. The second was a much more radical idea that the UK would offer to implement the EU’s own external border protocols on its behalf as part of a wider approach that would remove any need to process goods moving between the two markets.

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Brexit path dependency

10 Jul 2017

Unless you’re fond of ambling, it’s the choice of the destination that usually determines the path you take. The Brexit negotiation is no stroll in the park, but it now looks like one of those cases where it is the path that will determine where we end up.

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Is Brussels starting to see the UK as a strategic competitor?

7 Jul 2017

Speaking before the European Economic and Social Committee this week, European Commission Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier painted a black picture of a post-Brexit world in which the UK failed to come to terms with the EU. A return to WTO rules for trade between the two markets; high customs duties, burdensome controls and higher transport costs.

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Single market vs single tariff?

3 Jul 2017

The setting before Parliament of the UK government’s legislative agenda for the two years leading up to the expected exit from the EU, has provided a further opportunity for ‘soft’ Brexiters in the UK to rekindle a debate about how detached from the EU the UK should aim to be. After the UK election, my colleague Jade Rickman and I examined the renewed debate over the possibility of customs union between the UK and the EU.

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Strong Currents: Navigating the post-Brexit energy market

28 Jun 2017

In collaboration with Herbert Smith Freehills and The Boston Consulting Group, Global Counsel has co-authored a paper looking at the impact of Brexit on the energy sector in the UK and the EU. The paper identifies key energy and climate change policy implications as well as highlighting the role...

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Could the UK join NAFTA?

27 Jun 2017

The question of UK membership of NAFTA seems to be doing the rounds again. This is not entirely surprising. Both Australian and Canadian trade officials – including Ottawa’s former chief NAFTA negotiator - have recently called for the UK to join existing trading blocks, such as NAFTA, as an easy fix to potential Brexit-related disruptions to UK trade and production. The idea in itself is not new – back in the early 1990s some members of Congress in the US hoped to convince London to swap the EU for NAFTA.

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A Brexit pill for Romania

13 Apr 2017

When you mention EU states competing to win a prestigious and powerful European regulatory agency from Britain after Brexit, most people would probably think of the European Banking Authority. But the European Medicines Agency is also up for grabs, and the most intriguing bidder is Bucharest.

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Early positioning and leverage in the Brexit negotiation

10 Apr 2017

The early stages of any negotiation are all about positioning. The Brexit negotiation is no different. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s letter invoking Article 50 - and the draft negotiating guidelines issued by European Council President Donald Tusk - are both exercises in positioning. Each sets out objectives and constraints, as the two sides compete to shape the negotiations in their favour.

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Talking politics in the windy city

20 Mar 2017

During a trip to Chicago earlier this month, I reflected on the differences between my time in office and the present. Despite economic gains from globalisation, failures in politics and in policy have led to a crisis of confidence in global cooperation.

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NICs: lessons from a UK political u-turn

17 Mar 2017

One of the big political stories in the UK this week was the ‘u-turn’ by Chancellor Philip Hammond on his budget proposal to raise National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for the self-employed. The NICs u-turn demonstrated a couple of important things about politics and policymaking at Westminster as the UK prepares for the most complex bout of parliamentary activity in its modern history, namely legislating its way out of the EU.

 

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Unscheduled stops

16 Mar 2017

One of the many things the UK will need to do on its way out of the EU is to establish its new ‘most favoured nation’ trading profile at the WTO in Geneva. This means establishing the tariffs for goods, minimum market access conditions for services trade and a number of other notified conditions that will apply in the UK market.

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What Northern Ireland’s election means for Brexit

3 Mar 2017

Northern Ireland’s Assembly election on 2 March has come close to delivering a political earthquake, with the nationalist Sinn Fein coming within 1,200 votes of beating the Democratic Unionist Party to first place, while the Assembly could for the first time lack a unionist majority.

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Scotland’s £12bn export gap

10 Feb 2017

If there is a second independence referendum in Scotland, one of the central issues will be which single market matters more, the UK’s or the EU’s? The latest export statistics for Scotland, published last month, reveal what’s at stake.

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Brexit’s nuclear option

3 Feb 2017

Having concluded that Euratom is “uniquely legally joined” with the EU, the government argues that Brexit will require the UK to leave Euratom when it leaves the EU. 

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

23 Jan 2017

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 supervisors and mutual recognition of financial oversight regimes. This last point in particular couldn’t be more topical.

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Brexit begins now

19 Jan 2017

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. 

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Brexit and the future of UK immigration policy

16 Jan 2017

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...

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Passporting is dead. Long live ‘passporting’?

13 Jan 2017

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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Short-changing Britain with shoddy analysis

3 Jan 2017

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

22 Dec 2016

The EU Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston has 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. 

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Could UK exporters miss the ECJ?

23 Nov 2016

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 issue of changes to British investors’ rights of recourse in the EU, which is often not well appreciated by businesses.

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Trade Post-Brexit

21 Nov 2016

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?

18 Nov 2016

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....

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Offshore Britain?

27 Oct 2016

According to one major newspaper, the UK Government is developing a “nuclear” Brexit negotiating threat in the form of a corporation tax cut to 10%.  But as with all nuclear deterrents, the question boils down to one of credibility: could and would the UK actually deliver a CT rate of 10%?

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The 100,000 person question

13 Oct 2016

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.

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

12 Oct 2016

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.

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EU-UK (Un) Free Trade Agreement

20 Sep 2016

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. Following the Brexit result, the negotaion of a future EU-UK deal will turn the conventional logic of FTA negotiations on its head. 

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Brexit: Online platforms face EU fallout

9 Sep 2016

Some EU countries will see an opportunity once the UK has departed, while tech companies might end up wishing the British had been kept in. Ten weeks after the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, emotions are still running high in Brussels when you mention the B-word. The mere suggestion that Brexit will raise material problems, that will need careful and pragmatic consideration on both sides of the channel, appears to some as a provocation.

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Europe and Brexit

7 Sep 2016

As part of Global Counsel's collaboration with DLD in the inaugural DLDeurope event in Brussels, we have put together a note looking at some of the implications of Brexit on the wider EU.

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Staying on the plane

18 Aug 2016

As UK ministers lay the groundwork for future trade deals in China and India this week, they might want to keep in mind the challenges posed by these two countries and reflect on where other significant opportunities in Asia lie.

 

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British trade policy after Brexit: ruthless prioritisation required

15 Aug 2016

UK trade policy will require ruthless prioritisation if scarce diplomatic resources are to be deployed to the best possible effect. We provide advice based on a series of metrics. The US and China should be the top priorities, although for different reasons. The government should not spend too...

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UK energy policy and Brexit

5 Aug 2016

Brexit has the potential to increase significantly the UK’s autonomy in making energy and climate change policy. How much will largely depend on the prior question of what, if any, relationship the UK has with the EU’s internal energy market. Broadly, there are three options: membership, access...

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The exit option: How contagious could Brexit be?

1 Aug 2016

The UK referendum vote on leaving the EU is reverberating across EU politics in a range of ways. Economic and market volatility has brought to the boil a simmering banking crisis in Italy. The huge implications of British exit for the Republic of Ireland have triggered a febrile debate on...

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The $200bn cost of Brexit

29 Jul 2016

Almost four weeks on from the vote to leave the EU and the FTSE 250 has edged back up to just 0.4% below where it started before the polls closed, while the FTSE 100 has surged by 6.5%. Does this mean that all is well in the UK economy and Brexit is not that big a deal after all? 

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UK trade policy and Brexit

27 Jul 2016

Among the many implications of a UK exit from the EU is a fundamental change to the way that the UK makes and implements trade policy. As part of the EU, the UK’s trade policy is effectively set by the EU’s common commercial policy. The UK shares a single external tariff regime with the EU – a...

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The Consequences of the EU Referendum

20 Jun 2016

Whatever the result on 23 June Britain faces political risk. If Britain votes to leave there will be political instability in the UK, the process of withdrawal will be messy, and investors will give their verdict on the structural implications for the UK economy. If the UK votes to stay David...

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Brexit TiSA trailer

31 May 2016

At the end of last week the European Commission released its latest proposed bindings of market access terms in the long-running Trade in Services Agreement negotiations in Geneva.

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Europe’s political risk is Britain’s problem

19 May 2016

Fitch Ratings this week concluded that Brexit would increase political risk across Europe by boosting populist political parties, including many who are Eurosceptic, and by changing the political centre of gravity in the EU.

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The impact of Brexit: Asian edition

22 Mar 2016

For the majority of businesses in Britain the possibility the UK might leave the European Union - Brexit - is an important issue. The break with the EU and the uncertainty associated with it would raise important questions for business.

Much has been written on the economic consequences...

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Five ways the UK deal would change the EU

20 Feb 2016

The UK’s new settlement won’t satisfy Eurosceptics, but does establish principles and precedents that will impact on the EU in future if the UK votes to remain. Some are for the better, while others are risky and potentially damaging. If Britain votes to stay in the EU the prime minister will...

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The morning after: Brexit uncertainty and what it means for business

29 Oct 2015

The ‘in-out’ nature of the Brexit debate, and the focus on uncertainty about the referendum outcome, obscures another, equally important layer of Brexit uncertainty for business, which is about what a vote to leave the EU would actually mean in practice. There are uncertainties about both the...

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Brexit: the impact on the UK and the EU

23 Jun 2015

This report examines the impact Brexit would have not only on the UK, but also on other countries in the EU. 

The key findings of the report are:

  • Deep trading, investment and financial links combined with a shared liberal outlook means the Netherlands ranks as the member...
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Brexit Team

Stephen
Adams

Senior Director

Stephen is a Senior Director of Global Counsel. Stephen has more than 15 years of experience in European and British public policy and regulation, chiefly in the field of international economic policy, trade policy, cross-border financial services policy and European integration.

Gregor
Irwin

Chief Economist

Gregor leads on economic analysis at Global Counsel. Gregor has over 20 years of experience working on international economic and political issues in the public and private sectors and as an academic.

Leo
Ringer

Head of UK

Leo leads Global Counsel’s work in the UK from its office in London. Leo has spent most of the last decade advising corporates, investors and politicians on business-related public policy in the UK.

Tom
White

Head of Europe

Tom runs Global Counsel’s Europe team from its office in Brussels. Tom has overall responsibility for Global Counsel’s work with the EU institutions and governments in the EU27.

Daniel
Capparelli

Practice Lead

Daniel is Global Counsel’s trade policy Practice Lead. Daniel has worked on cross-border policy issues for over a decade in a wide range of sectors, including financial services, manufacturing and agriculture.

Matthew
Duhan

Practice Lead

Matthew is Global Counsel’s Practice Lead for energy. At Global Counsel, Matthew leads teams advising clients on understanding the impact of changing EU and UK energy and climate change policy and regulation on their businesses.

Thomas
Gratowski

Senior Associate

Thomas is a Senior Associate in Global Counsel’s macro team. He joined Global Counsel from the World Bank, where he was a consultant, focusing on country strategy in the Middle East and North Africa.

Roberto
Robles

Senior Associate

Roberto is a Senior Associate in Global Counsel’s Europe team. He has worked in the European Parliament in Brussels, as a researcher on climate and security policy for a European foreign policy think tank in Madrid, and in the EU delegation in Bangkok.

All specialists