Analysis & Blogs
The UK and the EU have been staking out their positions on the future security partnership over the past week. This pillar of the Brexit negotiation matters in its own right; but it also has the potential to set precedents that could be important for the future economic partnership.
The imposition of rules of origin on trade between the EU and the UK is often poorly understood as an important factor in managing the impact of a UK exit from the EU. While it is generally expected that the UK and the EU will ultimately trade with each other on a largely or completely tariff-...
The UK government has finally started to flesh out what sort of future trade and regulatory relationship it wants to negotiate with the EU. Central to this are a revised set of market access and product standard recognition rights in the EU single market based on what the UK often calls ‘mutual recognition’. This suggestion has been rebuffed in a number of places and ways by the EU. Why is this?
This is the first issue of the Global Counsel Brexit dashboard. 21 months on from the vote – and with just 12 months before the UK leaves the EU – we can now take the macro pulse of the economy, using a balanced set of 15 indicators, each quarter. We are not attempting to isolate the impact of...
The Institute for Government’s model of managed divergence for the UK and EU economies has been influential in shaping the UK government’s position. It’s an ingenious attempt to address some of the thorniest economic and political challenges presented by Brexit. But while it may provide a basis for the UK cabinet ministers to bridge their differences, it is unlikely to be acceptable to the EU, now or in the future.
Supporting Europe’s Economies and Citizens - A modern approach to financial services in an EU-UK Trade Agreement
In September 2017, Global Counsel and Clifford Chance published with UK Finance a detailed set of proposals for the financial services content of a possible future EU-UK FTA.
The proposals offered a possible answer to the difficult question of how the EU and the UK might preserve some...
For some time now, the two main political parties in the UK have been battling for the same group of voters who feel disenfranchised, left behind and have faced what some have dubbed the ‘lost decade’ of stagnant wage increases. Since the general election, however, this battle has intensified, and it is now the case that more weight is being given by both parties to policies with a clear retail value.
The last few months have seen a growing awareness of the challenge facing both the EU and the UK in adapting their customs processing systems for the reimposition of a hard border between the two sides once they are no...
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.
Complex, arcane and underperforming, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme has emerged as Brexit’s unlikely first billion euro problem. Superficially, the challenge is a technical one; how to manage the uncertainty over what...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
Einstein’s advice for Brexit negotiators: relative urgency depends on regulators as much as on politics
Much has been written at the launch of Brexit negotiations today about the time remaining for negotiators. Michel Barnier has set a deadline of October 2018 for agreeing a withdrawal treaty, which may or may not include an outline of the future UK-EU trading relationship.
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.
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.