Posts in "United Kingdom" Category

Brussels Brexit Briefing – 2nd August

As we enter the summer break in the UK and across Europe, Brexit fervour at last seems to be dying down.

The big news in the last week has been the appointment, by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, of former French Foreign Minister and EU Commissioner, Michel Barnier, to lead the EU’s Brexit negotiations. Mr Barnier, who led the Commission’s overhaul of EU banking laws in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown, is already being seen as a provocative appointment by many in the UK media, given France’s firm stance on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

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Brussels Brexit Briefing – 19th July

Key EU figures have put pressure on Theresa May to move fast to quit the EU. European Parliament President Martin Schulz called on her to invoke Article 50 after the summer, saying her government must give “the utmost consideration” to the European Parliament, which has the power to veto the UK’s EU divorce and any future trade deal. In an article for the Guardian, Mr Schulz called for talks to begin “without rancour” and for Britain to be thought of as a beloved relative leaving home rather than a treacherous renegade.

However, EU officials have acknowledged they have no powers to force the UK to trigger Article 50. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, at a summit in China, offered conciliatory words for Mrs May, saying that the UK will face no “hate” or “revenge” during the Brexit talks. “I will not negotiate with Britain in a hostile mood. We have been partners in the EU for 40 years. We are allied countries, most of us in the North Atlantic Alliance,” he said.

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Referendum reaction

European Union leaders

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mark Rutte, Holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, issued a joint statement on the outcome of the referendum.

The said that they “regret this decision but respect it. This is an unprecedented situation but we are united in our response. We will stand strong and uphold the EU’s core values of promoting peace and the well-being of its peoples. The Union of 27 Member States will continue.”

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Britain backs Brexit, Cameron to resign

Britain has spoken – and it has voted to leave the European Union, bringing an end to the premiership of David Cameron.

The sensational result – which confounded the eve-of-poll opinion polls and the betting markets – was announced early on Friday morning.

Click for referendum reaction

52% of voters elected to Leave the European Union, while 48% opted to Remain. With a high turnout of 72%, early indications suggest that the Eurosceptic vote by blue-collar Labour voters has far exceeded expectations and proven a pivotal factor in the outcome.

So what happens next? While this unprecedented vote means no-one really knows, here are six things to look for over the coming days and weeks.

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Cameron looks to secure legacy as referendum campaign kicks off

Europe has been an issue that has dominated British politics for decades.

The question of the UK’s membership of the EU has been the subject of major swings in public opinion and a constant theme in general elections.

Successive governments have been forced to defend their record in key negotiations with their European counterparts, to frequent and prominent public criticism.

Read more on the Burson-Marsteller UK blog

Words  David Mitchell (Burson-Marsteller UK, London)
Photo  CC/Flickr number10gov

How much tax is ‘fair’?

Google’s agreement with Britain’s tax collectors and the European Commission’s proposals on tax avoidance have put corporate tax firmly back on the front pages – although it never really went away.

The issue will no doubt remain near the top of political and business agendas for the foreseeable future.

So here’s four takes on what’s happened and what it means.

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Five issues facing health policy in the Brexit debate

The big political issues are making the headlines, but how would a British departure from the European Union affect the nuts and bolts of European cooperation?

Burson-Marsteller Brussels hosted a panel discussion on ‘Brexit? The impact on Health Policy and Pharmaceuticals’ last week, with Brussels’ most influential health policy thinkers in attendance.

Here are the five key issues facing EU health policy as the British referendum and a potential Brexit looms.

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Brexit: will the Dutch be able to keep the Brits on board?

‘Brexit’ scares many people and governments in the European Union – but the Dutch government is particularly worried.

British withdrawal from the EU would mean the loss of the Netherlands’ most important ally in the debate about European integration. With the British referendum just a matter of time, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte (pictured), will want to keep his British counterpart, David Cameron, onside. And Cameron will need Rutte’s support to bring back some powers to London.

Yet diverging approaches to renegotiation could put a strain on the relationship.

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A big six weeks for Britain… and Europe

An extraordinary election approaches, but traditions die hard in the United Kingdom.

Today, the 55th parliament of the United Kingdom will be ‘prorogued’ – a suspension of proceedings (to be followed by dissolution), involving red robes and ermine, royal ‘inconvenience’, slammed doors, ceremonial hat-doffing, and royal assent in Norman French.

In Britain, some things stay – perhaps reassuringly – constant. But this is no ordinary election: it is one that could change Britain’s own constitutional make-up, its place in the world, and the nature of the European Union as we know it. Perhaps in 2015 only the Greek election rivals it in importance for the future of Europe.

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SYRIZA’s historic win gives Europe’s leaders a headache

This was more than just an ordinary national election – it was one that signalled a new chapter in the eurozone crisis and a challenge, by the people of Greece, to austerity.

The victory by the radical left-wing party, SYRIZA, and its leader, Alexis Tsipras (pictured), was expected. However, the scale of the win was larger than predicted in pre-election opinion polls, bringing the party to the brink of an outright parliamentary majority.

SYRIZA won 36.34 per cent of the vote and 149 seats in the 300-seat Greek Parliament. New Democracy (ND), the centre-right party that had led the previous coalition government, won 27.81 per cent and 76 seats.

The far-right ultranationalist Golden Dawn party came third, with 6.28 per cent and 17 seats, the same number of positions held by The River (To Potami), a centre-left grouping formed in 2014. The Communists (KKE) won 15 seats while the conservative Independent Greeks (ANEL) took 13 seats, the same as the Socialists (PASOK), who bore the brunt of the rejection of the outgoing coalition government.

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