Latest Blog Posts — Page 3

Brexit, an EU-Japan free trade agreement and business

The need to enhance predictability

Brexit, with all its different scenarios, has introduced a major factor of uncertainty for Japanese business. The demand of Shinzō Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister,
towards his UK counterpart to “enhance predictability” has yet to be answered.

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Brexit begins: What this means for business

A full nine months after Britain voted to leave the European Union in its historic referendum, Prime Minister Theresa May has finally triggered the exit talks. On 29 March, Britain’s Permanent Representative to the EU Sir Tim Barrow hand-delivered her six-page letter to European Council President Donald Tusk. It formally invoked Article 50 of the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, the five paragraphs and 262 words that outline the process for terms of withdrawal from the EU. “I am writing to give effect to the democratic decision of the people of the United Kingdom. I hereby notify the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the European Union,” she wrote, solemnly starting the clock for two years of exit negotiations.

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The Dutch Choice

On 15th March 2017, the Netherlands returns to the polling stations to elect the House of Representatives. This marks the first Cabinet in two decades to complete its official term. Now that the country has overcome the recession, the governing coalition would expect an electoral bonus. However, the Dutch political landscape is fragmented and the formation of a new coalition is likely to be tough, with an estimated four parties needed to get a majority.

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How the EU nudges us to be nicer to animals

The European Union is typically characterised by high politics and complex economics, so animal welfare is unlikely to feature high in the annals of its activity. Yet it has quietly crept up the agenda. Today the EU is a leading driver of rules on the ways animals are kept and treated, reflecting the changing European attitudes to their welfare, and scientific research into animal distress.

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The price of Energy Union

From this summer, Europeans will be able to use their cellphones outside their home member state without fear of racking up huge bills: it is the fruit of a campaign to slash roaming fees that is one of the European Union’s most vaunted success stories of recent years. EU energy ministers would love to present a similar triumph in energy, by cutting consumer bills which remain high. But decades after the first efforts to create a true single energy market, can the EU really bring us cheaper energy?

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Rejection of Swiss Corporate Tax Reform III by voters

The Swiss proposal for a third Corporate Tax Reform (CTR III) was rejected by a popular vote on Sunday, Feb 12th 2017. However, this is not the end of the political discussion or process. Switzerland has promised to show its commitment to the OECD, and to be compliant with international tax regulations by 2019.

The CTR III was rejected by 59.1% of the Swiss voters. Only three cantons and one half-canton (respectively VD, ZG, TI and NW) were in favour of the text – with a voting ratio of 60-40%. The proposal was a complete failure.

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EU scheme to kill cookie consent still has doubters

The cookie pop-ups that relentlessly pester us for our consent are maddening interruptions that sour our online experience. But these wearisome warnings over tracking activity might finally be consigned to the trash can of browsing history after the European Commission announced its shake-up of personal data rules. At least if EU decision makers and tech industry groups can sort out their differences over the new proposals.

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