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Statement by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland

25 November 2021
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On 19 November, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič hosted Lord David Frost in Brussels to discuss the implementation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. This was their fifth meeting following the package of far-reaching solutions that the EU proposed on 13 October to facilitate the implementation and to strengthen stability and predictability for the people and businesses in Northern Ireland. Vice-President Šefčovič reiterated the need to shift into a result-oriented mode and to deliver on the issues raised by Northern Irish stakeholders. It is essential that the recent change in tone now leads to joint tangible solutions in the framework of the Protocol.
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Commission proposes bespoke arrangements to benefit Northern Ireland

21 October 2021
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On October 13, the European Commission proposed bespoke arrangements to respond to the difficulties that people in Northern Ireland have been experiencing because of Brexit, by further facilitating the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. This follows extensive discussions over the past months with the UK government, as well as outreach by the European Commission to political leaders, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders in Northern Ireland. It also puts forward ideas based on elements raised in the UK’s Command Paper published in July 2021. The Commission now stands ready to engage in intensive discussions with the UK government, with a view to reaching a jointly agreed permanent solution as soon as possible. The Commission will do this in close collaboration and constant dialogue with the European Parliament and Council. Continue reading…

Lieve Lowet

Lieve Lowet

EU Affairs consultant and lobbyist

Le Brexit Nouveau est arrivé

25 January 2021
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On Christmas Eve 2020, the EU and the UK agreed on the long debated Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It goes beyond a free trade agreement. It has been provisionally applicable since 1 January 2021. It is a horizontal agreement, 400 plus pages, with more than 1000 pages of annexes. The provisional application will cease upon ratification or on 28 February 2021. The negotiated text of the TCA, published in the Official Journal of 31 December 2020, has not yet been subject to final legal-linguistic revision. The authentic and definitive texts resulting from such revision will replace ab initio, the signed versions of the TCA. These authentic and definitive texts of the TCA will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in due time by 30 April 2021. But in the meantime, there it is! Le Brexit Nouveau est arrivé. Continue reading…

Commission clears acquisition of Refinitiv by London Stock Exchange Group, subject to conditions

18 January 2021
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The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group (‘LSEG’). The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by LSEG. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Infrastructure competition in trading services and access to financial data products on fair and equal terms is essential for the European economy and in particular for consumers and businesses. The Commission can approve the proposed acquisition of Refinitiv by LSEG because LSEG offered commitments that will ensure that the markets will remain open and competitive and the acquisition will not lead to higher prices or less choice and innovation for these products.” The decision follows an in-depth investigation of the proposed transaction, which combines the activities of LSEG and Refinitiv. LSEG is a global financial markets infrastructure business. It also offers financial data products. Refinitiv is a provider of financial data products. It also controls Tradeweb, which operates trading venues. Continue reading…

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

27 December 2020
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After intensive negotiations, the European Commission has reached an agreement with the United Kingdom on the terms of its future cooperation with the European Union. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: “It was worth fighting for this deal because we now have a fair and balanced agreement with the UK, which will protect our European interests, ensure fair competition, and provide much needed predictability for our fishing communities. Finally, we can leave Brexit behind us and look to the future. Europe is now moving on.” The European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, said: “We have now come to the end of a very intensive four-year period, particularly over the past nine months, during which we negotiated the UK’s orderly withdrawal from the EU and a brand new partnership, which we have finally agreed today. The protection of our interests has been front and centre throughout these negotiations and I am pleased that we have managed to do so. It is now for the European Parliament and the Council to have their say on this agreement.”

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Photo: Press point by Ursula VON DER LEYEN, President of the European Commission

Von der Leyen at the joint press conference following the European Council meeting of 11 December 2020

11 December 2020

Let me start by saying that I am very grateful to the German Presidency and to Angela Merkel for the efforts undertaken since this summer. From the Commission’s proposal on the budget and NextGenerationEU to the agreement in July in the Council and the finalisation in the next days. This has underlined, indeed, Europe’s ability to come together and the capacity to act in the face of the worst crisis the EU has ever faced. It would not have been possible without the steady leadership of the Chancellor, the rotating Presidency, and we are very grateful for that. The agreement will help us provide a strong economic response to the crisis while preserving the rule of law. Citizens and the EU economy need our support more than ever and they need it now. So we need to finalise the adoption of the Package, with the help of the European Parliament, as soon as possible. And Member States also have to ensure a swift ratification. This is essential for us to power our economy as soon as possible. Continue reading…

The UK border: Preparedness for the end of the transition period

02 December 2020
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The UK will soon stop being a part of the EU single market customers union once the transition period is set to end on 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, changes will take place on how the UK will continue to trade with the European Union as well as in the customs, safety and regulatory checks that occur at the UK-EU border. The EU from the end of the transition period onwards will begin regarding the UK as a third country and execute full controls on goods being exchanged between the UK and the EU. The UK is currently in the process of negotiating its future relationship with the EU, including trying to arrive at a free trade agreement (FTA). Much unlike the deadlines that came before, and paying little mind to the resulting outcome of the current negotiations, a big change will be taking place from 31 December and onwards. Continue reading…

The costs of the UK leaving the EU

12 March 2020
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On January 31, the UK officially left the European Union. During the time following the 2016 referendum, the departments within the UK had to brace themselves and prepare for the uncertain outcomes that could potentially result from the UK’s eventual departure. The National Audit Office (NAO) ended up reviewing around 27 reports on the departments’ work, which illustrates the intensity and scale of the task that lay ahead. As such a task can be complex, these departments were not able to think of and plan in advance for every conceivable scenario and outcome. Between 2016-17 and 2019-20, HM Treasury made about £6.3 billion of added funding available, which would help cover the cost of the UK government’s preparations for their exit from the EU. Continue reading…

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit….

17 October 2019
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The European Commission has today recommended the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached at negotiator level on the Withdrawal Agreement, including a revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, and approve a revised Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. The Commission also recommends that the European Parliament give its consent to this agreement. This follows a series of intensive negotiations between the European Commission and UK negotiators over the past few days. Continue reading…

Brexit ‘no-deal’ preparedness: Final Commission call to all EU citizens and businesses to prepare for the UK’s withdrawal on 31 October 2019

05 September 2019
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With 8 weeks to go until the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on 31 October 2019, the Commission has today – in its 6th Brexit preparedness Communication – reiterated its call on all stakeholders in the EU27 to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ scenario. In light of the continued uncertainty in the United Kingdom regarding the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement – as agreed with the UK government in November 2018 – and the overall domestic political situation, a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 1 November 2019, remains a possible, although undesirable, outcome.

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