Brexit News for Thursday 22nd December

Brexit News for Thursday 22nd December

EU’s top court rules against bulk retention of emails

The European Union’s top court ruled Wednesday (21 December) against the bulk retention of emails and other electronic data by EU member states, such as that under new British legislation. The European Court of Justice said EU law does however allow member states to retain data in targeted and supervised ways to fight serious crime. “The members states may not impose a general obligation to retain data on providers of electronic communications services,” the court said in a statement. “EU law precludes a general and indiscriminate retention of traffic data and location data,” it added. It said member states could allow, as a preventive measure, “targeted retention of that data solely for the purpose of fighting serious crime.” – EurActiv

  • The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled against the UK government, but will they listen? – Open Democracy
  • EU ruling against Snooper’s Charter could leave Britain at risk of terror attacks – PoliticsHome

Every EU state must ratify any trade deal with post-Brexit Britain, Europe’s top legal adviser says in a claim that raises fears of delays

The adviser to the European Court of Justice said the Free Trade Agreement which the EU reached with Singapore in 2014 must be ratified by all member states. The same view is now likely to prevail over any trade agreement with the post-Brexit UK – potentially handing a veto over the deal to a total of 38 national and regional parliaments around the continent. It sets the scene for a repeat of the chaos surrounding Canada’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with the EU, which came close to foundering after seven years of negotiation earlier this year because of opposition in the Walloon regional parliament in Belgium. – Daily Mail

Nicola Sturgeon tell Theresa May to respond to her single market proposals before Article 50 is triggered in March

Nicola Sturgeon wants to know whether or not the Prime Minister will respond positively to the Scottish Government’s proposals by the time she triggers Article 50, which will begin the two-year irreversible negotiations to exit the bloc…The 50-page Scotland’s Place in Europe paper, unveiled by the First Minister on Tuesday, sets out two ways forward: the first would allow the whole of the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union; the second would see Scotland have a special deal, enabling it to remain in the single market, even if the rest of the UK leaves and pursues a so-called hard Brexit. – The National

  • Nicola Sturgeon’s soft Brexit plan labelled “complete madness” after 10-year delay emerges – The Herald
  • Nicola Sturgeon single market demand ‘will be used by EU to punch UK during Brexit talks’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Spain quick to reject Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for bespoke Scottish Brexit – PoliticsHome

Mandelson says UK could broaden Brexit negotiating strategy

Lord Mandelson, the former EU trade commissioner, has urged the UK government to broaden its Brexit negotiating strategy claiming there is a new appetite in the EU to review how rules on free movement of workers within the EU should operate. Mandelson, who remains in touch with senior European leaders and diplomats, said many politicians, faced by intense electoral pressures, were showing a new flexibility on free movement. He said “this meant there was more to bargain over than some in Whitehall think”. – The Guardian

Borrowing falls to its lowest level since before the financial crisis while growth forecasts go up

The economy is ending 2016 on a high following the Brexit vote, experts said yesterday. The Treasury, Bank of England and Confederation of British Industry had warned that leaving the EU would trigger economic disaster. But all three have conceded the UK was prospering after the June referendum, thanks partly to the slump in the pound. In a further boost, figures yesterday showed official borrowing has fallen to its lowest level since before the financial crisis. – Daily Mail

  • Nevermind the Brexit doomsayers… Britain just keeps on growing – Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail
  • The post-Brexit boom – Michael Howell for Reaction

UK moves up ‘best for business’ list despite Brexit fears

The UK has moved up the list of the best countries in the world to do business – despite wider fears over how Brexit could hit trade and slow economic growth. It climbed from tenth to fifth in the annual chart published by US publication Forbes. Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at Forbes, said the UK moved up “thanks to improved scores on corruption, tax burden and monetary freedom, as well as a stronger stock market”. There was no mention of the impact of the Brexit vote. – Sky News

UK car production at highest level since 1999

UK car production has accelerated to its highest level for 17-years amid further warnings investment is at risk if the country’s Brexit deal is bad for the industry. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) 169,247 vehicles rolled off production lines in November – a 12.8% increase on the total 12 months previously. It meant more than 1.6 million models were manufactured over the year-to-date, which the SMMT said was the best performance since 1999. – Sky News

Japanese firms have gone on a UK spending spree despite threatening to quit Britain post-Brexit

Japanese companies may have threatened to quit the UK post-Brexit but, according to a new report, they “don’t want to miss out” on buying up lots of firms in Britain that are somewhat cheap due to sterling eroding against the Yen. With only a couple of weeks to go until the end of 2016, Japanese companies spent $33.5 billion (£27 billion) to buy 37 UK-based firms, according to Dealogic data cited by The Financial Times. This is compared to 29 deals made last year worth $9.5 billion. – Business Insider

Crown Estate pushes ahead with £100m West End project after Brexit vote pause

The property company, which is owned by the sovereign, put the redevelopment of [a Grade II listed building] on hold after the EU referendum. But Crown Estate today announced it has appointed Skanska to build the Duke’s Court block in St James’s. The development is part of a wider £500m investment programme in the area. – City A.M.

Graeme Leach: All I want for Christmas is… an ultra-hard Brexit

The government’s Brexit strategy becomes ultra-hard Brexit. Not just trading under WTO rules, but with zero tariffs on all imports into the UK. This is the great prize we should be seeking post Brexit: true free trade on imports into the UK, with the gain to consumers around eight times the cost to producers. The abolition of the Corn Laws in the nineteenth century marked the UK as a champion of free trade. Outside the EU the UK can reclaim that crown. – Graeme Leach for City A.M.

Iain Martin: Brexit is a success even before it’s happened

Those day-to-day difficulties do not diminish the worth of the brave decision taken by voters who knew exactly what they were doing. This year the British chose to leave the EU, a flawed organisation in deep trouble thanks to open borders and a currency it invented, against advice, impoverishing many millions in southern Europe. It cannot defend its borders and will not listen to warnings about its profound structural weaknesses. Leaving such a club, while offering to stay on friendly terms if at all possible, should be a cause for modest celebration not doom and gloom. – Iain Martin for The Times (£)

Gina Miller and Ivo Ilic Gabara: Why taking the UK government to court was necessary and democratic

In the U.K., parliament is sovereign, and it is parliament that enacted the European Communities Act of 1972 which took the U.K. into the European Community on January 1, 1973. It was also the sovereign parliament that ratified European Commission rules and passed laws establishing new rights for British citizens, such as the right to take residence in other EU countries….Regardless of how they rule, their judgment will provide legal clarity to what has so far been an uncertain process. – Gina Miller and Ivo Ilic Gabara for Politico

James Kirkup: In her big speech on Brexit, Theresa May should learn from David Cameron – and Tony Blair

Mrs May’s unfortunate tendency to freeze out those who criticise or disagree with her will do her no favours either in the Brexit negotiations or the effort to sell the outcome of those talks to Britain. Mrs May would probably rather die than admit she owes any political debt to Mr Blair, much less draw inspiration from him. But since she’s following his pattern with her big speech, she might as well learn from his habit of casting his political net as widely as possible: time for Big Tent Brexit. – James Kirkup for the Daily Telegraph (£)

Brexit comment in brief

  • Why MPs will almost certainly get a final vote on Brexit – Adam Bienkov for UK Business Insider
  • Five people who made the Brexit vote happen 4) Steve Baker – ConservativeHome
  • Hope for the best Brexit, but also prepare for a right royal fudge – Simon Nixon for The Times (£)
  • Proof the Tories really aren’t planning a snap election – Joshua Carrington for The Times (£)
  • What does Brexit actually mean for boarding schools? – Robin Fletcher for the Daily Telegraph
  • Brexit: the view from abroad – Olivia Creavin for Reaction
  • A footballer’s perspective on leaving the EU – Laurie Bell for Vice Sports

Brexit news in brief

  • Diane James reveals leading Ukip was like banging her head ‘against a brick wall’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Nigel Farage blasts Eurocrats and predicts ‘inevitable’ break-up – Daily Express
  • Theresa May and Enda Kenny to discuss Brexit in Dublin – Irish Examinner
  • James Whale angers Brexit MP Peter Bone by telling him he’s talking ‘rubbish’ – Talk Radio
  • London won’t lose its status as leading finance and legal centre after Brexit say professionals – City A.M.
  • Finland faces calls to stage EU referendum after historic Brexit vote – Daily Express
  • EU rules on clinical trials are ‘costing the NHS £250 million’ and ‘delaying research’ – The Sun

And finally… YouGov poll “reveals” that 63% of people think Father Christmas would have voted Remain

A YouGov survey has revealed the British public thinks Father Christmas would have voted to remain in the EU. This could be because he reaps the benefits of unlimited border control-free travel, or because of the fact he lives in the North Pole and therefore is pretty much a ‘citizen of nowhere’. There are also claims he lives in Lapland, which is in Europe, so perhaps he just wants the United Kingdom to remain part of the European project, or will miss the benefits of trading with us if a sufficient deal is not met. In any case, 63 per cent of people polled by YouGov think Santa is a remoaner. – Daily Telegraph