Philip Hammond, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, is one of the senior British officials quietly pushing for the UK to remain inside the EU customs union after Brexit, according to the FT. Pictured: Philip Hammond arrives for a meeting of EU finance ministers in Tallinn, Estonia, 15 September 2017. Photo credit: EU2017EE/Raul Mee
European and international stories making headlines this morning:
UK officials looking at customs union deal
London is “secretly considering whether Britain could strike a customs union deal covering trade in goods with the EU, a move that would severely limit the UK’s ability to strike out on its own,” the Financial Times reported. Such an arrangement would notable reduce customs checks on Britain’s borders post-Brexit, and allow the UK to seek trade deals in services.
EIB readying to face Brexit
The European Investment Bank has “strong shoulders” that will allow it to continue after Britain leaves the EU, an EIB vice president said in an interview with Reuters. The UK will likely cash out its stake in the development bank, Dario Scannapieco told the news agency. That could leave “a hole of up to €9bn in its finances.” According to Reuters, Scannapieco noted “that the bank was examining how to advance plans announced in December for a new subsidiary focussed solely on non-EU projects that it hopes could also keep some of Britain’s billions in the bank after Brexit.”
Migrants injured in Calais fights
Five migrants were shot during brawls in Calais, said the BBC, citing the AFP news service. At least 13 others were injured after fighting erupted between Afghans and Eritreans who were queuing for food aid in the northern French city.
Luxembourg-based fund wins French tax appeal
Carlyle Group won a €105m tax case in France, Bloomberg reported. A French administrative appeals court ruled that a Carlyle-backed real estate investment fund was indeed based in Luxembourg, and so could not be taxed as a local French operation, as French authorities had argued. The dispute was over the sale of Paris property in 2007. French officials lost a somewhat similar €1.2bn tax case against Google in July.
The Swiss private bank Julius Baer named Jean-Daniel Roch as its market head for Luxembourg. Roch had worked at Credit Suisse for 35 years.
A Russian space firm is planning to organise trips to the International Space Station and space walks for tourists, said the AFP. Vladimir Solntsev, head of Energia, told a Russian newspaper the trips would cost around €80m, “possibly less for the first tourist”.