The EU and UK have reached a draft Brexit deal. Library picture: Michel Barnier, the EU’s Brexit negotiator, and Theresa May, the UK’s prime minister, are seen during a meeting in Brussels, 17 October 2018. Image credit: European Commission
Merkel back Macron; Swissquote looks at Luxembourg; tastes like cheese. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Wednesday.
Brexit negotiations: EU and UK agree to draft text
The EU and UK have struck a tentative Brexit deal, reported the Financial Times. The agreement includes a UK-wide customs “backstop” that avoids a hard Irish border, according to the BBC and RTE. Specific details have not been released. Later today the British PM, Theresa May, will brief her cabinet (with many ministers resistant), said the Guardian; while the chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, will brief EU27 ambassadors, said RTE. The news sent the pound up, said Citywire.
Merkel backs Macron on EU army
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, echoed comments made by Emmanuel Macron, the French president, on creating a strong European army. In a speech to the European Parliament, Merkel said, referring to the US and the Nato alliance: “The times when we could rely on others are over”, reported DW and the Financial Times. Reuters quoted Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary, as saying in response: “We see Nato as the cornerstone” of European security.
Italy rejects EU budget request
The Italian government has defied the European Commission’s demand to revise its 2019 budget, which breaks European spending limits, reported the AFP, BBC and Guardian. Rome says the spending is needed to jumpstart the Italian economy. Brussels could start an “excessive deficit procedure”, a lengthy process to impose fines, later this month.
Swiss bank considers moving EU hub to Luxembourg
Swissquote will likely shift its European retail banking hub from London to Luxembourg post-Brexit, according to Bloomberg. Marc Bürki, the Swiss bank’s CEO, told Bloomberg in an interview: “Whether a soft or a hard Brexit, it is becoming very unlikely that we will be able to serve European retail clients out of our London hub.” Earlier this year Swissquote bought Internaxx, based in Kirchberg, seen as preparation for the move.
Amazon split its “second HQ” in US
After a yearlong search, Amazon has selected two US cities for its “second headquarters”: Long Island City (a New York City neighbourhood) and Arlington, Virginia (next to Washington DC). Amazon will ultimately invest $2.5bn and employ 25,000 at each location. The retailer will also receive around $1.5bn and $573m, respectively, in public subsidies. Reported by the BBC, CNN, Reuters and USA Today.
Regional airline seeks deal
Flybe, a UK-based airline that serves Luxembourg and other European cities, will put itself on the market, according to Sky News. Its board cited uncertainty over Brexit and rising fuel costs as reasons to seek a sale or merger. The carrier is “expected to lose £12m this year”.
Luxembourg best served by emergency helicopters: study
A study published in the Emergency Medicine Journal found wide variation in the availability of helicopter ambulance services (HEMS) among the 32 European countries surveyed. According to Reuters: “The research team found that the smallest and least prosperous countries had no dedicated HEMS services at all, including Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta. In contrast, Luxembourg had the highest number of helicopters by area and population, both for day and night services.”
Heksenkaas v Witte Wievenkaas
The European Court of Justice ruled that taste cannot be copyrighted, reported the BBC, DutchNews.nl and NPR. The case was between two Dutch producers of herb cheese spreads. The maker of Heksenkaas argued that Witte Wievenkaas tasted too similar to its longer-established brand. But the ECJ said: “the taste of a food product cannot be identified with precision and objectivity.”