EU state aid law is a cornerstone of EU competition law and policy. It helps preserve a level playing field between companies competing in the internal market. Crucially, it operates only within the EU. Thus, EU state aid rules do not apply to financial support granted by non-EU authorities to companies in the EU, or to companies outside the EU but with activities in the EU. The exception to this rule is the UK, but…
Having formally left the EU on 31 January, we are now into the home straight of the next lap of the Brexit process: defining the new relationship with the EU. Things are getting heated.  Both sides are accusing the other of bad faith, and the UK Government is threatening to pass controversial legislation which would give it power to over-ride elements of the deal already done – the Withdrawal Agreement (an international treaty entered into…
In the last week of February – amid some chest-beating ferocity on both sides – the EU and UK published their respective negotiating mandates for the negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, which duly started at the beginning of March. On the day those talks started, the UK published its negotiating mandate for UK-US free trade talks (the US mandate has been available for over a year). And just to…
“They think it’s all over” The UK formally left the EU at 11pm GMT on Friday 31st January.  In keeping with his election slogan “get Brexit done”, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has banned the word Brexit from the Government lexicon.  Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay resigned at 11pm that evening, and his Ministry was disbanded.  Job done. Well, not quite.  The future relationship between the UK and the EU remains largely undefined, beyond some high level…
One election, two winners, three losers The United Kingdom went to the polls in a general election on 12th December – the first winter election for almost a century.  Boris Johnson’s Conservatives campaigned on a strong “Get Brexit Done” slogan, against most other parties arguing for a second referendum or to stop Brexit altogether (Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in contrast were arguing that Johnson’s deal was not really Brexit).  Johnson’s Conservatives won 47 seats to…
Brexit delayed again – now it’s off to the races in a General Election Despite having finally achieved a Parliamentary majority in favour of a way of delivering Brexit, in the Second Reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on 22nd October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided – in the face of Parliament’s refusal to allow him to put the Bill through very rapidly so as to meet the 31st October Brexit deadline – to pursue…
The UK Parliament met on Saturday for the fourth time in the past century, on 19th October, to vote on the revised Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the Prime Minister and his EU counterparts. The date mattered, because under the Benn Act the Prime Minister would have to seek an extension to the 31st October Brexit deadline unless Parliament had approved the deal by 19th October. In the event, the vote as such never happened. Instead,…
Please note that this is an update to our blog post ‘Brexit – So What Happens Now?’, published on 8 October. The UK Parliament was prorogued (i.e. suspended) again on Tuesday 8th October, but this time inside a week as is usual before a Queen’s Speech on 14th October which set out the Government’s agenda for the coming year. It all however had a slight air of unreality about it, as most observers think that…
The UK Parliament will be prorogued (i.e. suspended) again on Tuesday 8th October, but this time inside a week as is usual before a Queen’s Speech on 14th October setting out the Government’s agenda for the coming year.  It all however has a slight air of unreality about it, as most observers think that there will have to be an election in the coming months – probably before the end of the year.  The real…
The possibility of a no-deal Brexit, and therefore the potential for food and drink supplies to be disrupted, has led to calls for the government to provide “cast-iron guarantees” that businesses in the food supply chain will be permitted to work together to discuss and tackle shortages, in order to decide where to prioritise shipments, in a way that may give rise to questions of compliance with competition law. The Competition Act 1998 (the Act)…