Whereas almost three years have passed since the EU referendum took place in United Kingdom and the UK citizens voted to leave the EU (apparently) nothing has changed. From streets to board meetings the questions are the same: «When is the UK leaving the European Union? Will we have a no-deal Brexit? Is there going to be a second referendum? ».
Despite the commonly-held belief, since the start of negotiations, a lot of work has been done by the UK and EU leaders and the final “Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” as well as the “Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between EU and UK” are just the final results of an amazing and neverendingly debate.
Given the lack of approval of such agreements by the British parliament, the term provided for in Article 50(3) of the treaty on European Union has been extended by the EU Council on April 11th, 2019 until 31st October 2019. Such decision shall cease to apply if the UK will not: i) held elections to the EU Parliament in accordance with EU law; or ii) ratify the Withdrawal Agreement within May 2019. Moreover, such extension excludes any re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement and cannot be used to start negotiations on the future relationship; in other words, uncertainty and insecurity are everything but far.
The United Kingdom was by far the biggest recipient of foreign investment within the EU of which almost half came from other member states. Astonishing numbers which raised many concerns, especially in fields where the EU regulations are crucial e.g. finance, pharma and life sciences companies. The path is tortuous and business demands for clarity are anything but answered. Moreover, trust in politicians has been fractured and in case of “hard-Brexit” might take years to reach a legal certainty somehow comparable to the current one.
During the last months Studio Corno analyzed possible implications for its clients operating between Italy and UK of Brexit, both in a deal or no-deal scenario. Such analysis has been focused on how to mitigate risks for clients’ activities in advance, with specific regard to the following areas: i. Judicial cooperation (recognition and enforcement of judgments); ii. UK based Mergers and Acquisitions activities and iii. Personal data protection.
Based on such analysis and its experience, as well as its dual qualification as an avvocato in Italy as well as a solicitor in England and Wales, Giorgio Corno has been invited to share its views on the areas above at the Laworld Annual Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur on April 12th, 2019 in front of 61 different delegates from all over the world.
Giorgio outlined key Brexit challenges; how business lawyers can liaise entrepreneurs to deal with such political disruption; and discussed real cases to set out the results of the aforementioned researches.
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