Michel Barnier: seeking to prevent the UK lowering environmental protection standards to gain competitive advantage
Barnier wants non-regression clause, Weber calls for Zuckerberg testimony, EU raids broadcasters, FT lists fastest growing companies, hospital says Skripel recovering. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
EU concerns over environment post-Brexit
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has called on the UK to pledge to maintain the environmental standards to which it is currently bound as a member state after it leaves the union. “The agreement on the future relationship with the UK should include a non-regression clause,” Barnier told a Green 10 meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday. “It should prevent any reduction of the key pre-Brexit standards.” Barnier said that despite assurances from British prime minister Theresa May that the UK would not engage in a race to the bottom in environmental protection, a legal safeguard would be the best way to ensure that any reduction in standards would not affect the UK’s geographical neighbours including Ireland, Belgium and France.
Weber calls on Zuck to appear before EP
German MEP Manfred Weber, leader of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament, has said that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg must answer questions at the parliament about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Zuckerberg appeared before the US Senate’s commerce and judiciary committees on Tuesday and said that the most important thing he cares about now “is making sure no one interferes in the various 2018 elections around the world.” But with GDPR just six weeks away, Weber has issued a stern warning to Zuckerberg about Facebook’s future data protection policy. "He must not underestimate the capacity of the European Parliament to do actions against Facebook and against him as CEO of Facebook," he said in an interview with AFP reported by Rappler among others.
EU raids media company offices
As part of an investigation into suspected anticompetitive practices, the European Commission on Tuesday raided the offices of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and several other media broadcasters around Europe. The companies involved are “active in the distribution of media rights and related rights pertaining to various sports events and/or their broadcasting,” a Commission spokesman was quoted as saying in The Guardian. There is apparent concern in Brussels that that Fox “may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices”.
Tech companies lead fastest growing
The Financial Times has published its annual list of the fastest growing companies in Europe. Technology is the best represented sector, with 155 companies on the FT 1000 list, which looks at growth between 2013 and 2016. UK-based food delivery outfit Deliveroo tops the list, while London-based tech company Endava has the best employee growth with over 2,000 new jobs in the three-year period.
Sergei Skripal may soon be discharged
Dr Christine Blanshard, the medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, has said that Sergei Skripal has made good progress in his recovery from the nerve agent poisoning that left him and his daughter Yulia, and local police officer Nick Bailey, hospitalised in early March. Bailey was discharged two weeks later, and news of Yulia’s release was announced on Tuesday. In a statement passed on to Delano by the British embassy in Luxembourg, Blanshard also said that former Russian spy Sergei was no longer in critical condition. “Although he is recovering more slowly than Yulia, we hope that he too will be able to leave hospital in due course.”