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Week Ahead (7 September)


W/C Monday, 7 September - Eighth round of EU-UK trade talks to begin

The latest round of talks between the EU and UK on a post-transition period trade arrangement will be held this week in London. The talks will begin under a cloud as media reports on Sunday suggested that the UK is preparing to override part of the Withdrawal Agreement in the event that no trade agreement is reached. A new Internal Markets Bill is due to be published on Wednesday, which it is understood will aim to remove the legal force of the Withdrawal Agreement in certain key areas, such as state aid and Northern Ireland's customs arrangement.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will also make a speech this morning at which he will suggest that the UK could walk away from the talks and pursue an "Australia-style" trade agreement with the EU. Johnson will say that a "no-deal" Brexit would be a good outcome for the UK.

Both sides have said that a deal on the future relationship must be struck before the 15 October European Council meeting in order to leave sufficient time for ratification. The final round of negotiations is due to take place between 28 September and 2 October. The new developments may be seen as a negotiating ploy by the UK, designed to up the ante as the current talks reach their climax. However, the EU may decide, on hearing the Prime Minister's announcement this morning, to walk away from talks that seem increasingly unlikely to bear fruit.

Tuesday, 8 September - Commission Consultation period on Digital Services Act closes

The European Commission's public consultation on the creation of a new digital services act closes on Tuesday. The proposed new act, announced in February as part of the Commission's "Shaping Europe's digital future" agenda, aims to create a new legal framework across the digital market in Europe. The consultation called for an expression of views on a series of issues facing the digital economy, including online safety, liability for intermediary digital businesses, online advertising and governance of the single market for digital services. It is understood the Commission will make a legislative proposal by end 2020.

Thursday, 10 September - ECB Governing Council meeting to discuss monetary policy

The European Central Bank's Governing Council will meet on Thursday to discuss monetary policy. The discussions are likely to centre around a response to the latest Eurostat figures showing that Eurozone inflation fell to -0.2% in August, the lowest level in four years.

The ECB may use this week's meeting to accelerate the pace of purchases under Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) after a slowdown in the summer months. This could serve as a precursor to an expansion of the PEPP later in the year.

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