#EmbraceSpain XIX: activating Brexit, preparing the consensus?

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#EmbraceSpain XIX: activating Brexit, preparing the consensus?

The UK Parliament passed a law by which the British government is authorized to activate Brexit and Brussels will be formally notified of the start of the negotiations in March.

Brexit is already here. This past week the British Parliament discussed and approved the so called Brexit law, by which the government will be authorized to activate article 50 of the TEU and start the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

From that moment on, Theresa May will be able to formaly address the European institutions, possibly starting on 9 March, and initiate negotiations with Brussels. There is a lot at stake, from compliance with industry environmental laws to possible agreements with the City of London, which many European companies depend on, although, in the M&A sector, Europe has reached the best figures in eleven years.

In Spain, floor clauses are still keeping us busy.  The Spanish Parliament validated a Royal Decree for the extrajudicial proceedings to refund the said clauses, approved by the Spanish Cabinet, on which banks and consumers have conflicting opinions.

In this sense, Leon Fernando del Canto wrote in The Times about this procedure, which he describes as successful because of the number of claims being interposed all over Spain. The number of claims are such that Catalonia openned consumer service centers and the Barcelona Bar Association (ICAB) proposed to adapt the Spanish Law on Civil Procedure (LEC) to Community Law, after the sentence of the CJEU.

From the economic and social point of view, the Spanish economy grew in 2016 faster than the British economy, while in the case of benefits, the Parliament discussed about putting paternity leave and maternity leave on the same level. Obtaining this recognition is one of our demands, together with our partners at Agencia Communicación y Género, and we have a platform to serve those affected by it. On the other hand, in the tax field, lawyers and public prosecutors will have to pay VAT, following a decision by the Tax Agency. Leon Fernando del Canto talks about international tax evasion in the Bloomberg BNA magazine and in the Tax Precision blog, with the thesis that it is essential to effectively fight this crime for the public opinion to trust the system and tax institutions again.

Also, this past week our Firm strengthened the ties with Qatar, a country where we  have presence since 2011, with our offices at the Alfardan Towers, in the West Bay Financial District.

In Doha, I met with the production team of Aljazeera Documentary Channel to negotiate the distribution for the Arab world of the documentary “The Keys to Memory” produced by Almutafilm, our production company.

During my visit, I held several meetings, together with the representatives of Diario AS, with the Qatari media group Dar AlSharq, with whom we explored potential collaborations in the field of sports news in the Arab on-line media.  This project complements our position as advisers of Huffpost Arabi, positioning us as media consulting experts in the Middle East.

We also met with the General Manager of ASPIRE, Iván Bravo, a Spaniard and former executive at Real Madrid CF. Aspire is a sports high performance center that provides training to Qatari soccer national teams and soccer players in preparation for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Qatar has progressed enormously in the last few years with regards to infrastructures and development, becoming a leading country in the Gulf M&A sector. But above all, Qatar stands out for the adequacy of its legislation to international standards, such as the future introduction of VAT, and for the sound relations with European countries, especially the United Kingdom.

This is the case with labor legislation, which recently replaced the guarantee system or Kafala for a contract model, with the entry into force last December of Law No. 21 of 2015 and the establishment of free exit permits for expats.

Lastly, once Brexit started to move, following the approval by the British Parliament of the law authorizing the government to enter into negotiations with the EU, the capacity to maintain a fluid relationship between the UK and the rest of its European partners, including Spain, will depend on the ability to reach consensus and negotiate for the common good of the affected citizens on either side of the Channel.

We will keep our readers informed about this process, as well as other tax matters of interest that may come up, through our blog and social networks (Twitter, Linkedin y Facebook).

Xavier Nova (@xavinova)

Director at Del Canto Chambers