Brussels for Breakfast (150)

Held on Tuesday, May 14


  • Graham Bishop (

  • Rachel Kent (Hogan Lovells)

  • Peter Snowdon (Norton Rose Fulbright)



By the time we meet, either the UK parliament will have passed some variant of Mrs. May’s withdrawal agreement, or we will be less than two weeks away from EP elections that could easily tear up what is left of the political consensus in this country. If the former, we would be heading out the euro-door, albeit probably into a state of fairly comfortable semi-detachedness. If the latter, who knows? We might get kicked out peremptorily, without even a packed lunch; or Brexit itself might get kicked into the long grass.

Whatever, Europe grinds on. The Parliamentary elections themselves (in almost all countries except the UK) have focused attention on the growing power of nationalist parties – and on whether they can unite to challenge the EPP/Socialist duopoly in Brussels. But there is more going on than the euros.

Here in the UK, for instance, there was Andrew Bailey’s intriguing hint that, post-Brexit, we might offer ‘lower burden’ regulation – whatever that means. There is also his renewed push for a longer-term deal with Brussels that is ‘outcome based’ and rooted in ‘equivalence’.

Over there, there is Manfred Weber’s ‘manifesto’, in which he pledges a bonfire of a thousand regulations. There is also:

  • increased criticism of the EBA after it dropped its investigation of Danske Bank

  • the Joint Committee’s 2018 Annual Report on the various ESAs;

  • ESMA’s forthcoming report on cryptocurrencies; and

  • the latest push for a ‘risk-free’ euro asset – which now has a powerful promoter in Ewald Nowotny.

That last point should be music to the ears of our regular euro-guide. Graham Bishop – proprietor of – has long been advocating on behalf of euro bills, and his time may finally have come. Unfortunately for him, that time may be just after the UK has left the EU – which, as a deeply-dyed Remainer, he might find rather galling. Whatever, I am delighted that he has agreed to walk us through what is going on, both here and there.

This month, we also have two distinguished lawyers to help Graham sort wheat from chaff:

  • Rachel Kent, a partner and head of financial services legislation at Hogan Lovells, who has led the firm’s involvement with banks, insurers, asset managers, clearing houses and exchanges, Europe-wide and beyond; and

  • Peter Snowdon, a legal consultant at Norton Rose Fulbright, is author of the money laundering chapter of Financial Services Law (Oxford University Press), the Conflicts and Confidential Information Chapter of the Practitioner's Guide to the Regulation of Investment Banking and consultant editor of A Practitioners Guide to Individual Conduct and Accountability in Financial Services and a former member of the FSA’s General Counsel Division.

Heady times, but difficult... If you (or a colleague) would like to join us (and perhaps share your own thoughts), please let us know by emailing or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. As usual, thanks to the CISI’s hospitality, there will be coffee, tea and buns.

Many thanks,

Andrew Hilton