In the Press - Theresa May's new customs gamble

17 May 2018
The Financial Times
Samuel Lowe of the Centre for European Reform is not convinced that the EU will go for a whole UK backstop. He argues that the sensible thing for the UK would be to accept something closer to Mr Barnier’s original proposal for a special status for Northern Ireland.Mr Lowe says: “If a border does go up between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, there is much greater scope for the use of technology and ‘innovative’ solutions, since, unlike on the land border, the infrastructure already exists at the ports and airports … The DUP might not like it, but they may be forced to live with it.”

In the Press - Time to suck up the backstop

16 May 2018
Financial Times
Samuel Lowe at the Centre for European Reform tells the Brits it’s finally time to swallow the EU’s “special status” for Northern Ireland and accept a border in the Irish Sea: A serious British response to the commission, focused on improving the backstop rather than rejecting it out of hand, will move the Brexit negotiations forward. More importantly, it will help to ensure that no matter what happens with Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU does not make the Irish border a focus of conflict again.

In the Press - If you want to have a real conversation about customs, talk about the backstop

16 May 2018
The two most interesting pieces this week on involving the backstop are from Sam Lowe, research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, and Tony Connelly, Europe editor at Irish broadcaster RTE. They tell you far more than any number of news reports on Theresa May's 'war Cabinet'.

In the Press - 'Rules of origin' risk tripping up trade post-Brexit

16 May 2018
The Wall Street Journal
Rules of origin have been a feature of free-trade accords for decades. The goal, according to Sam Lowe, a trade policy expert at the Centre for European Reform, a London think-tank focused on EU policy, is to prevent one party to a trade agreement passing off cheap imports as homemade, in order to qualify for preferential access to another party’s market.

In the Press - Allies at cross-purposes: Trump puts Europe into damage-control mode

15 May 2018
The New York Times
Ian Bond, foreign policy analyst with the Centre for European Reform, argued that “Europeans and Atlanticist Americans must preserve what they can of the trans-Atlantic partnership” while Mr Trump is in office.“But he is doing a lot of damage in the meantime — not just hurting allies, but actively helping potential adversaries,” he said, pointing to the Iran deal pullout, the Jerusalem embassy and unilateral tariffs on steel that harm Europe.

In the Press - EEA back in spotlight

14 May 2018
Financial Times
John Springford of the Centre for European Reform also doubts whether EEA is the way forward.“I’ve always been of the view that EEA is the best outcome economically, but a non-starter politically,” he says. He adds: “You are in the single market, but you are essentially a rule-taker. And for a country with a big financial services sector, it is unlikely that we would put up with that. I could see the EEA as a sensible and perhaps elongated transition period, but not a solution for the long term.”

In the Press - New leader's election leaves Catalan crisis unresolved

14 May 2018
EU Observer
"We'll have another crisis," said Camino Mortera-Martinez, from the Brussels-based Centre for European Reform think-tank. She noted that both Torra and Rajoy had the choice between two bad options.

In the Press - Trump nominates US ambassador to EU: What you need to know

11 May 2018
“Above all, the US ambassador to the EU is the primary point of contact for trade policy issue,” said Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform think-tank to Euronews, as that is an exclusive competence of the bloc and not individual member states. “There is also some coordination on foreign policy issues,” Bond added. Such was the case for the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) deal with Iran, with was negotiated by the EU’s top diplomat, first Catherine Ashton and then Federica Mogherini.

In the Press - Fox can still sign trade deals with one hand tied behind his back

11 May 2018
The Times
Sam Lowe, a trade wonk at the Centre for European Reform, has suggested that Britain could take a prominent role in driving forward the Trade in Services Agreement, a stalled deal between 23 WTO members, including the EU, to liberalise trade in sectors such as transport and telecommunications.

In the Press - 'Impossible position': Brexit is going nowhere fast

11 May 2018
CNN Money
"We are in a period in paralysis," said John Springford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform. "The reason for that is all of the various bits of Brexit that are hardest to deal with are coming together at once."