Russia and Ukraine remain a focus for officials from the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US), with the US Secretary of State dispatched to Europe this past week. Notably, a bipartisan US Senate delegation visited Ukraine this week, with one Senator suggesting the US Government is vetting potential effects of removing Russia from the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) system. Due to concerns related to potential Russian retaliation directed at Europe’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) sources, Bloomberg reported late on Friday that US officials were talking to Qatar and other LNG producing countries about supplying Europe with gas.
Meanwhile, the US and UK confirmed they were commencing formal talks to discuss the United States’ steel and aluminum tariffs. The UK hosted its second Africa Investment Conference this past week, with a focus on sustainable, green investments; the UK and Australia secured a new Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership. The French EU Council Presidency continued this week to set forth its priorities, ranging from agriculture and fisheries to mirror clauses and investments in new technologies. The European Parliament made some progress on the proposed Digital Services Act, while the EU27 Finance Ministers discussed the proposed Directive implementing the OECD’s Pillar II agreement. The European Commission also published a toolkit this week to help mitigate foreign interference in research and innovation in the bloc. Next week, the UK and EU are set to meet again to discuss issues with respect to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol. In addition, with Omicron cases decreasing in the UK, the Government relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
In this issue, we also cover:
- Notable US, UK, and EU developments;
- A brief UK-EU trade deal update; and
- COVID-19 highlights among the transatlantic partners.