We hope you're having a good start to what is already looking like a busy 2019. With the clock ticking down, Westminster has voted to send Theresa May back to Brussels to ask for "alternative arrangements" to the Irish backstop clause of the Withdrawal Agreement. The main problem for the UK is that Brussels has (again) dismissed this proposal and done so prior to the UK government having formally stated its question. From the EU's perspective protecting the integrity of its Union takes primacy over the risks that are likely to arise from what are now more certain options of: (1) No Deal Brexit, (2) Withdrawal Agreement and perhaps more difficult negotiations on the future relationship or (3) a technical extension to the March 29, 2019 Exit Date.

As none of these options are ideal, the EU is also playing its cards close to its chest on the breadth of "emergency powers" that it will grant national and EU level supervisors in financial services to preserve continuity. Similar powers may be replicated in different formats beyond financial services. But while Brussels is keeping quiet on what these new legislative instruments might look like, other than say sparse details on "No Action Relief Letters", temporary permissions that can apply to sectors and firms or a general understanding to encourage firms to work to Day 1 readiness even if Day 30, 60, 90 or 180 (?) might be more achievable, on a phased compliance basis... action is being advanced across EU Member States. That action comes in various forms and at differing paces. Some, like Germany, have begun debating detailed legislative proposals, others have merely advanced the notion that they might act. As we continue to monitor these developments – and we will provide a standalone update – including on how ESMA has already begun experimenting with "no action language", for certain areas, notably in the Banking Union, national legislative proposals seem to grant powers to specific national authorities rather than the ECB-SSM. This risks conflict. That conflict may be partly reflective of some of the difficult progress that is being made on fully reforming the European Supervisory Authorities – which now have far wider reaching powers and duties on tackling anti-money laundering but are still struggling to secure all of the additional supervisory tools that have been asked for. Our recent Thought Leadership section looks at some of these and related institutional changes and proposed rulemaking.

In addition to this month's update of main developments we're delighted to present our EU and European regulatory outlook for " Navigating 2019". We're also proud to announce that our online overview of how EU rules on Transparency Registers are implemented in each EU Member State now covers all EU jurisdictions. This overview provides users with details on what each register requires, steps in the registration process as well as information regarding access and sanctions. Users can look up a single jurisdiction or compare laws in up to three EU countries at a time. The tool is free and is available here.

To stay up to date with all that is happening on Brexit on both sides of the debate and around the globe please tune into our recent recordings or our forthcoming webinars, details of which can be found here.

We hope you enjoy this month's edition.

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