News and views

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European Commission JRC

EU sugar beet: Cold conditions caused delays to sowing and emergence

Adequate thermal and topsoil moisture conditions allowed for a timely start to the sugar beet sowing campaign in France, around mid-March. However, freezing temperatures recorded during the first dekad of April had a very negative impact on plants during emergence and early development, especially in the central regions. As a consequence of frost damage, approximately 10% of the sown sugar beet area in France needs to be re-sown. In Germany and Poland, below-average daily temperatures during the first and second dekads of March led to delayed warming of the topsoil, and hence some delay in the sowing campaign (7-10 days, compared with last year). Favourable thermal conditions and dry weather allowed for good sowing progress during the third dekad of March, while in April, cold temperatures and rainfall events slowed the pace of field operations. Nevertheless, the sowing campaign is close to being finalised in Poland, where 90% of the area had been sown by 20 April. Similar agrometeorological conditions prevailed in the Benelux countries, where sugar beet sowing has almost been completed, as well as in Czechia, Slovakia and Austria. Across western and central Europe, cold spells during the first dekad of April prolonged the emergence and early development of sugar beet and raised concerns regarding the health of seedlings. In the UK, agrometeorological conditions were favourable for a timely start to sugar beet sowing during the second dekad of March, and the sowing campaign was conducted under adequate seed bed conditions.

Commercial Risk

Treading carefully – cross-border litigation after Brexit

The transition period has ended and, in theory at least, Brexit is now complete. This should mean there is clarity where future UK-EU relations are concerned. Why, then, are litigators left scratching their heads? Here, we identify three areas of continuing uncertainty where parties should tread with care. When the Brexit trade deal was unveiled at the end of December, it came as no surprise that it said nothing about commercial disputes. These were not covered in the framework document that the deal was based on, and time was short anyway. Despite the importance to the UK of its legal services sector – it generates more than £35bn for the economy every year – facilitating cross-border litigation was clearly not at the top of the government’s list of priorities. The result is not catastrophic – most UK judgments will continue to be enforceable in most EU jurisdictions and breaches of exclusive jurisdiction agreements can often be dealt with by obtaining an anti-suit injunction from the English courts. These agreements will also continue to be supported by EU jurisdiction rules in certain situations, albeit on a discretionary basis. Nevertheless, the lack of any deal concerning commercial litigation is disappointing, since a large measure of continuity could have been achieved quite easily by allowing the UK to rejoin the Lugano Convention 2007 (Lugano), which currently covers the remaining EU member states and three of the four EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland).