Thursday 28 September 2023

Wales Enterprise Day - Rebuilding Bridges with Europe

Menai Suspension Bridge


Jane Lambert

Wales Enterprise Day is an annual celebration of Welsh creativity, enterprise and innovation in all sectors of its national life including education and government as well as business.  Every year it revolves around a different theme,   in 2021 the theme was "From Start-Up to Scale-Up" and in 2022 it was about "Obtaining and Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights Abroad."  This year it is "Rebuilding Bridges with Europe - Wales's Relationship with Ireland".

Anyone flying into a continental airport or checking into the Eurostar will have noticed significantly longer delays in clearing immigration since 2020.  British passports now have to be checked and stamped and there are limits to how long their holders can stay and what they can do in most of the EU.  The one country where there has been no significant change is the Republic of Ireland largely thanks to the much-maligned Northern Ireland protocol to the agreement for the UK's withdrawal from the EU and Eueatom.  All parts of Ireland remain in the Common Travel Area and the rights of British citizens to live and work in the Irish Republic and those of Irish nationals to live and work here are largely unaffected by brexit (see HM government's recently updated Common Travel Area Guidance).

As the Republic of Ireland remains in the EU it serves as a bridge between Britain and the rest of the European Union.   The Irish courts, for example, are still European Trade Mark and Community Design Courts which will entertain claims for infringement of EU trade marks and registered Community designs held by British nationals.   The Brussels Recast Regulation continues to apply to the Irish Republic which makes it considerably easier for a judgment of an Irish court to be enforced in most of continental Europe than a British one.  These were points that were made eloquently by James Bridgeman SC at the first of a series of talks on the Latest Developments in IP Law which he delivered in London on 18 Sept 2023.

Janes who participated in last year's Wales Enterprise Day over Zoom will be at the Menai Science Park ("M-SPark") in person this year underscoring the proximity of Dublin to the park.  However, intellectual property and other legal issues will not be the only topics to be discussed at our lunchtime seminar "Rebuilding Bridges with Europe - Wales's Relationship with Ireland" on 17 Nob 2023.  One of my fellow guests at the reception in the House of Lords which I discussed in Reflections on Wales Innovation Week in London on 20 Sept 2023 was Mr John Glennane of CapVentis.  According to its website, CapVentis "works with some of the world’s largest brands in delivering integrated solutions around analytics, customer engagement and experience management works with some of the world’s largest brands in delivering integrated solutions around analytics, customer engagement and experience management."  John told me that CapVentis had recently moved its UK office from London to M-SPark.

While I was in London, Mr Pryderi ap Rhisiart, M-SParc's Managing Director, told me about the park's close and ever-strengthening ties with Ireland.   It was he who suggested a focus on Ireland for this year's Wales Enterprise Day.  His suggestion makes a lot of sense because Dublin is developing rapidly as a leading financial centre (no doubt benefiting considerably from brexit) and it is geographically closer to M-SParc than London or even Cardiff.  There is as yet no direct air service to Dublin but Maes Awyr Môn has already hosted a commercial air service to Cardiff, If the Anglesey Enterprise Zone succeeds there is likely to be sufficient traffic to justify a connection with Dublin.   Ireland which already hosts the European offices of some of the world's largest tech companies and many smaller ones has no shortage of private equity and angel investors who might take an interest in the new knowledge-based businesses of Northwest Wales.

Over the next few weeks, I shall publish more details of the Rebuilding Bridges with Europe seminar as ideas crystalize,   In the meantime, anyone wishing to discuss this article may call me on 020 7404 5252 or send me a message through my contact form

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