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February 26, 2018

Monday briefing: MWC gets underway / Corbyn outlines a softer Brexit / Germany approves its coalition deal

By Billy

Good morning, here’s your Monday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Mobile World Congress 2018 gets underway in Barcelona, Spain

Mobile World Congress gets underway in Barcelona this morning with the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturers unveiling their best and shiniest new gadgets.

The event officially runs from 26 February to 1 March, but many of the biggest announcements were made last night.

Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 and S9+, Nokia unveiled a whole plethora of devices, new and old, and Huawei eschewed phones altogether, choosing instead to announce its latest laptop, the MateBook X Pro.

This year artificial intelligence looks to be the big theme, with almost every major manufacturer promising to inject devices with so-called machine learning.

Corbyn to back a softer Brexit

The UK’s Labour party will today unveil plans to support for a so-called softer Brexit by backing a rebel Tory plan to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU, in a move that could scupper British prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit strategy.

In a speech in Coventry today Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will confirm the party’s support for a “tariff-free” Brexit, where Britain would remain in the customs union, but stop short of committing to full membership of the single market.

In excerpts released to the media in the run-up to the speech, Labour will call for a “bespoke relationship” with the single market, that “includes full tariff-free access”.

Germany’s CDU meets to approve coalition deal with the SPD party

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) will meet today to approve a coalition deal with Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD).

It will take German chancellor Merkel a step closer to a fourth term in Europe’s biggest economy. Merkel is to address CDU delegates at the meeting before the vote on the deal.

The deal is expected to pass easily, though it is just a prelude to the much trickier vote among the SPD membership — results of which are due next Sunday.

Merkel has picked a new, younger cabinet that includes one of her most outspoken internal critics, the 37-year-old Jens Spahn.

Merkel has also lined up a possible successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, to take over her as CDU secretary-general. She has been dubbed “mini-Merkel” and shares many of Merkel’s views.