EU Public & Regulatory Affairs

Weekly EU news: Monday 4 May - Friday 8 May 2015


Monday 4 May

AThe European Commission published the updated EU textual proposal on regulatory cooperation, following the 9th round of negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This publication is part of the Commission’s transparency initiative and in line with the commitment to publish textual proposals, once they are tabled in negotiations.

DG Economic and Financial Affairs published:

  • Occasional Paper n° 11: Post-Programme Surveillance Report – Spain, Spring 2015. This report provides an assessment of Spain's economic, fiscal and financial situation and is based on the findings of visits to Madrid on 12-18 March and 14 April 2015 by staff from the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
  • its Spring 2015 Economic Forecast. It shows that economic growth in the EU is benefitting from positive economic tailwinds, these short-term factors are boosting an otherwise mild cyclical upswing in the EU.

 

Tuesday 5 May

The Latvian Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament reached a tentative agreement on a draft directive aimed at further developing an EU-wide market for electronic payments. The agreement was reached during an informal trilogue meeting. The agreement still has to be confirmed by the Council once the full text of the directive is finalised at technical level. The directive will then be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote in first reading, and to the Council for final adoption. Press release.

The European Parliament's Committee Special Committee on Tax Rulings and Other Measures Similar in Nature or Effect held a hearing in Brussels. In the morning, Competition Commissioner Vestager presented her view on the tax rulings in relation with Competition law. Dr Nolz, Chair of Code of Conduct Working Group of the Council explained the work his group. In the afternoon, representatives from the large firms were invited to share some knowledge on tax matters and to respond to various questions coming from the MEPs. Stef van Weeghel, Global Tax Policy Leader represented PwC and his expertise was much appreciated by various parliamentarians. The discussions focussed on the possible way forward to enhance transparency and trust in the tax systems. Link to the recording of the meeting.

 

Wednesday 6 May

TThe European Commission launched an antitrust competition inquiry into the e-commerce sector in the EU. The inquiry will allow the Commission to identify possible competition concerns affecting European e-commerce markets. Press release and fact sheet.

The European Commission published plans to create a Digital Single Market, thereby delivering on one of its top priorities. The Digital Single Market Strategy adopted includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year. It is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy. Press release and Q&A.

 

Thursday 7 May

The European Commission published a fact sheet which explains the objectives of the Innovation Union Scoreboard and provides an overview of the research and innovation performance of EU Member States and some associated and neighbouring countries, as measured by the Innovation Union Scoreboard 2015.

The European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee adopted its report on the EC proposed revision of the shareholders’ rights directive. To improve tax transparency, MEPs inserted a requirement for “large undertakings and public-interest entities” to publish information, country by country, on profit or loss before tax, taxes on profit or loss, and public subsidies received. Companies with more than 500 employees and a balance sheet total of €86 million or a net turnover of €100 million should also disclose information on tax rulings, say MEPs. Press release.

Outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council. The Council discussed progress in negotiations on TTIP, the transatlantic trade and investment partnership with the United States, with a focus on investor-state dispute settlement. It encouraged the Commission to maintain its efforts towards achieving meaningful progress across all three components of the agreement by the summer of 2015. This will enable the negotiators to prepare the ground for tackling more delicate political issues after the summer.

 

Friday 8 May 

Statistics

  • In March 2015, compared with February 2015, industrial producer prices rose by 0.2% in both the euro area (EA19) and the EU28. Details.
  • In March 2015 compared with February 2015, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade fell by 0.8% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.6% in the EU28. Details
  • For the first time since the financial crisis, the employment rate of the population aged 20 to 64 in the EU increased in 2014, reaching 69.2% but not yet its 2008 peak (70.3%).  Details

According to the agenda, the European Commission plans, on 19 May to present its Better Regulation Package, which will outline measures to deliver better results for citizens and businesses through better EU rules. To this end, the package will include a proposal for the revision of the 2003 Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law Making. It will also explain how the Commission intends to further open up policy making and interact better with stakeholders.