Conclusions of the General Affairs Council.
The Council officially adopted the agreement reached with the European Parliament on the EC proposal to amend the Accounting Directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by large companies and groups. Companies concerned will need to disclose information on policies, risks and results as regards environmental matters, social and employee-related aspects, human rights, anti-corruption and bribery. A company that does not apply a specific policy in one or more of these areas would be required to explain why this is the case. Disclosures could be provided at a group level rather than the individual company level. Large listed companies also have to disclose their diversity policy in their corporate governance statement. The Directive is expected to be published in the EU Official Journal shortly. Press release.
The Council adopted new rules to ensure the build-up of alternative refuelling points across Europe with common standards for their design and use, including a common plug for recharging electric vehicles. Member States must set and make public their targets and present their national policy frameworks by end-2016. Details
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Commissioner László Andro gave a speech in Vilnius: Basic European unemployment insurance: Countering divergences within the Economic and Monetary Union.
The European Commission adopted three Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) needed to implement key provisions of the Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies. These RTS set out: the disclosure requirements for issuers, originators and sponsors on structured finance instruments; reporting requirements to credit rating agencies (CRAs) for the European Rating Platform; and reporting requirements for CRAs on fees for the purpose of ongoing supervision by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Details.
The European Commission has published non-confidential versions of two decisions taken on 11 June 2014 to open in-depth investigations into transfer pricing arrangements on corporate taxation of Apple in Ireland and Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg. The decision concerning Apple (in English) is available under the case number SA.38378 and the decision concerning Fiat Finance and Trade (in French) is available under the case number SA.38375 on the competition website.
The European Commission has extended the scope of an ongoing in-depth investigation opened in October 2013 to verify whether the new Gibraltar corporate tax regime selectively favours certain categories of companies, in breach of EU state aid rules. The Commission will now also examine the Gibraltar tax rulings practice. Press release.
Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes gave a speech in Brussels: Adapt or die: What I would do if I ran a telecom company.
According to the 31st Annual Report on monitoring the application of EU law, there has been a marked decrease in the number of on-going infringement cases in recent years whilst the number of cases resolved through in problem solving mechanisms such as EU Pilot has increased. Press release.
DG Economic and Financial Affairs published:
The European Commission published the results of a study about the evolution of choice and innovation in food products in Europe during the last decade. The results show that the entry of new competitors always increases choice and innovation. In many Member States, retail markets are not overly concentrated, and the retailers' bargaining power does not seem to have a negative impact on choice and innovation. Press release.
Agenda of the European Commission.
In 2013, economic conditions remained challenging for SMEs in most Member States. Economic results suggest there is a recovery, but it is uneven and not yet following a robust trajectory. These are the conclusions of the annual SMEs Performance Review and country-specific SBA factsheets. Press release and memo.
The European Commission has closed an investigation into practices by European telecoms operators in the internet connectivity markets. The Commission has come to the provisional view that the observed practices do not appear to breach EU antitrust law. Nevertheless, it is important that users are aware of the interconnection policies pursued by their internet access providers and the impact that this may have on the quality of service obtained from certain content providers, whose content requires a high bandwidth (e.g. video streaming). The Commission will therefore continue to monitor the sector closely. Details.