EU Public & Regulatory Affairs

Weekly EU news: Monday 24 November - Friday 28 November 2014


Monday 24 November

DG Taxation published the responses to last year's Consultation on the "Use of an EU Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)". The Commission was seeking to collect information on the possible scope of an EU TIN (both in terms of operations and taxpayers covered), its practical aspects (including possible simplification and a step-by-step approach), its design and functioning, as well as various legal considerations (a.o. data protection).

DG Economic and Financial Affairs published Country Focus issue 12/2014: Latvia: benefiting from the euro, facing new challenges.

The EP's Policy Department A for the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) published an overview of rules concerning trade in financial services in a range of recent preferential trade agreements (PTA) to which the EU is a party, in view of ongoing negotiations with the US over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

 

Tuesday 25 November

Conclusions of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council.

The European Commission gave a boost to transparency by committing to publishing information about who meets its political leaders and senior officials and to providing greater access to documents relating to the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States. Press release.

The EU-Canada agreement on the transfer of Passenger Name Records (PNR) should be referred to the European Court of Justice for an opinion on whether it is in line with the EU treaties and Charter of Fundamental Rights, MEPs voted today. This is the first time that Parliament has asked that a PNR agreement be given a preliminary check by the Court before the final vote on the deal. Press release.

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) published his Guidelines on data protection in EU financial services regulation. In his guidelines, the EDPS explains how the close supervision of financial markets should respect the rights of individuals to privacy and data protection in addition to rebuilding trust in markets for financial services. Press release.

 

Wednesday 26 November

The European Parliament and the Italian Presidency of the Council have reached a political agreement on the status of European Long-Term Investment Funds (ELTIFs). ELTIFs will channel funds into long-term projects only, with a focus on infrastructure, machinery and equipment, education and research results. The deal still needs to be endorsed by the committee and the full EP as well as the Member States. Statement.

European Commission President Juncker presented his Investment Plan for Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, announcing a € 315 billion Investment Plan to get Europe growing again and get more people back to work. The Plan is built on three main strands:

  • the creation of a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), guaranteed with public money, to mobilise at least € 315 billion of additional investment over the next three years (2015 - 2017);
  • the establishment of a credible project pipeline coupled with an assistance programme to channel investments where they are most needed;
  • an ambitious roadmap to make Europe more attractive for investment and remove regulatory bottlenecks.

Press release, Q&A and website.

The European Commission published its monthly infringement decisions.The Commission has decided to refer 4 Members States to the EU Court of Justice: Austria (rail transport), Greece (taxation), Ireland (taxation) and Spain (taxation). The Commission will also send 32 reasoned opinions to 21 countries.

 

Thursday 27 November

Systemic stress among euro area banks and sovereigns declined further to levels last seen before the onset of the global financial crisis in 2007, according to the latest issue  of the Financial Stability Review of the European Central Bank. Press release.

Conclusions of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council. Ministers discussed a proposal to amend the EU telecommunications regulatory framework ("Connected Continent"). The debate included principles for addressing roaming charges and net neutrality, without creating obstacles to innovation and investment and the Council adopted conclusions on Internet governance.

The European Parliament called on EU member states and the European Commission to break down barriers to the growth of the EU's digital single market. MEPs also stressed the need to prevent online companies from abusing dominant positions by enforcing EU competition rules and unbundling search engines from other commercial services. Press release.

 

Friday 28 November

Statistics

  • In the EU28 in 2011, cancer was the cause of death for 1.281 million persons, responsible for more than a quarter of all deaths (26.3%). Details
  • The EU28 seasonally adjusted external current account recorded a surplus of €7.8 billion in the third quarter of 2014, compared with a surpluses of €21.2 bn in the second quarter of 2014 and of €17.3 bn in the third quarter of 2013. Details.
  • The EU28 unemployment rate was 10.0% in October 2014, also stable compared with September 2014 and down from 10.7% in October 2013. Details.
  • Eurostat published the indicators of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP) Scoreboard.

Agenda of the European Commission.

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen have presented the Autumn 2014 Economic Governance package to kick off the new European Semester. The Annual Growth Survey sets out general economic and social priorities for the EU for the coming year. It is part of the European Commission's overall approach to support job creation and get Europe growing. In the survey, the Commission recommends pursuing an economic and social policy based on three main pillars: (1) a boost to investment, (2) a renewed commitment to structural reforms, and (3) the pursuit of fiscal responsibility. The Alert Mechanism Report provides a screening of all 28 EU economies for potential economic risks, providing an early warning on imbalances such as housing booms or banking crises. It indicates which countries warrant an in-depth review of their economies. Memo. The Joint Employment Report analyses employment and social trends, and challenges, as well as the policy responses deployed by Member States. It serves as a basis for further analysis, surveillance, and coordination throughout the European Semester. Memo. The Commission also published a review of various pieces of legislation that make up the "Six Pack" and the "Two Pack". While the legislation has significantly strengthened the EU’s economic governance framework, the review reveals areas for further improvement on transparency and complexity of policy making, and their impact on growth, imbalances and convergence. Finally, the Commission publishes its opinions on euro area countries' Draft Budgetary Plans for 2015, which give an early signal on whether the underlying national budgets are in line with the obligations under the Stability and Growth Pact. Details.

The European Commission also published a Fact Sheet: The EU's economic governance explained.