The European Commission published its first Anti-Corruption report. The report shows that the nature and scope of corruption varies from one Member State to another and that the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies is quite different. In the special chapter on public procurement, some of the data come from two PwC studies, the most recent one from 2013: Identifying and Reducing Corruption in Public Procurement in the EU. Press release and Q&A.
The European Central Bank published:
In a speech held at the European Parliament, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Algirdas Semeta stressed the need for the quick adoption of a broad-based Financial Transaction Tax.
The European Parliament's plenary adopted its resolution on the Commission's proposal for a Directive on criminal sanctions for market abuse. The vote follows the political agreement reached with the Council in the trilogue. Once the draft rules are formally approved by the Council of Ministers, the Directive will be Member States will have 24 months to put them into effect. Press release.
Banks and businesses in eurozone countries will have an extra six months to comply with new SEPA standards for two of the most common ways of sending euros to another account in Europe, under plans approved by the European Parliament. The original deadline of 1 February will be changed to 1 August. Details.
The European Commission has approved the map of Czech Republic for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 regional aid within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013. Details
The European Commission has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising. In its proposal, Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services. Press release, FAQ and statement.
In a case referred by the national court of Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU (CoJ), the CoJ ruled that taxation which disadvantages undertakings linked, within a group, to companies established in another Member State constitutes indirect discrimination on the basis of the registered office of the companies. Details
The European Commission launched the process to start negotiations with Russia and Norway on administrative cooperation agreements in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT). The broad goal of these agreements would be to establish a framework of mutual assistance in combatting cross-border VAT fraud and in helping each country recover the VAT it is due. Press release and Q&A
Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia gave a speech in London: Opening a Path for Recovery: Competition in Financial Markets.
Agenda of the European Commission.
The European Central Bank launched a consultation on a draft of the ECB Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) Framework Regulation. The draft Framework Regulation lays the basis for the work of the SSM when it takes over as supervisor of euro area banks in November 2014. The deadline for comments is 7 March 2014. Press release