EU Public & Regulatory Affairs

Weekly EU news: Monday 2 March - Friday 6 March 2015

Monday 2 March

At the Mobile World Congress, European Commission Vice-President Ansip gave a speech in Barcelona: Extending the Digital Agenda in the developed world.

The European Commission recommends that no excessive deficit procedure (EDP) is triggered for Belgium, Italy and Finland. The Commission also recommends that France be given until 2017 to correct its excessive deficit. The EDP operationalises the limits on the budget deficit and public debt given by the thresholds of 3% of deficit to GDP and 60% of debt to GDP not diminishing at a satisfactory pace.

DG Economic and Financial Affairs published Economic Brief n° 39: Has the EU's leading position in global trade changed since the crisis?


Tuesday 3 March

Digital Economy & Society Commissioner Günther Oettinger gave a speech in Barcelona: The road to 5G.

The Commission has adopted a Communication on the results of the public consultation on the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and integrated guidelines for economic and employment policies. According to the consultation results, Europe 2020 objectives and priorities remain meaningful in the light of current and future challenges and serve as a compass for policy action to promote jobs and growth at EU and national level. The Commission also published its proposals for integrated guidelines for economic and employment policies, to be adopted by the Council.  Fact sheet.

Chair of the EP Special Committee on Tax Rulings, Alain Lamassoure said in an interview: "We have an obligation to produce results".

Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Jonathan Hill gave a a speech: A strong and stable banking system at the heart of Europe’s recovery.

Conclusions of the Competitiveness Council.


Wednesday 4 March

The Latvian Presidency of the Council now has a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament on new rules to cut mobile phone roaming fees and safeguard open internet access. Press release.

The European Commission published a consultation on the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The ENP was last reviewed in 2011. Details and speech by European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn: ENP- the way forward.


Thursday 5 March

Ahead of International Women's Day (8 March), the European Commission is reaffirming its commitment to tackle gender inequalities across the EU. According to new Eurobarometer statistics, a large majority of citizens (76%) believe that tackling inequality between women and men should be a priority for the EU. The Commission's annual Report on equality between women and men, also published today, shows that despite some progress gender equality remains an unfinished business. Press release and Q&A.

The Commission is opening the annual call for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to help finance key trans- European energy infrastructure projects. €100 million will be made available for projects aimed at ending energy isolation, eliminating energy bottlenecks and to complete the European energy market. This European money will also act as a catalyst for securing additional financing by private and public investors. Press release, fact sheet.

Conclusions of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council.


Friday 6 March 


  • In January 2015, compared with December 2014, industrial producer prices fell by 0.9% in the euro area (EA19) and by 1.2% in the EU28. Details.
  • In January 2015 compared with December 2014, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade rose by 1.1% in the euro area (EA19) and by 0.8% in the EU28. Details.
  • In 2013, the gender pay gap stood at 16.4% in the EU, ranging from less than 5% in Slovenia to more than 20% in Estonia, Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany. Details.
  • Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the euro area (EA18) and by 0.4% in the EU28 during the fourth quarter of 2014, compared with the previous quarter. Details.

According to the agenda, the European Commission is due to adopt, on 18 March, a first set of tax transparency measures, as part of its agenda to tackle corporate tax avoidance and harmful tax competition in the EU. A key element of this Tax Transparency Package is a proposal to introduce the automatic exchange of information between Member States on their tax rulings. It will enable Member States to detect certain abusive tax practices by companies and take the necessary action in response. An overarching communication will outline the different elements of the package, which will also include some other initiatives to advance the tax transparency agenda in the EU.