Last week the US presidential elections came to a surprising result, but European politicians were quick to assure that they will seek the best possible cooperation with President-Elect Donald J. Trump, also pointing out that the EU-US relations need to be strengthened in a time of global turmoil. Meanwhile, in the European Parliament this week was dedicated to the work in the committees.
The first Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen presented the new approach to ecodesign. The Commission wants to see more political ownership of the process, in order to raise public acceptance. The ecodesign directive is a central part of the EU’s efforts to increase energy efficiency and to lower CO2 emissions. It is also part of the circular economy action plan. In the future, there should be no targets for individual products concerning energy efficiency, but general targets for groups of products.
Remarks by Commissioners Timmermans and Katainen (European Commission)
The European Commission presented a proposal for new anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation. The proposal encompasses a new method for calculating dumping on imports from countries where there are significant market distortions, or where the state has a pervasive influence on the economy. These new trade defence instruments are in line with WTO legislation. The European Parliament and the Council will now decide on the proposal through the ordinary co-legislative procedure.
Press Release (European Commission)
Proposal (European Commission)
#Unfair trading practices in the spotlight
In its final report the Agricultural Markets Taskforce, created last year to come up with measures to protect farmers against price volatility and improve their bargaining position, recommends the European Commission to draft legislation to combat unfair trading practices in the food supply chain. The Taskforce recommends to “introduce a harmonised baseline of prohibited unfair trading practices in Member States laid down in the Common Market Organisation“, such as no payment periods longer than 30 days or no demands for upfront payments. Moreover, it recommends the establishment of independent supermarket adjudicators and the possibility to file anonymous complaints.
In the European Parliament, the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development adopted a (non-legislative) resolution, calling for new EU risk management tool to address growing market volatility and to help farmers cope with price changes. Also, the bargaining position in the food supply chain shall be strengthened and the supply chain be made more transparent. The resolution will be voted on in the full plenary in December.
Press Release (European Parliament)
#Tax Transparency and Anti-Money Laundering = Two sides of the same coin?
The Council agreed on a proposal granting access for tax authorities to information held by authorities responsible for the prevention of money laundering. Tax authorities shall be given access to information on the beneficial ownership of intermediary entities and other relevant customer due diligence information. The increased exchange of tax information is part of the EU’s agenda to combat tax evasion and a response to the large-scale concealment of offshore funds, revealed by the Panama Papers.
Press Release (Council)
… the European Parliament will get ready for the next plenary session in Strasbourg (21-24 November) the work in the groups. In the Council, the Foreign Ministers will get together to discuss the future of the EU-US relations, as well as the ongoing global crises. The Commission will be at the climate summit (COP2) in Marrakesh.