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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels / Week 07 – 14 October 2016


October is being an especially hectic month in the European Parliament with two plenary sessions in Strasbourg. In the meantime, the Commission is going full steam ahead on the proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, which should be published at the end of the month. 

#TTIP: Hope dies last – 15th round of negotiations
According to the chief negotiators of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Spanish Ignacio García Bercero and the American Dan Mullaney, significant progress has been made in the 15th negotiation round.
"In this round, we have focused on consolidating the texts and eliminating the differences in existing proposals. Our teams have worked very hard and have made significant progress in some areas, such as the removal of technical barriers, plant and animals welfare, as well as cooperation in the fields of pharmaceuticals, chemical and cosmetics", said García Bercero. Concerning the strong opposition to the treaty in the USA and the EU, Bercero added that "the agreement could be an effective instrument for shaping globalization". The results of the negotiation round will be discussed in the Council of Ministers on 11th November.
Press conference (European Commission)

#CETA: Paving the way
Last Wednesday (12/10/2016) Members of the European Parliament debated with farmers, businesses, public health and trade union representatives the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada. 
Farmers and business representatives were, in general, supportive of the trade agreement, as new markets would foster growth and competitiveness and help create new jobs in the industry. On the other hand, trade unions and public health organisations raised concerns concerning the impact of the agreement on consumer protection and environmental standards, as well as on public services. Meanwhile, many MEPs showed also their support for the trade agreement, while others were "cautiously optimistic" and would like to study the text further. 
The deal between Canada and the EU will be signed at a summit on 27th October. The agreement requires, however, the approval of the European Parliament. The vote will take place in the International Trade Committee in December.
On Thursday (13/10/2016) the German Constitutional Court (#BVerfG) rejected an emergency injunction that would have prevented German officials from adopting the agreement at the Council of Minister’s meeting next week. 
Press release (European Parliament)
Press release (German Constitutional Court)
Twitter (@Europarl_EN) 
Twitter (@BVerfG) 

#TransFats: Impact Assessment by the EU Commission
The European Commission has presented the roadmap for an impact assessment about the negative effect on human health of trans fatty acids (trans fats) that are present in foods. The assessment could serve as supporting document for a future EU initiative to set legal limits to industrial trans fats in foods, both on the consumers’ side and on the industry’s side. EU regulation would be in this case justified because Member States’ actions would not be sufficient to reduce the intake of trans fats in the EU. 
According to the information provided by the Commission, this initiative would focus on industrial trans fats. The Commission presented a first analysis to the European Parliament and the Council in December of last year. This report, as well as the debate that followed it, concluded that a “legal limit for industrial trans fats would be the most effective measure in terms of public health and consumer protection”. 
Roadmap (European Commission) 
Twitter (@ViljaTahtinen) 
Twitter (@Foodlawlatest) 

#Tax: Council Conclusions and EP Question
The Council of Ministers adopted conclusions on transparency and against tax evasion. Tax avoidance, concretely the recent Bahama leaks concerning former Commissioner Kroes, was also the subject of a written question to the Commission of the Spanish Socialist Group in the Parliament.

Next week...
... the European Parliament will get ready for the second plenary session of the month in Strasbourg, in which MEPs will call on the Commission to propose measures to reduce #TransFats in food and vote on next year’s #budget, as well as on a draft legislative resolution on an EU mechanism on #FundamentalRights in the Member States.
Tweet (@EMInternational) 

METRO Office EU Affairs

Information about the author

METRO Office EU Affairs is the team in the Representative Office of METRO AG in Brussels. Brussels@metro.de