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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels | Week 19 – 23 September 2016


Despite the nice temperatures and sunny days in September, the activity didn’t cease in the European institutions, including a plenary session in Strasbourg, where Commission’s President Juncker addressed his State of the Union speech (#SOTEU) and an extraordinary meeting of the 27 Heads of State and Government (without the UK) in #Bratislava. Here a short overview of other topics that featured high in the EU news during the last days.

#Ecommerce is booming

The European Commission published on 15 September the preliminary results of the e-commerce sector inquiry, which was launched in May 2015 in the context of the Digital Single Market Strategy. The final results will be published in the first quarter of 2017.
The preliminary report confirms the rapid growth of e-commerce in the EU: More than half of EU adults have ordered goods or services online in 2015. However, the report also identifies business practices that restrict competition and limit consumer choice, such as contractual sales restrictions in distribution agreements, price recommendations from manufacturers, as well as restrictions to offer products in online marketplaces or cross-borders sales.

Stakeholders can comment the preliminary results on the website of the sector inquiry until 18 November 2016.
Press Release (European Commission)

#FutureEU: The (immediate) future of the EU

In the extraordinary summit of 27 Member States held on 15-16 September in #Bratislava, the EU Heads of State and Government (without UK) agreed on a roadmap of actions for the upcoming months. The main goal is to make the #EU attractive to its citizens again: „We need to improve the communication with each other – among Member States, with EU institutions, but most importantly with our citizens. We should inject more clarity into our decisions. Use clear and honest language. Focus on citizens’ expectations, with strong courage to challenge simplistic solutions of extreme or populist political forces.“The implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement to control #migration flows or an intensified cooperation to strengthen internal security and the fight against #terrorism are mentioned among the political priorities in the Bratislava Declaration. In the Spring 2017, the EU will review the progress concerning the different #SingleMarket strategies (including the Digital Single Market, the Capital Markets Union and the Energy Union). Next October, the European Council will also discuss how to ensure „a #trade policy that reaps the benefits of open markets while taking into account the concerns of the citizens“. #BratislavaDeclaration

#Brexit: London calling

On 22-23 September, European Parliament’s President, Martin Schulz, travelled to London to discuss with Prime Minister Theresa May the challenges ahead of the EU-UK negotiations on #Brexit. He also met Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. He concluded his official visit with a lecture at the European Institute of the London School of Economics.

Twitter link 

#Roaming: Call me maybe: End of roaming charges in the EU

As announced by President Juncker in his State of the Union speech (#SOTEU), the Members of the #EuropeanComission College discussed last week a revised draft of the rules needed to implement the end of roaming charges in June 2017. The aim is to make sure that only travellers profit from the new measures, that is, to avoid abuses based on residence or permanent links to an EU country (for example, work commuters or Erasmus students). The Commission will adopt the final draft on 15 December after BEREC (the regulatory body for electronic communications) delivers an opinion. The #EuropeanParliament’s industry committee will discuss on Monday, 26 September, with representatives of the Commission the new rules on roaming policies.Press release (European Commission)

Twitter link 

#EuropeanParliament: Q&A session

The MEPs featured in their questions to the Commission topics such as the strengthening of the position of producers in the food supply chain, tax havens and free trade agreements, or the obstacles to e-commerce in the EU due to disparities in VAT.

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