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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels / Week 21-27 August 2017

Last week, the victims of totalitarian regimes were remembered by the European Commission. The Commission has opened an investigation to assess the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer. In addition, the European Commission launched a public consultation on the improvement of post-trade services in the financial markets on Wednesday. In addition, the European Economic and Social Committee discussed the role of social economy in EU’s external and trade policy.

# Commission investigates the acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer

The Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Monsanto by Bayer under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission has concerns that the merger may reduce competition in areas such as pesticides, seeds and traits.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Seeds and pesticide products are essential for farmers and ultimately consumers. We need to ensure effective competition so that farmers can have access to innovative products, better quality and also purchase products at competitive prices. And at the same time maintain an environment where companies can innovate and invest in improved products.”


# New consultation on how to improve post-trade services used in financial transactions

The European Commission launched a public consultation on the improvement of post-trade services in the financial markets on Wednesday, 23 August. This includes, among other things, clearing, settlement and collateral management. Cross-border transactions are still more expensive than domestic transactions. A more efficient environment for post-trade services could reduce these costs. Interested parties may participate in the consultation by 15 November 2017.

The purpose of this consultation is to learn stakeholders’ views about the current state of post-trade markets, the main trends and challenges faced by post-trade services providers and their users, and to determine the existence and scale of remaining or new barriers, the risks associated with such barriers and the best ways to address them.


# Europe-Wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes

 “On 23 August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which marked the beginning of one of the darkest periods in the recent history of our continent. Totalitarian regimes across Europe restricted people's freedoms; violated their rights and made millions of ordinary citizens victims of their ideology.

We must remember past horrors to give us the knowledge and strength to reject those who seek to revive these ideologies. The European Union was built on the common values of human dignity, fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy, and on the rejection of extreme nationalism. We must never take these rights and freedoms for granted. We pledge to fight for them every day.

Extremism, nationalism, xenophobia and hatred can still be heard in public speech in Europe. Keeping these memories alive is not only a tribute to the victims but also a way to ensure that these ideologies can be forcefully rejected and such atrocities never happen again.”
Statement by First Vice-President Timmermans and Commissioner Jourová 

# Social economy improves living standard in the EU neighbourhood

In its opinion on The External Dimension of the Social Economy (rapporteur: Miguel Angel Cabra de Luna), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has outlined the prominent role social economy enterprises and organisations could play in Europe's external, security, trade, neighbourhood and sustainability policies and the regulations needed to maximise SEEs' impact.

This week...

The CCCTB and VAT regulations will be on the ECON agenda on Wednesday. EP Brexit Coordinator Guy Verhofstadt will update members of the Employment Committee on the state of play and next steps in the Brexit negotiations on Wednesday. Agriculture Committee MEPs will hear from the Commission on the illegal use of substances containing fipronil at laying hen farms and the consequences for the food chain on Thursday. A provisional agreement reached with the Council in July on the limits to harmful substances such as chromium VI, hard wood dust and vinyl chloride monomer, to which workers may be exposed, is up for a vote by Employment and Social Affairs MEPs on Wednesday. MEPs on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee may vote to oppose new rules on the composition and labelling of diet replacements on Thursday.

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