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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels / Week 26 November - 02 December 2016

Last week saw the introduction of major proposals by the European Commission. The so-called “Energy Winter Package” shall make the EU fit for the energy transition and ensure that the climate action goals are reached. Moreover, common VAT rules for e-commerce and the abolition of geo-blocking shall further advance the realization of the Digital Single Market.

#Clean Energy Package
The European Commission presented a package of measures in order to streamline the EU’s efforts in climate policy. The measures, included in the 1000-page Winter Package, aim to ensure a successful energy transition. The EU remains committed to cutting the CO2 emissions by at least 40 % by 2030. A special importance is given on energy efficiency, where the Commission proposes a binding EU-wide target of 30% by 2030.
Press Release (Commission)
Fact Sheet (Commission)

#New VAT rules to foster e-commerce
The creation of the Digital Single Market is one of the top priorities of the EU’s agenda -no doubt about it! The European Commission has now presented one of its building blocs: a proposal to improve the Value Added Tax (VAT) system for e-commerce businesses in the EU. The Commission wants to introduce an EU-wide portal for online VAT payments, which would allow businesses to buy and sell goods online more easily. The new rules will also ensure that VAT is paid in the Member State of the final consumer, avoiding this way double taxation and simplifying the procedures.
Press Release (Commission)
Q&A (Commission)

#Geo-blocking- no more (if unjustified)
The Council has agreed on a draft regulation to ban unjustified geo-blocking between Member States. The draft regulation is intended to remove discrimination based on customers' nationality, place of residence or place of establishment and to boost e-commerce. What’s next? Now the Parliament will have to agree on its position to start negotiations with the Council.
Press Release (Council)

#Roaming Charges: do not fear!
The European Parliament Committee for Industry, Research and Energy has voted to cap wholesale prices for use of networks. The prices were agreed by the MEPs at € 0.03 for voice call, instead of the proposed €0.04; a gradually decreasing cap, from €4 to €1 per gigabyte instead of €0.0085 per megabyte; and €0.01 for text messages. The MEPs also aim at strengthening the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). Capping the wholesale prices for networks is a significant step towards abolishing the roaming charges in total, which is set for June 2017.
Press Release (Parliament)

#Divergences in food
The European Parliament enquires information from the Commission regarding divergences in the quality of food made by the same producer in western European and in central and eastern European countries. The Commission is asked to elaborate on what steps she will take to tackle this issue. The Commission usually takes three weeks to answer parliamentary questions.
Written question (Parliament)

This week…
… the political groups will discuss their internal positions before the upcoming plenary session in Strasbourg. Moreover, the ALDE Group is expected to nominate Guy Verhofstadt as candidate for the President of the European Parliament. The EPP is expected to vote on their candidate on 13 December. This week is also the European Vocational Skills Week!

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