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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

News from Brussels / Week 29 August – 02 September 2016


Our 751 MEPs came back to Brussels for a week full of committee meetings. In the Commission all eyes were on Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition, who announced that Apple’s tax benefits in Ireland were illegal (read press release). Other topics which drove the European week were the following. 

The European Parliament asks, the Commission replies

Cross-border divisions of companies

In 2017 the Commission will examine the possibility to complement the existing rules on cross-border mergers with rules on cross-border divisions. In its answer to the parliamentary question of Enrico Gasbarra MEP (S&D), the Commission mentions that in case it decides to propose new rules on cross-border divisions, it would carefully consider "what rules are necessary, in what way they should correspond to the rules already in place and how best to protect the interests of employees and of other stakeholders involved, such as creditors or minority shareholders". Answer

Alternatives to glyphosate

Before the summer, the Member States were unable to agree on the re-authorisation of glyphosate. The Commission is currently awaiting the results of a new assessment conducted by the European Chemicals Agency and it is not investigating the potential alternatives to glyphosate. Answer

Defusing tension in EU-Russia relations

Asked about the possibility to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia, the answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission is quite clear: The "full implementation of the Minsk agreements is the only way to lift the economic sanctions". Answer

Setting the agenda for coming plenaries

Report on the application of the Postal Services Directive

On Wednesday 13 September, the European Parliament will hold a debate on the report on the application of the Postal Services Directive (Rapporteur: Markus Ferber, EPP). The MEPs call on the Commission "to promote the strategy on e-commerce and cross-border parcel delivery" and suggest "facilitating interoperability along the delivery chain and developing publicly available best practices for e-retailers". On 25 May 2016 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on cross-border parcel delivery services, as part of a package of measures to facilitate cross-borders retail trade. Report

Report on the implementation of the Food Contact Materials Regulation (FCMs)

The Report on the Regulation on FCMs will be voted in the Plenary on 3 October (Rapporteur: Christel Schaldemose, S&D). The MEPs calls on the Commission to draw up specific measures for paper and board, varnishes and coatings, metals and alloys, printing inks and adhesives, as well as for recycled materials. Moreover, the Commission’s ‘Better Training for Safer Food’ platform, covering food and feed law, animal health and welfare and plant health rules, is seen as a very positive development to be encouraged. Report

Debate on the EU-Canada trade agreement

This week the MEPs of the Committee for International Trade discussed the controversial trade deal between Canada and the EU (CETA). Negotiations between the Commission and the Canadian government have been concluded, however, this still needs to be approved by the European Parliament. This week (5 September) the Members of the German Bundestag will also discuss the implications of the Trade Agreement in the parliamentary Committee for Economics and Energy. You can find here an interview with Artis Pabriks MEP (EPP), responsible for the dossier in the European Parliament. Interview

Council work programme until Christmas

The priorities of the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers were being outlined to parliamentary committees by Slovak ministers at the committee meetings of this week. Important issues that will be high on the agenda of the Presidency are the ratification of CETA and the EU approach towards China’s market economy” status; the modernisation of the VAT system, the further development of the Digital Single Market, including the proposals on geo-blocking and on consumer rights. The Presidency also stressed during the debate in the Committee for Agriculture the importance of finding common EU solutions to the current agricultural crisis and unfair trading practices in the supply chain. Article

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