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Insight Brussels January 2014

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  • 1. .INSIGHTS BRUSSELS. .January 2014. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014
  • 2. SECTORAL POLICIES................................................................................................. 4 Agriculture And Fisheries ................................................................................................................. 4 Defence and Security Policy............................................................................................................... 5 Energy and Environment ................................................................................................................... 6 Financial Services .............................................................................................................................. 7 Food and Beverage ............................................................................................................................. 8 Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals ...................................................................................................... 9 Information and Communication Technology ................................................................................ 10 Media and Audiovisual works ......................................................................................................... 12 Transport .......................................................................................................................................... 12 INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014
  • 3. CROSS-SECTORAL POLICIES .................................................................................. 14 Competition ...................................................................................................................................... 14 Consumers ........................................................................................................................................ 15 Intellectual Property Rights ............................................................................................................ 16 International Trade.......................................................................................................................... 16 Research and Development .............................................................................................................. 17 Taxation ........................................................................................................................................... 18 INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014
  • 4. SECTORAL POLICIES Agriculture And Fisheries European Parliament voted in favor of Deep-Water fishing On 10 December, the European Parliament rejected a total ban on bottom trawling. With their vote, Members of the European Parliament allowed deep-water fishing to be continued (for at least five years) and provided a new framework for demersal fishing and measures to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems. The amendment introduced by the Greens and the GUE/NGL links parties reintroducing a proposal banning deepwater trawling at depths of over 600 metres has been rejected (342 against to 326 in favor with 19 abstentions). According to the compromise adopted, the Commission will have to assess the impact that this kind of fishing has on vulnerable marine ecosystems and species at least four years after the entry into force of the regulation. If, on that date, the Commission considers that certain species and areas are particularly threatened, it will have to present a new proposal for a total ban on bottom trawling. scientific data in order to determine the vulnerable marine ecosystems. They will have to set up observer programmes allowing data to be collected on deep-water species and on vulnerable marine ecosystem. Stakeholders are of course really divided on this outcome. The Conservatives Members of Parliament and the fishing industry welcomed the vote which is said to safeguard thousands of jobs for sea fishermen. Environmental organisations expressed their discontentment after the vote, underlining the Parliament’s incapacity to protect oceans. It should be noticed that this decision aroused a massive and unexpected social reaction with a petition from the civil society supported by 750 000 European citizens.  Early 2014: entry into force of the regulation 2018: Commission’s impact assessment The compromise text also set obligations for Member States to use a framework of qualitative 2019: Possible Commission’s new proposal Upcoming EU strategy for the promotion of agricultural products In the agricultural sector, the Greek presidency of the EU Council of Ministers will focus in the next six months on the negotiations for an agreement on the new EU strategy for the promotion of INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 agricultural products. The objective of this strategy is to join forces between the agricultural sector and industry representatives in an effort to improve the promotion of EU products around the
  • 5. world, in particular by intensifying business trips outside the EU with the participation of European business representatives to numerous third countries events - a model already used by Industry Commissioner Tajani on his so-called “missions for growth”. The new promotion strategy will aim at opening up new markets for European products. By doing so, the Commission intends to shift the focus of the new policy from individual campaigns to so-called “multi-country” programmes presented jointly by several organisations from several Member States. To this end, the proposal increases the EU cofinancing rate from 50% to 60%. The remaining 40% would need to be covered by the companies themselves. On Monday 16 December, EU agriculture ministers had a first exchange of views on this strategy and discussed at an initial roundtable on issues such as the eligibility of the products, co- funding rates, earmarked budget (an amount of €60 million is anticipated for 2014 with a gradual rise to €200 million by 2020) and the Member States role in the procedures. Agriculture ministers will meet again on 17 February, when the Commission will present its report on the possible labeling of agricultural products from the islands. On 14th April, the EU agriculture ministers will meet again and will try to adopt the EU strategy on the promotion of agricultural products. As for the EU Parliament, the other co-legislator, it has pledged to deliver its opinion before it goes into recess next year. The new system is planned to fully enter into force in January 2016.  17 February: Council’s debate on the strategy 14 April: Council’s expected adoption of the strategy April: Parliament’s expected adoption of the strategy January 2016: full entering into force of the strategy Defence and Security Policy European Heads of State and Government fail to move forward on Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) On 19-20 December, the conclusions of the European Council Summit for defence matters were timid, if compared with the high expectations that were anticipating the meeting. The ambition of the summit was to bring a qualitative leap in the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Essentially, the three biggest spenders on security and defence issues (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) did not find an agreement on the main points: France INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 claimed for the creation of a special basis for the deployment of the EU rapid reaction force but found the opposition of Germany on funding military operations in Central African Republic while Britain ruled out the creation of an EU army (even if this last point was not included in the agenda). Despite this fact, the conclusions stressed the importance of developing drones promising
  • 6. “appropriate funding for research and development activities in 2014”. Conclusions also encouraged the cooperation on development of air-to-air refueling and a plan on satellite communication. They also call to increase cooperation on technologies development and integration of defence industries. According to experts this could have a significant impact at a national level particularly because “cluster industries” will foster economies of scale. In 2014, an EU maritime security strategy (expected in June) and a cyber-defense policy framework will be published.  20 Jan 2014: Foreign Affairs Council June 2015 European Council Summit Energy and Environment Energy ministers adopt recommendations to complete internal market On 12 December, the 28 energy ministers adopted a progress report on the completion of a single EU market for energy, which is supposed to be in place by the end of 2014. The report highlights progress in five priority areas: the single market, investment, diversification of supply sources, energy efficiency and competitiveness. According to energy ministers, the Member States need to urgently implement the third energy package to liberalize the market (2009 directives on gas and electricity markets), speed up the development of cross-border energy infrastructure and give consumers more rights. On renewables, the report underlines that Member States are on track to achieve their interim targets for 2014 but may not reach their 2020 overall targets, because of delays in the transposition of the directive. 14 infringement cases against Member States are currently underway. On energy efficiency, ministers recognize that Member States will not be able to meet their EU’s 2020 voluntary targets and are late in transposing the 2012 energy efficiency directive. The Commission already launched 27 infringement procedures in this field. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 On consumer rights, ministers underline the different options adopted by Member States in their country (phone helplines, codes of conduct for companies, interactive websites..). In this area, the Commission is also preparing infringement procedures against those Member States which did not transpose consumer protection measures into national law. On investment, the report refers to the upcoming new state aid guidelines which are due to be adopted by the Commission in 2014 and which will clarify which situations justify state support. The Council’s report will be used as a reference for the Commission’s upcoming report expected in the first half of 2014 which will identify progresses and shortcomings towards the completion of the internal energy market.  Ongoing: infringement procedures against Member States Mid 2014: Commission’s report on internal energy market Mid 2014: Adoption of guidelines for state aid rules
  • 7. Eight Member States and Members of the European Parliament call for 2030 renewable energy targets Energy ministers from eight Member States, including Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal, have written a letter to Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for energy and Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for climate to call for the European Commission to propose new targets for renewable energy by 2030. The initiative comes after a year of increasing protest against the idea of extending the current framework to 2030 and after the announcement that the Commission would only propose a target for emissions reduction for 2030 later this month (without targets for renewables and energy efficiency). In the Parliament, the Members of the Committees on Environment (ENVI) and Energy (ITRE) have supported on 9 January in a joint own initiative report the inclusion of three binding objectives (reduction of greenhouse gases, or GHGs, promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency) in the future 2030 energyclimate change strategy. The report will now be submitted to the Parliament's plenary assembly, most probably during its February session. The letter insists on the potential impacts of 2030 renewables targets on investment, job creation and growth. It stresses the need to provide efficient planning and expansion of the European grid with renewable energies.  If the Commission has not ruled out yet on the possibility to put forward further targets, the decision will probably fall to the next college of Commissioners which will take office in Autumn. 22 January: proposal for 2030 emissions reduction target February: adoption of the Parliament’s report in plenary Autumn: expected new college of Commissioners Financial Services The Council for Economic and financial affairs reaches an agreement on the single resolution mechanism On 19 December finance ministers found an agreement on the single resolution mechanism (SRM) for restructuring failed banks. The ambition of Heads of State and Government is to complete this procedure by the end of the legislature next spring. The initiative aims at introducing common rules for banking rescue bringing Eurozone and some extra Eurozone INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 banks under the authority of a single supervisory body. The fundamental idea behind this proposal is to transfer the power to bail out banks from the national governments to a new EU body. This initiative was welcomed by most European leaders. Ministers of Finances changed a large part of the initial Commission proposal, especially reducing
  • 8. Commission´s role in deciding if to bail out or not a bank. According to the Council’s text, the final decision about banks saving should be devoted to the Council. Furthermore another controversial change from Commission´s proposal is related to the creation of the resolution fund: the single resolution fund would have access to common Member State funds only after ten years which, according to experts, could be an incentive for banks to continue with budgetary imbalances. This latest elements were strongly criticized both by the Commission and the European Central Bank. According to the Council position,n the single resolution fund should now be established through an intergovernmental treaty. This statement was criticized by President Schulz because it would put the European Parliament out of play. Despite the optimism of heads of States, time is running out before Parliament dissolves in April and a long negotiation is predictable in the trialogue.  28 January: next ECOFIN meeting 1 March: deadline for negotiation for intergovernmental agreement on single resolution mechanism Food and Beverage Commission proposes new legislation on novel food and cloned meat On 18 December, the European Commission proposed three draft directives: two of them intend to forbid animal cloning for food farming purposes and ban food made from offspring of cloned animals while the third one aims at introducing new measures for novel food. The first draft Directive proposes to forbid the cloning technique on farm animals; cloning would be permitted only for research or scientific purposes. The second draft Directive aims at banning offspring from cloned animals (such as eggs, milk…) but the only controversial point of this initiative is that imported food produced from the descendants of cloned animals will not be labelled. This means that European consumers INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 may eat descendants of cloned animals or their offspring without being properly informed. The European Parliament criticized this aspect asking the Commission to be more ambitious and include dispositions that would label the meat and offspring obtained from descendants of cloned animals. The Commission replied stating that labelling would be costly and complicated and that an impact assessment evaluation would be required. This precise issue already determined the failure, in March 2011 of a very similar regulation. In the course of next year, the Council and the Parliament are expected to adopt a position but it is unlikely MEPs would approve the text as it stands. The third draft Directive aims at introducing a regulation on novel food. The Commission
  • 9. defines novel food as newly developed products; food produced using new technologies or food traditionally eaten outside the EU (in particular food for which consumption in the EU was negligible before May 1997). The proposal’s objective is to facilitate novel food market access by simplifying and clarifying authorization procedures. The text has now to be discussed within the Council and the Parliament.  End 2014/ Begin 2015: adoption of position from the EP and Council 2016: expected entering into force of the Directives EFSA confirms that aspartame is not dangerous for human health On December 10 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) stated that aspartame is safe for human consumption and that there is no reason to modify the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40 mg/kg. This opinion closes a debate that has been going on for more than a year. Aspartame and its breakdowns have been used for more than 30 years and, along with all food additives, it was due for a re-evaluation by 2020. During the past years several studies established a link between aspartame consumption and a large amount of diseases (cancer and premature birth mostly). This latest element alerted the European Parliament that put pressure on the Commission asking EFSA to publish a final opinion on aspartame in May 2013. EFSA delayed then the date of publication to November in order to consider three new studies. During the public consultation on the draft opinion that took place from 9 January to 15 February, EFSA received 219 comments. All those were considered and debated by all the stakeholders during a public hearing in April. The Commission has now to confirm this opinion and the current ADI will certainly be maintained. Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals EU institutions finally reach an agreement on tobacco directive On 18 December the trialogue between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the Commission finally found an agreement on tobacco directive. The new text introduces the following rules: Cigarette producers must a maximum level of nicotine that can be contained in cigarettes; INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 Packs will have to contain at least 20 cigarettes or 30 g for rolling tobacco packs; At least 65% of the packs needs to indicate health warning (but Member States can go further and impose warnings to the whole package);
  • 10. Flavours will be banned with an exception for menthol cigarettes that will be allowed till 2020; A tracking system will be introduced to tackle sales on the black market; Cross-border sales and particularly online sales will be from now on legally prohibited. The most controversial part of the negotiation was the issue of electronic cigarettes. Member States wished to ban refillable cartridge arguing that they were unsafe, while MEP´s, under the pressure of manufacturers and consumers refused such measure. The final compromise reached gives Member States the choice to classify electronic cigarettes as medicinal products or tobacco products. The maximum nicotine concentration will be 20mg/ml, refill bottles and cartridges will also have a defined maximum capacity. Moreover the European Commission will be able to unilaterally propose an EU ban if a specific cartridge is banned from at least three Member States. The text has now to receive the agreement of the Parliament in plenary session and the Council. It will come into force from 2016.  March: formal adoption of the directive 2016: entry into force of the directive Interinstitutional agreement reached on clinical trials On 20 December, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the proposed regulation on clinical trials of products for human use. The draft regulation, presented in July 2012 aimed at giving new impetus to clinical research in Europe by improving the authorization process for products for human use which is long and complex. The objective is to make the European Union more attractive for clinical research, whilst maintaining rigorous standards ensuring patients safety and reliability of data. The final version of the regulation stipulates that Member States will continue to carry out independent assessments into ethical issues, whilst common rules will govern the protocol followed to carry out clinical trials. In the future, pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers will have to make public the results of all clinical trials they undertake in Europe on a common database.  January: formal adoption of the regulation 2016: entry into force of the regulation Information and Communication Technology European Ministers express reservations on Telecom package On 5 December, European ministers meeting at the Telecommunications Council gave conditional support to the European Commission’s INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 'Connected Continent' proposals which aim at achieving a greater harmonization of the EU telecoms markets. In particular, they casted
  • 11. doubts over the substance and timing of two issues: common regulation principles for radio frequency allocation of wireless broadband (4G development). European Ministers opposed Europe-wide harmonization for allocating frequency and called for more attention to national specificities. alignment of roaming services with national prices by 2016. According to European ministers, this Commission’s flagship proposal would create a high level of uncertainty among operators. Ministers supported the aim of reducing roaming charges, but many said existing roaming proposals (2009 regulation) need to be implemented before new ones are adopted. Others claimed the proposals would distort competition. As a reminder, the Commission's roaming proposals aims at eliminating charges for receiving calls across borders within the bloc, and a cap of €0.19 per minute for those making calls across EU borders. Many ministers also expressed concerns that the Commission’s proposals to harmonize consumer protections would have the effect of diluting their own existing domestic provisions. In the Council, the dossier will now pass to the Greek presidency which will be in charge of developing the debate for the next six months. Within the European Parliament, good progress have been achieved with a Committee vote expected in February before a plenary vote in April. The Commission expects that the interinstitutional talks will lead to a compromise text before the end of its mandate in 2014.  February: Parliament’s committee vote on Telecom package April: Parliament’s plenary vote on Telecom package April: Expected Council’s vote on Telecom package Fall 2014: Expected adoption of the Telecom package European Ministers discuss cyber security On 5 December, the Telecommunications Council also reviewed the draft directive aimed at ensuring a high level of security of electronic communications networks and information systems in the EU. The text was presented by the European Commission on 7 February as part of its European cyber security strategy. Ministers in particular underlined two key questions on which work still needs to be done: notifying risks and incidents and developing cooperation among national authorities to ensure coordinated intervention in the event of an incident occurs. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 Some delegations prefer a flexible approach, limiting the adoption of binding rules at EU level to critical infrastructure and basic requirements, complemented by voluntary measures. Others, as well as the Commission, take the view that only legally binding measures can ensure the best level of security throughout the EU.  10 March: Parliament’s plenary vote on Cyber security Directive Mid-2014: expected adoption of the Directive
  • 12. Media and Audiovisual works New funding opportunities for the creative sectors from 2014 Creative Europe, the new programme supporting the cultural and creative sectors in the EU, entered into force on 1st January 2014. With a budget of nearly €1.46 billion over the next seven years, Creative Europe will fund thousands of projects in cinema, TV, culture, music, performing arts, heritage and related areas the with a view to increase Europe’s international visibility in the creative sectors. Creative Europe builds on the success of the Culture and MEDIA programmes, which have supported the cultural and audiovisual sectors for more than 20 years. The first call of proposals is now available for cultural and creative organisations wishing to bid for funding in 2014. Nearly €170 million in funding is available under the programme's first calls for 2014.  March: Deadline for submission of projects September: Funding of selected projects Transport European Parliament pushes to reinforce air passengers’ rights On 17 December, Members of the European Parliamentary Committee on Transport (TRAN) finally adopted a compromise text with a massive majority (37 in favor, 3 against) which aims at strengthening a Commission’s proposal on air passengers’ rights. MEPs put forward in particular amendments lifting up the thresholds proposed by the Commission for triggering reimbursement, compensation or re-routing in case of air delays. They asserted that compensation should be due after a three-hour delay for flights of up to 2,500 km (€300 in compensation), after five hours for flights of up to 6,000 km (€400) and after seven hours for flights of over 6,000 km (€600). The Commission was counting on thresholds of five, nine and twelve hours. To recall, the current regulation does not establish financial compensation for delays, only for cancellation. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 But the EU Court of Justice believed that it went against the treaty, which in turn fuelled the need to adapt the regulation. Members of the European Parliament also cleared up the notion of “extraordinary circumstances” allowing airline companies to circumvent paying compensation (this disposition has been subject to systematical abuses in the past). They called for the regulation to contain an exhaustive list of exceptional circumstances. The Commission’s proposal only contained a nonexhaustive list. MEPs for instance supported that “Labour disputes” at an airline company qualify as an extraordinary circumstance -as the Commission would like- but only if it is
  • 13. “unforeseen”. This means that if a pilot strike is announced in advance and leads to delays/cancellations, it will certainly result in compensation. Council is expected to adopt its position in March but current discussions seem to show that Member States are keener to support the airline companies’ interests more than MEPs. The compromise text will now pass to the plenary session in February, and the Parliament is counting on an agreement in first reading with the Council by the end of the legislative period. The  February: Adoption of final position of the Parliament March: Adoption of the final position of the Council April-May: Expected adoption of the final compromise European Commission adopts a “urban mobility package” On 17 December, the European Commission adopted a new "urban mobility package" to reinforce the exchange of best practice, provide targeted financial support, encourage the development of "sustainable urban mobility plans" and invest in research and development. The package includes in particular the following initiatives: Setting up in 2014 a European platform for sustainable urban mobility plans to help cities, planning experts and stakeholders to plan for easier and greener urban mobility; Providing targeted financial support through the European structural and investment funds; Promoting Research and Development through the Civitas 2020 initiative with an estimated budget for 2014 and 2015 of €106.5 Million (the first call for proposals has been published on 11 December) Providing specific recommendations for coordinated action between all levels of government and between the public and the private sector  March: deadline for EU mobility calls for proposals (1st set) August: deadline for EU mobility calls for proposals (2nd set) Mid-2014: launch of platform for sustainable mobility €1 billion in research and innovation for rail transport The European Commission announced on 16 December, that the public-private partnership “Shift2rail” will invest €1 billion until 2020 in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways. Together with the EU contribution of €470 million from the Horizon 2020 programme, rail equipment manufacturers including Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales and CAF, as well as infrastructure managers Trafikverket and INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 Network Rail, have already confirmed that they will each make a contribution of at least €30 million to the Shift2Rail initiative. Research will focus on cost efficient rolling stock, traffic management systems, intelligent maintenance, integrated ticket systems and intermodal freight solutions. The objective is to reduce rolling costs by half, double the rail sector’s capacity and increase railway line punctuality by 50%.
  • 14. CROSS-SECTORAL POLICIES Competition European Commission simplifies merger procedures On 5 December, the European Commission adopted a package of measures to simplify its procedures for reviewing concentrations under the EU Merger Regulation. The new measures are supposed to bring significant benefits to businesses in terms of preparatory work and related costs. Under the new requirements, mergers below a 20% combined market share will now qualify for a simplified procedure (instead of 15% previously). Mergers in vertically integrated markets (such as between a producer and a manufacturer) below a 30% combined market share as well as merger with a combined market shares of between 20% to 50% but with a small increase in market share after merger will also qualify for the simplified procedure. With the new thresholds, the Commission’s objective is to bring the total ratio of cases treated under simplified procedure to 6070%. The package also provides companies with shorter notification forms and a significant reduction of information requested from merging companies. With the new dispositions, the Commission will also be entitled to clear cases without a market investigation. Last, merging parties may offer commitments in order to remove competition problems raised by a notified merger. The Commission developed models for offering commitments to divest assets and for the establishment of a mandate for the trustees monitoring the implementation of the commitments.  January: implementation of the new merger procedures European Commission opens two consultations on state aid support The European Commission opened in December two public consultations on draft rules for state support in energy and environmental field and on draft rules for state support for research, development and innovation. Both consultations are part of a broader initiative to modernise EU State aid rules. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 On 18 December, the European Commission published its long awaited consultation on a proposal for revised State aid guidelines for assessing public support projects in the field of energy and the environment. With an increasing penetration and decreasing costs of renewable energy, the guidelines in particular propose that
  • 15. state aid should gradually move to a more market friendly support of renewable energy in the form of market premiums or certificate schemes. Accordingly, the guidelines propose to focus more on infrastructure projects for cross-border energy flows. On 20 December, the European Commission published for public consultation a draft framework setting out revised conditions under which Member States can grant state aid for research, development and innovation activities (R&D&I). It will offer Member States more possibilities to channel state aid towards boosting innovation, growth and jobs: European industry and addressing societal challenges such as climate change. A new category of aid for the construction and upgrade of research infrastructure will also be set up. After having analysed the comments by stakeholders, the Commission envisages adopting a new framework in spring 2014.  14 February: end of consultation for energy and environment state aid guidelines 20 February: end of consultation for research and development state aid guidelines the conditions for subsidised pilot and demonstration projects will be more flexible; 1 July: entry into force of a new framework for R&D It will facilitate the validation of technologies which are vital for the competitiveness of Consumers Council of Ministers adopted a general approach on payment accounts On 20 December, the Council of Ministers adopted a general approach on a draft directive aimed at improving the transparency and comparability of information on fees related to payment accounts. The proposal sets out to enable the consumer to make informed choices when opening a payment account, whilst facilitating the switching of accounts and eliminating discrimination based on residency. It also sets out to guarantee access to basic payment services throughout the EU. The aim is to enhance both consumer protection and integration of the single market, contributing to easier market entry, increased economies of scale and strengthened competition in the banking and payment industries. Negotiations with the European Parliament will now start, with the aim of adopting the directive at first reading.  Early 2014: final agreement on payment accounts INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014
  • 16. Intellectual Property Rights Reform of EU legislation on registering trademarks expected in 2014 On 2 December, European Ministers discussed the reform of the EU legislation on registering national and European trade marks. Ministers agreed that there is still some way to go before reaching an agreement as they share some reservations about the governance structure of the Office for the Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and the level of cooperation between OHIM and national trademarks offices. The objective of the trademark package is to lower the cost of registering a trade mark. The Commission’s draft legislation would lower the cost of registering a trade mark from €900 to €775, and reduce the cost of renewing it from €1,350 to €1,000. The reform should also enhance seizures of counterfeit products in transit on European territory - not just at customs. The EU rules in this field date back in the 1990s. While the European Parliament is progressing well on this dossier with a vote scheduled in the plenary session in February, an interinstitutional agreement on the trademark package is expected in the course of the year.  4 February: Parliament’s vote on trademark package Early-Mid 2014: Council’s vote on trademark package Mid-End 2014: expected EU compromise on package International Trade Third EU/US round talks makes significant progress in negotiation From 16 to 20 December, took place in Washington the third round of discussions between European and American negotiators on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a trade agreement that aims at removing trade barriers between EU and the US. Both delegations talked about “progress” during the press conference that followed this third round. The three key elements of the TTIP are market access, regulatory aspects and rules. The most relevant themes discussed during the latest round were: INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 Agriculture: US wants Europe to approve genetically modified food; Food: Commission asks for exclusive rights in using food names with a specific geographic origin; Financial services: EU Commission wants to include them in the negotiations; Energy: EU access to new energy sources in the US (shale gas) and US concern over fuel quality directive; Data security: US demands for free data flows.
  • 17. Both European Parliament and American Congress are strongly supporting this initiative, but Europe has been more ambitious hoping to close the deal by October. A meeting between the European Commissioner for trade Karel De Gucht and Mike Froman, the US trade representative, will occur during February, while the fourth round of negotiation will take place in Brussels 4 March. Those next two meetings will be decisive in order to reach an agreement by the end of the current year.  February: meeting between European Commissioner for trade and US trade representative March: fourth round of negotiations October: expected final agreement Research and Development Near €8 billion in 2014 to fund projects in research and development On 11 December, the European Commission published the first calls for projects under the new framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. The European Commission has indicated for the first time funding priorities over two years (2014-2015), providing researchers and businesses with more certainty on the direction of EU research policy. This set of calls for projects is the first of a series announced for 2014 to be launched over the course of the year. Calls in the 2014 budget alone are worth around €7.8 billion, with funding focused on the three key pillars of Horizon 2020: Industrial Leadership: €1.8 billion to support Europe's industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 Societal challenges: €2.8 billion for innovative projects in the fields of health, agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy, energy, transport, climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials, reflective societies, and security. Excellent Science: Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants for top scientists. The first grants are expected to be awarded in September this year.  September: first funds granted to selected projects
  • 18. Taxation High-level expert group to focus on taxation of digital economy On 12 December, the high-level expert group established by the European Commission on Taxation of the digital economy organized its first meeting. The group of experts, consisting of six national members, will report back to the Commission by mid-2014, listing the main problems of taxing the digital economy. In particular, it will seek to propose different options on the way multinationals active in this sector – whose tax optimisation strategies are increasingly INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014 being criticised – shall be taxed. The Commission will then develop any necessary EU initiative to improve the tax framework for the digital sector in Europe.  Mid 2014: report from the high level group on taxation of digital economy End 2014-Begin 2015: new tax framework for the digital sector
  • 19. INSIGHTS BRUSSELS January 2014