Monday

21st May 2018

Agenda

EU leaders discuss energy and tax next WEEK

  • Some member states rely on Gazprom for 80 to 100 percent of their gas consumption (Photo: Joffley)

Energy and tax policy are on next WEEK’s agenda as European leaders gather in Brussels for a summit on Wednesday (22 May).

Member states want to harvest an estimated €1 trillion lost every year to tax evasion.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It is hoped the additional funds will help alleviate a social and economic crisis that has put millions out of work.

Among the proposed solutions to help fill the state coffers is the automatic information exchange of bank account details.

Austria and Luxembourg are temporarily exempt from the automatic exchange.

Both had expressed some openness to idea following German pressure, but then blocked an EU deal to increase tax transparency last week.

Luxembourg finance minister Luc Frieden and Austria's Maria Fekter said outstanding legal issues first need to be resolved. They also want the UK to tackle evasion in its offshore tax havens.

Green economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold described the Austria and Luxembourg resistance as “shameless obstructionism.”

Leaders at the summit are set to ply on the pressure on both countries to lift the exemption.

Energy is also up for discussion.

Leaders are expected to focus their attention on completing the internal energy market, boosting investment in energy infrastructure, and reducing high-energy prices.

The European Commission says energy import dependence has increased in last two decades and estimates the demand for oil and gas will increase by more than 80 percent by 2035.

Commission chief Jose Barroso said the fragmented EU energy market is driving up energy prices for both consumers and businesses. He said the internal energy market must be completed through existing legislation to bring down the costs and boost revenues.

“Our discussion [at the summit] should build on February 2011 conclusions and take our policy forward,” he said in a speech in early May.

Meanwhile, euro-deputies are in Strasbourg for their plenary session.

The MEPs on Tuesday will issue resolutions to urge member states to halve the €1 trillion in uncollected taxes by 2020.

Banking supervision is also on the plenary agenda on Tuesday.

The parliament says a final vote will be postponed until it can resolve accountability issues with European Central Bank.

A vote on a draft resolution on media freedoms and pluralism is scheduled on Tuesday. Deputies the same day will also approve the new dates of 22 to 25 May for the 2014 European elections.

On Wednesday, MEPs will debate the upcoming US-EU free trade agreement with EU trade commissioner Karel de Gucht.

The commission, for its part, is set to adopt on Thursday a proposal by EU transport commissioner Sim Kallas on maritime ports in Europe.

Digital commissioner Neelie Kroes is also set to present a strategy on micro-electronics and nanotechnology on Thursday.

Tax evasion on the agenda this WEEK

Tax havens and banking transparency top this week’s agenda as EU finance ministers meet to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK

The Facebook CEO will brief MEPs on data protection - but only behind closed doors. Meanwhile EU leaders are scratching their heads on how to deal with US president Trump's erratic decisions on trade and the Iran deal.

Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures

The EU parliament's budget rapporteur complained the Commission is using numbers with a "desire to confuse". According to parliament estimates, the cohesion fund could suffer as much as a 45 percent cut.

Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline

The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  2. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  3. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  4. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  5. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  6. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures
  7. How France escaped EU legal action over chemical ban
  8. 'Connectivity' trumps enlargement at Balkans summit