Sunday

26th May 2019

Agenda

Tax rulings and energy top agenda This WEEK

  • MEPs will be give a chance to grill representatives of multinationals on shady tax rulings (Photo: Ken Teegardin)

Multinational companies, some of them are under investigation by the EU commission for alleged sweetheart tax deals with member states, will have a chance on Monday (16 November) to present their side of the story in the European Parliament.

The special committee on tax rulings, born out of the "LuxLeaks” scandal, finalised its report after eight months of work on tax rulings, the EP plenary wil vote on it at the end of November.

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Multinationals who are implicated in the LuxLeaks affair, which in 2014 revealed the scope of tax rulings that benefited companies like Apple, Ikea, Amazon, Microsoft, and Deutsche Bank, will have a chance to share their views.

Among others, Amazon, Google, Facebook, McDonald’s, the HSBC banking group, and Philip Morris International confirmed their participation for Monday.

The EU Commission recently said that Fiat's financial services arm and Starbucks enjoyed unfair tax advantages in Luxembourg and the Netherlands and ordered the companies to pay back €20-30 million euros to the countries’ budgets.

Decisions are also expected on other cases involving Apple and Amazon.

Foreign affairs

Foreign affairs ministers will gather in Brussels on Monday to digest the latest developments in the Middle East and the migration crisis, which is now threatening the Schengen visa-free travel zone.

No significant decisions are expected, however.

Meanwhile, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will pay a visit to the European Parliament on Monday, where he is expected to discuss foreign policy challenges with MEPs.

There is an increasing need for Europe’s political and economic powerhouse, Germany to play a more visible role in foreign policy.

German chancellor Angela Merkel Merkel recently said at a gathering of her CDU party members that one of the lessons of the refugee crisis is that Germany will have to conduct a much more active foreign policy.

After UK prime minister David Cameron spelled out his list of requests for EU reforms ahead of a vote on the UK’s membership last week, this week will see an EP delegation traveling to London to hear the demands first hand.

The delegation will meet government representatives, parliamentary committees of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, civil society, and think thanks.

Energised Union

A major speech on the EU’s energy policy is scheduled for Wednesday (18 November).

The EU commissioner in charge of energy union, Maros Sefcovic, will deliver the first of a series of annual speeches in which he will take stock of the EU's aim to increase energy security, decrease its reliance on fossil fuels, and to create a single market for energy.

According to a leaked version of the speech, he is expected to say the European Commission will scrutinise the plan to build additional natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany.

Sefcovic will detail how the commission has made progress on emissions trading, renewables, and the further investments in low carbon technologies and energy efficiency this year.

Citizens will be given a chance to ask questions from commission president Jean-Claude Juncker this week.

On Wednesday at an event co-organised by L'Obs, Le Soir and De Standaard newspapers in Brussel’s Bozar, Juncker will answer concerns of average Europeans.

Questions can be submitted via the hashtag #EUdialogues.

The end of the week will see Liberals gather in Budapest for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Alde) party congress, where participants will elect a new president.

Migration and Turkey top agenda This WEEK

EU leaders to hold two summits on migration as winter approaches, with a Turkey deal key to slowing arrivals. UK also expected to unveil wish list for EU reforms.

Schengen at risk of collapse, as EU looks to Turkey

The future of the free circulation "is at stake”, the EU Council chief said, while EU leaders try to gather money to face the migrant crisis and placate the Turkish government before another summit.

EU votes on future leaders This WEEK

The political spotlight switches from Brussels to national capitals and regions this week as Europe gears up for the start of European Parliament elections on Thursday

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