Thursday

14th Nov 2019

UK to come with pro-business agenda for presidency

Britain is set to push a largely pro-business agenda tackling major proposals that have been sitting in the EU legislative pipeline when it takes over the presidency of the bloc next month.

A briefing note sent to political group leaders in the European Parliament ahead of their meeting with ministers from the British government on Friday (10 June) outlines the strong priority given to cutting red tape and making life easier for businesses.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The UK presidency is set to focus on three major areas of legislation including the chemicals regulation, the services directive and the "post financial services action plan agenda".

Controversial legislation

The chemicals regulation, which will impose high standards of chemical regulation for health and industry reasons, has been among the most controversial pieces of legislation in EU history pitting environment campaigners, who say it does not go far enough, against industry, which says it is too burdensome.

The briefing note says the presidency will "ensure that the benefits of the regulation to health and the environment are properly balanced with competitiveness considerations".

London also plans to "pursue the remaining dossiers" with the Financial Services Action Plan - a wide-ranging plan to open the market in financial services, review and assess EU legislation and take forward negotiations on the services directive.

EU's future economic direction

The directive on opening the services market sparked a profound debate about the future economic direction of Europe - one that resonated through the run-up to the French vote on the constitution and partially contributed to its rejection.

French voters tended to fear what they see as an Anglo-Saxon free-market driven-Europe which would result in loss of social protection and jobs.

After the vote, French president Jacques Chirac was quick to point out that the French social model was not the Anglo-Saxon model.

This debate is set to continue as analysts wonder whether all pro-business or free-market legislation will be put on hold as the EU looks set to enter a period of navel-gazing sparked by both the French and the Dutch referendums.

However, Mr Blair seemed to take a conciliatory line on the issue in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

He accepted that the French and German social models could not be dismantled and instead suggested a new "European social model" - a model that "allows you to have a competitive economy and a just and fair society".

Mr Blair is struggling to contain the view that all that Britain wants out of the Union is a free-trade area.

However, others are convinced that London will take advantage of President Chirac's weakened position after the referendum.

"I think one of the effects of the French ‘No’ will be a more liberal Europe because I think France was weakened in its position", said liberal leader in the European Parliament, Graham Watson earlier this week.

"Tony Blair will take advantage of this", he added.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions
  2. Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest
  3. MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education
  4. UK will not name new commissioner before election
  5. Trump expected to delay EU car tariff decision
  6. Tusk: Post-Brexit UK will be a 'second-rate player'
  7. Police end Catalan separatist blockade of France-Spain road
  8. Poland arrests extremists for 'planning attacks on Muslims'

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors
  2. Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban
  3. Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act
  4. Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile
  5. Mustard gas and cod: Last chance to stop Nord Stream 2?
  6. Cultural Battlefield
  7. Nationalists as much a threat to EU arts as resources
  8. Dear President Macron, being a migrant is not a crime

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us