Brussels, 15 October 2021
G20 FINANCE MINISTERS ENDORSE AGREEMENT ON INTERNATIONAL TAX REFORM
At this week’s G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Washington, Ministers endorsed the final political agreement to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy and establish more just international tax system. The announcement came after last week OECD members agreed to set a global corporate minimum tax rate of 15% as of 2023. Commenting on the achievement, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said that it constitutes “nothing less than a tax revolution”. The agreement is expected to be rubberstamped by the G20 Leaders Summit in Rome at the end of the month.
COMMISSION ISSUES THE FIRST NEXTGENERATIONEU GREEN BOND
Earlier this week, the European Commission issued the first NextGenerationEU green bond raising €12 billion that will be used to finance green and sustainable expenditures. The bond, expiring on 4 February 2037, was oversubscribed more than 11 times for a total amount of €135 billion, indicating great interest from a wide range of investors. The green bond programme’s goal is to raise €80 billion this year and a total of €250 billion by end-2026. The programme intends to fund a greener EU recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and provide a major boost to sustainable finance markets in the coming years.
MOBILE PHONE ROAMING: PARLIAMENT BACKS EXTENSION OF FREE ROAMING IN THE EU
The European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee voted in favour of extending the “Roam like at Home” scheme for another ten years. The scheme, introduced in 2017, abolishes mobile roaming fees and is supposed to expire on 30 June 2022. MEPs want to ensure access to the same quality and speed of mobile connection abroad, free access to emergency services and end surcharges for calls between the Member States, currently capped at 19 cents per minute. The new rules are yet to be agreed by Parliament and Council. The first trilogue should take place on 26 October.
COMMISSION OUTLINES PROPOSALS ON NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL
This week Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s representative on the EU-UK Partnership Council, announced the Commission’s proposed arrangements for the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol to help ease social and trade difficulties in NI. The Commission’s proposals cover four areas: (i) checks on goods between Great Britain (GB) and NI, (ii) customs formalities between GB and NI, (iii) engagement with NI stakeholders and (iv) movement of medicines between GB and NI. Meanwhile, Lord Frost, the UK’s representative to the EU, has threatened to trigger the emergency brake (Article 16 of the Protocol) if no solution to the UK’s concerns is found by early November.
COMMISSION PRESENTS TOOLBOX TO TACKLE ENERGY PRICES SPIKE
The European Commission has published a Communication on measures aimed at addressing the current energy prices crisis. The document offers a review of the reasons that have led to the price increase and includes a “toolbox” of measures that Member States may use to address the surge. The proposed set of policy actions aims to ensure that governments across the EU can address the impact of the crisis on citizens within the boundaries of the EU regulatory framework, without hampering the development and deployment of renewables or going against the EU’s energy and climate targets.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab