Brussels, 30 October 2020
COMMISSION PROPOSES DIRECTIVE ON MINIMUM WAGES
The Commission proposed an EU Directive to ensure that minimum wages across the bloc are set at adequate levels. While minimum wages exist in most EU member states, the Commission highlighted gaps in terms of insufficient protections and legal guarantees. Therefore, the Directive sets out annual reporting requirements and uniform criteria for minimum wages across the bloc – though the envisaged solution is not one-size fits all. It aims to ensure adequacy of minimum wages in countries that legally enforce them, and for countries where wage-setting is subject to negotiations between unions and employers, it will seek to extend coverage to more workers. The proposal now goes to the European Parliament and Council for approval.
PARLIAMENT PLENARY TO VOTE ON MiFID II QUICK FIX REPORT
The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee adopted the draft report on the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) quick fix. The report is ambitious, though the final version lies very close to the Council’s position and leaves out controversial elements such as the recalibration of the professional-client category, the proposed €10 billion market capitalisation threshold for the research unbundling exemption, and the proposed temporary suspension of the Regulatory Technical Standard (RTS 28) on trading venues’ best execution reporting. The report will now be submitted to the plenary vote in mid-November to obtain the mandate to enter into interinstitutional negotiations.
PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES ADOPT DRAFT REPORT ON INVESTEU PROGRAMME
This week the European Parliament Budgets and Economic and Monetary Affairs committees adopted the draft report on InvestEU, but votes fell short of the required threshold to enter interinstitutional negotiations. The Parliament plenary will have to approve the negotiating mandate during next plenary session; trilateral talks with the Council and the Commission will then start as soon as the Council agrees on its position. InvestEU is a key part of the Next Generation EU package and is expected to mobilise at least €1,200 billion to address the investment gap, funnelling funds to projects that would be otherwise difficult to finance, and providing solvency support to help companies overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 RESPONSE PACKAGE AND EU LEADERS’ VIDEOCALL
The Commission issued a Communication on required additional EU COVID-19 response measures. The Commission commits to accelerating and expanding testing, inter alia by mobilising €100 million from the Emergency Support Instrument to accumulate rapid antigen tests and allocate them rapidly to Member States. The Communication calls for expanded use of contact tracing apps, which should form the basis of an EU-wide system. Also, a common EU digital passenger locator form is to be launched in December. Separately, at a European Council video conference with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, EU leaders reaffirmed determination to fight the COVID-19 pandemic together, in line with the shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, highlighting EU-Canada cooperation on vaccines, treatments and tests.
SUSTAINABLE CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: COMMISSION CONSULTATION
The Commission launched a public consultation on the upcoming Directive on sustainable corporate governance. The consultation asks how the EU can ensure environmental interests are embedded within business strategies across the board, to boost the role of sustainable corporate governance in achieving the EU Green Deal objectives. The Commission aims to curb what they perceive as the trend of EU companies focussing on short-term benefits of shareholders, rather than on the long-term interests. It also aims to tackle adverse effects of company operations on the environment and human rights. The consultation will remain open for feedback until 8 February 2021, and the legislative proposal is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab
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