Insights | EU Insight April 20, 2018

High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini during a joint press conference with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, in Tirana on April 18, 2018.

23/04/2018

EU Insight April 20, 2018

COMMISSION PROPOSES CONCLUSION OF JAPAN AND SINGAPORE TRADE AGREEMENTS

The Commission presented the outcome of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and the trade and investment agreement with Singapore to the Council. This is the first step towards the conclusion of these agreements. The agreement with Japan is the biggest bilateral trade partnership ever negotiated by the EU – it would also reaffirm the shared commitment to sustainable development and includes a joint commitment to the Paris Agreement. The trade and investment agreement with Singapore is the EU’s first agreement with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with Singapore being the EU’s biggest trading partner from this bloc.

BEST PRACTICES FOR STRENGTHENING RETAIL SECTOR

The Commission published a set of best practices in an effort to encourage Member States to form a “more open, integrated and competitive retail sector”. These best practices aim to aid Member States in developing less stringent regulatory constraints on retailers whilst simultaneously maintaining public policy objectives. The Commission has targeted the retail sector after identifying that, even though the sector employs nearly one in ten people across the EU, its regulatory framework has not been adapted to the digital age.

COMMISSION RECOMMENDS OPENING ACCESSION TALKS WITH MACEDONIA AND ALBANIA

In its annual enlargement package, the Commission recommended to the Council that accession negotiations be opened with Albania and Macedonia (FYROM). The Commission has identified key issues that both states will need to address in order to progress further through the accession process. Specifically, Albania will need to implement crucial changes regarding its rule of law regime and Macedonia must deliver on urgent reforms to bring its political and legal administration in line with EU standards. The Commission commits to continue to support both countries in achieving these changes throughout the ascension process.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS THE 5TH ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE

The Commission’s First Vice-President Timmermans, Vice-President Dombrovskis, and Commissioner Jourovà welcomed the European Parliament’s adoption of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD V). AMLD V aims to enhance the powers of Financial Intelligence Units, prevent risks associated with the use of virtual currencies, improve the safeguards for financial transactions from third countries, and secure centralised national bank registers. The proposal was presented by the Commission in the wake of terrorist attacks across Europe and the revelations made by the leak of the Panama Papers. It comes as part of the Commission’s Action Plan in February 2016 to strengthen the fight against terrorist financing.

NEW EU RULES TO MAKE PARCEL DELIVERY MORE AFFORDABLE SIGNED INTO LAW

The Commission welcomed the signature into law of its proposal to make prices for cross-border parcel delivery services more transparent and affordable, and to increase regulatory oversight of the EU parcel market. The new Regulation will allow consumers and companies, in particular SMEs, to buy and sell products and services online more easily and confidently across the EU. The Regulation on parcel delivery is one of three pillars of the Commission’s efforts to boost e-commerce in the EU, together with rules on unjustified geo-blocking and consumer protection that have already been adopted. The Regulation will be fully applicable from 1 January 2019.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

  • 23 April: Informal meeting of employment, social policy, and health ministers. On the agenda: children’s’ health, effectiveness and availability of medicines.
  • 24-25 April: Supporting the future of Syria and the region – Council conference. On the agenda: Dialogue with NGOs, Education for the future.
  • 27-28 April: Informal meeting of economic and financial affairs ministers. On the agenda: Convergence in the EU, the common agenda for modern tax administrations, corporate taxation in the Single Market, taxation in the digital economy.

 

Karl Isaksson, Managing Partner Brussels, Kreab

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