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What’s News in Europe?

News

What’s News in Europe?

Jacob Dornbos

State of the European Union:

2016 State of the European Union Address
Last week, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the annual State of the European Union speech in Brussels outlining the Commission’s plans for the year ahead and responding to the ongoing challenges posed by Brexit and the migration crisis.

Analysis:

Juncker uses State of the Union to try to heal EU divisions President Juncker’s main points of the speech included a common EU defense policy, ramping up the European fund for strategic investments (the “Juncker Plan”), finalizing the Digital Single Market, creating a European solidarity corps, streamlining a European travel information system, and setting up a European external investment plan.

State of the Union — as it happened
The State of the European Union 2016 came two days before  27 EU leaders, not including British Prime Minister Theresa May, met in Bratislava to discuss what the EU should look like after Brexit.

State of Juncker’s Union: What he has (and hasn’t) delivered
President Juncker made some clear arguments during his State of Union speech, however the Commission has so far failed to properly address Brexit, Refugees and Migration, border control, and the creation of a viable European Border and Coast Guard.

The European Council Meets in Bratislava:

This week, the 27 EU heads of state (excluding the UK), met in Bratislava, Slovakia to discuss the future of the Union. Somewhat predictably, given the difficult political environment and large number of policy differences between member-states, the final Council conclusions document is woefully short on concrete next steps.

The Bratislava Letter
Ahead of the Council meeting, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, sent a letter to the other heads of state to prepare them for what promises to be a difficult few years of negotiating the British exit and also responding to Europe’s ongoing migration and economic challenges.

Tusk urges Europe’s leaders to heed Brexit lessons
President Tusk outlined his view that the EU should seek to establish the best possible relations with Britain while also warning leaders against viewing Brexit as an aberration. The EU must learn from the reasons UK voters decided to leave, rather than ignore the outcome as some sort of British exception.

Digital Single Market Update:

The WSJ put together this helpful summary of the EU’s new telecom and copyright proposals.

Press Release on Telecoms Rules Revision
On September 14, the European Commission issued a press release announcing its planned reforms to existing telecoms rules as part of its Digital Single Market Agenda.

Commission proposes new EU copyright rules
On September 14, the Commission also presented proposals on the modernization of copyright. These proposed rules are significantly flawed and we will be weighing in with the Commission to outline our concerns with the undue burdens placed upon both service and content providers.

Analysis: Old Media Strikes Back in Copyright Fight
European publishers see themselves as winners of the EU reform plan. One of the main reasons is that with the new reform plan, publishers will be entitled to demand compensation from internet companies if their journalism is reproduced for commercial use without permission.

Brexit:

Theresa May seeks to calm U.S. financial fears
U.K. Prime minister Theresa May met on Monday, September 19 with major U.S. banks and financial institutions to discuss issues and fears resulting from Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

Why Brexit hasn’t destroyed the British economy (yet)
A surprisingly resilient economy, sure-handed political transition, and the decisions made by the Bank of England have so far kept Britain above water after their vote in June to leave the European Union. That calm may not last much longer.

Ireland's still attracting companies despite Apple tax scandal as Brexit vote raises need for Europe access
Even following the EU’s major State Aid decision against Ireland and Apple, the Emerald Isle remains a very interesting destination for investors, particularly in the wake of Brexit.

How the EU's Leaders Should Think About Brexit
Europe’s leaders, next to trying to build a new union, should recognize the importance of their trading relationship with Britain and their interest in maintaining the movement of people to and from the U.K. Therefore they should bend their requirements a little to create a possible link between the two.

TTIP & Trade Policy:

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel wins key CETA confidence vote
On Monday, September 19, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel gained surprisingly strong support from his Social Democratic Party (SPD) in favor of Germany approving the provisional application of the EU’s CETA trade agreement with Canada.

USTR spokesman: U.S. still wants 'comprehensive' TTIP deal
The United States still strongly supports concluding an ambitious and comprehensive TTIP agreement, USTR underlined. U.S. officials are trying to complete at least a part of the pact by the end of the year.

U.S. officials float plan to rescue TTIP, step by step European and U.S. officials who are in favor of the TTIP agreement are worried about a possible collapse of the trade agreement if the talks drift into the next U.S. administration. Officials are considering a two-step process to push for TTIP, by consolidating regulatory cooperation gains already agreed upon as a first step towards a broader agreement.

Who is for and against free trade in the European Parliament
VoteWatch Europe has done an excellent analysis of recent trade votes in the European Parliament. The Conservative ECR and EPP groups are the most supportive of free trade (with national variation) whereas the Socialists are rather flexible depending on the topic or country in question.

Energy:

UK gives go-ahead for ‘revised’ £18n Hinkley Point Plant
UK’s prime minister Theresa May approved Europe’s biggest energy project, the building of Britain’s first new nuclear plant in 20 years – with major investments from France, China, and beyond.

Transatlantic Tax Policy:

Apple ruling could drive US corporate tax reform
The European Commission’s State Aid ruling could have an interesting side effect—pushing the U.S. corporate tax reform agenda forward in Congress. Commissioner Vestager has done the seemingly impossible—bring Republicans and Democrats together on taxation.

Other News from Across Europe:

The accidental commissioner
Julian King may be the United Kingdom’s last ever European Commissioner. Still, his charge to develop a “Security Union” is of primary importance given the constant threat of terrorism in Europe at the moment.

Establishment Politician Plots Rebel Run for the French Presidency
While more and more politicians across Europe represent either the nativist right or the radical left, Emmanuel Macron, a prospective candidate for the upcoming French presidential election, is trying to gain popularity by setting out a centrist platform of market-friendly reforms and a deep commitment to the EU. He has an uphill climb ahead of him.

Insurers Doubt EU Solvency II Agreement Will Be In Place By Year's End
There is not much time left for the U.S. to secure a bilateral deal that allows domestic insurance industry to access European Union markets. The last chance for the implementation of such deal may be at a meeting by the end of September.

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