Trade was a major topic of discussion among EU leaders at the European Council Summit lon March 22 and 23 in Brussels. In the Summit conclusions, the Council notes its regret of the U.S. decision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs. While the text accepts the temporary exemption granted by President Trump, it calls for that exemption to be made permanent. The document also states the EU’s willingness to assist the U.S. in addressing the “real problems” of overcapacity and reaffirms Europe’s commitment to the transatlantic relationship.
Digital taxation was on the Summit agenda, however the conclusions make no reference to the recent EU proposals on tax reforms aimed largely at major U.S. companies. The Council’s website notes that the EU leaders held a debate on the topic focusing on how to adapt tax systems, efforts to prevent tax evasion and avoidance, and how to ensure synergy at the EU and international level. The notable absence of any mention of the digital tax in the conclusions surely indicates the lack of any unanimous agreement on the issue among the member states. The text does call for more work towards the completion of Europe’s Digital Single Market and also calls out the need for social networks to guarantee transparency and fully protect citizens’ privacy and personal data.