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Public economic support in the EU: State aid and special economic zones

06-02-2020

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges ...

State aid can be defined as an advantage given by a government that may provide a company with an unfair competitive edge over its commercial rivals. State aid can take several forms, such as public subsidies, tax relief, or the purchasing of goods and services on preferential terms. While the European Union (EU) competition rules consider State aid to be incompatible with the internal market, they allow such aid when it promotes general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges of global competition, the ongoing financial crisis, the digital revolution, and demographic change. To this end, all EU Member States provide some public economic support, for instance, to the coal mining sector, banks, or the digital economy. To contribute to regional development and to increase competitiveness, some Member States have created special economic zones (SEZs), which offer an attractive combination of tax-and-tariff incentives, streamlined customs procedures, less laws, provision of infrastructure, and creation of business clusters. The European Commission is currently evaluating the State aid modernisation (SAM) package and some of its related laws, as these will expire by the end of 2020. The European Parliament takes a two fold stance towards public economic support in the EU. On the one hand, Parliament stresses that State aid should support ecological transformation and foster the development of services, knowledge, and infrastructure rather than providing support to specific companies. On the other hand, it calls on the Commission to ensure that State aid is reduced in the long term, given its distortive effects on the internal market. While the temporary State aid offered to the financial sector to stabilise the EU financial system might have been necessary, Parliament calls on the Commission to scrutinise and eventually remove this aid. Parliament, inter alia, also calls on the Member States to abandon unfair competition practices based on unjustified tax incentives and to adopt appropriate rules in the Council.

What if internet by satellite were to lead to congestion in orbit?

05-02-2020

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

American Starlink project aims to bring high speed internet access across the globe by 2021. It’s certainly a mission in the sky! But how will Elon Musk’s plans to deploy this mega constellation of satellites impact on European citizens?

Trade and investment agreements with Vietnam

05-02-2020

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

Multilateral Investment Court: Overview of the reform proposals and prospects

28-01-2020

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states ...

The Council of the European Union has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States at the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and hosting states, and relies on arbitration procedures. However, there have been growing concerns among states and stakeholders about the system's reliance on arbitrators, given its lack of transparency, issues over the predictability and consistency of their decisions, and the excessive costs involved. UNCITRAL talks aim to address these concerns by reforming the system. The EU and its Member States support the establishment of a multilateral investment court (MIC), composed of a first instance and an appellate tribunal staffed by full-time adjudicators. UNCITRAL talks on ISDS reform started in 2017. In April 2019, the working group finalised the list of concerns regarding the current ISDS system and agreed that it was desirable to work on reforms. The states then tabled reform proposals that provided the framework for the discussions that started in October 2019. The proposals range from introducing binding rules for arbitrators to setting up formal investment courts comprised of first instance and appellate tribunals. All in all, the proposals reflect two distinct approaches. Some states back the creation of tools – such as a code of conduct and/or an advisory body for smaller economies and small and medium-sized enterprises – to complement the current system. Others favour fundamental changes through the creation of a two-court system with appointed members. The latest round of talks took place in January 2020, and another is scheduled for March/April 2020. Although states are eager to reform the ISDS system, the complexity of the issue is likely to require additional sessions before agreement can be reached.

2019: A year of challenges and choices [What Think Tanks are thinking]

20-12-2019

The European Parliament elections and formation of a new European Commission with new priorities, together with a general economic slowdown against the backdrop of the US-China trade conflict, to say nothing of Brexit, defined 2019 as a year of tough choices in the context of old and new challenges. Those include efforts to fight climate change, the defence of the rules-based international order, the advance of the digital revolution, the emerging debate over the EU’s strategic sovereignty, and the ...

The European Parliament elections and formation of a new European Commission with new priorities, together with a general economic slowdown against the backdrop of the US-China trade conflict, to say nothing of Brexit, defined 2019 as a year of tough choices in the context of old and new challenges. Those include efforts to fight climate change, the defence of the rules-based international order, the advance of the digital revolution, the emerging debate over the EU’s strategic sovereignty, and the need to re-define relations with the United Kingdom post-Brexit. This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU in 2019 and its outlook in several important areas.

Indonesia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

19-12-2019

Which economy grew faster over the past 15 years – the EU or Indonesia? How many Indonesian women have a job, and what is the unemployment rate? Which country is Indonesia's biggest trading partner? What kind of products does the EU import from Indonesia? How does Indonesia compare with the global average in terms of human development, income inequality and corruption? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on Indonesia: economic indicators and trade with EU ...

Which economy grew faster over the past 15 years – the EU or Indonesia? How many Indonesian women have a job, and what is the unemployment rate? Which country is Indonesia's biggest trading partner? What kind of products does the EU import from Indonesia? How does Indonesia compare with the global average in terms of human development, income inequality and corruption? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on Indonesia: economic indicators and trade with EU, one of a series of infographics on the world's main economies produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders, 12-13 December 2019

17-12-2019

At the first European Council meeting chaired by the new President, Charles Michel, the main issues on the agenda were climate change, the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe. Regarding climate change, the European Council announced an agreement on the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, despite the refusal of one Member State to commit to implementing this objective at this stage. On the MFF, the European Council did not ...

At the first European Council meeting chaired by the new President, Charles Michel, the main issues on the agenda were climate change, the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), and the proposed Conference on the Future of Europe. Regarding climate change, the European Council announced an agreement on the objective of achieving a climate-neutral EU by 2050, despite the refusal of one Member State to commit to implementing this objective at this stage. On the MFF, the European Council did not reach agreement, but mandated its President to take the negotiations forward. The European Council also considered the idea of a Conference on the Future of Europe, and tasked the in-coming Croatian Council presidency to work towards defining a Council position on the matter, and on that basis, to engage with the European Parliament and the Commission. EU leaders also discussed a wide range of international issues, including relations with Turkey and Russia.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - December 2019

16-12-2019

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

EU trade with Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and figures

16-12-2019

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework ...

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework agreements with both Mercosur and its individual members. The EU's agreements governing trade relations with Latin American and Caribbean subgroupings and individual countries differ considerably in terms of coverage and methodology, depending on the time at which they were concluded and the backdrop to the negotiations. The EU is currently modernising the trade pillars of its agreements with Mexico (an 'agreement in principle' was reached in April 2018) and Chile (negotiations are still ongoing) in order to align them to the current standards of EU FTAs. If the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, which includes a trade pillar for which a political agreement was reached in June 2019, is successfully ratified, the EU would then have comprehensive agreements governing trade relations with nearly all of Latin America and the Caribbean (with the exception of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela).

Mercosur: Economic indicators and trade with EU

10-12-2019

Mercosur, the 'southern common market', was founded in 1991 when Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Treaty of Asunción. In 2012, Venezuela formally joined Mercosur as a fifth member, but in December 2016 the country was suspended temporarily for failure to transpose Mercosur rules into Venezuelan law. In August 2017, the suspension was prolonged indefinitely. This paper presents economic indicators for the four members, for example showing their GDP and labour market situations, ...

Mercosur, the 'southern common market', was founded in 1991 when Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed the Treaty of Asunción. In 2012, Venezuela formally joined Mercosur as a fifth member, but in December 2016 the country was suspended temporarily for failure to transpose Mercosur rules into Venezuelan law. In August 2017, the suspension was prolonged indefinitely. This paper presents economic indicators for the four members, for example showing their GDP and labour market situations, and it also shows those countries’ relative positions on several indexes that assess the situation in terms of doing business, corruption and human development. Finally, it looks at trade between the EU and Mercosur – of both goods and services – highlighting the main trading partners, and the main products and services that the EU exports to and imports from the four Mercosur members.

Következő események

17-02-2020
The Dilemma of Disinformation: How should democracies respond?
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