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In most countries in the European Union (EU) and in the rest of the world, debt is treated more favourably from a tax perspective than equity, with interest payments on loans generally being tax deductible. In contrast, costs related to equity financing, such as dividends, are mostly non-tax deductible. This unequal treatment of debt and equity leads to a bias towards debt in businesses' investment decisions and can lead to high levels of indebtedness in the EU corporate sector. On 11 May 2022, to ...

People from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds face discrimination and its consequences on a daily basis, but the exact scale of the problem is hard to gauge owing to a lack of data and general under-reporting of racist incidents. The coronavirus pandemic saw a major increase in reports of racist and xenophobic incidents, and the crisis it triggered had a disproportionately large negative effect on racial and ethnic minority groups, in the form of higher death and infection rates. Although, since ...

Plenary round-up – March I 2023

Kort sammanfattning 17-03-2023

Among the highlights of the March I plenary session was a debate on the conclusions of the special European Council meeting of 9 February and the preparation of the European Council meeting of 23-24 March 2023, with Charles Michel, the President of the European Council. Members also debated the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank and its implications for European financial stability, a common EU response to save lives at sea, the need to ensure transparency and accountability in the light of alleged ...

The current Machinery Directive (Directive 2006/42/EC) was designed to allow the free movement of machinery within the internal market, while ensuring a high level of user health and safety. To reduce the occurrence of accidents, it promotes the inherently safe design and construction of machinery, and proper installation and maintenance. On 21 April 2021, the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on machinery products, as part of a wider 'artificial intelligence package'. The need for ...

In July 2021, the European Commission put forward the 'fit for 55' package of legislative proposals, aimed at ensuring the success of the European Green Deal. The FuelEU Maritime regulation is one of these proposals and, together with four other proposals, it seeks to steer the EU maritime sector towards decarbonisation. To support the uptake of sustainable maritime fuels, the Commission proposes to limit the carbon intensity of the energy used on board ships. Accordingly, the proposal sets a fuel ...

In a rapidly changing and increasingly digital world, the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need to develop the use of technology in education and training. Appropriate skills and competences, as well as digital infrastructure and equipment, are key in this regard. When adapting education to the digital age, ensuring equity and inclusion is crucial, too. The 2021-2027 digital education action plan (DEAP), the European Commission's flagship initiative adopted in September 2020, calls for ...

Addressing ship reflagging to avoid sanctions

Kort sammanfattning 16-03-2023

Reflagging to a flag of convenience is a practice whereby a ship-owner registers their ships in a country with relatively light controls or low standards, for instance in the area of environmental or employment law. While this is legal in principle, it is often combined with illegal practices, including the circumvention of sanctions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU are trying to tackle abusive reflagging.

On 7 December 2022, the European Commission made two proposals to amend EU legislation on derivative markets to reduce the excessive and concentrated exposure of EU financial institutions to third-country central counterparties (CCPs). CCPs are clearing platforms that mitigate counterparty risks on derivative instruments by demanding collateral. Among other things, the proposals would require EU financial institutions to retain a portion of mandatory CCP derivative trading, to be handled through ...

The European Commission proposed a revision of Directive 2008/99/EC on the protection of the environment through criminal law in December 2021. The proposal intends to clarify some of the terms contained in the directive and includes an updated list of environmental crime offences, harmonised sanction types and levels, measures to strengthen international investigation and prosecution, improvements to the collection of statistical data and measures to improve national enforcement chains. Ultimately ...

On 7 December 2022, the Commission tabled a proposal for a directive aimed at enhancing and harmonising insolvency law in the EU. The proposal seeks to make it easier to recover assets from the liquidated insolvency estate; render insolvency proceedings more efficient; and ensure a predictable and fair distribution of recovered value among creditors. The directive would complement two recently adopted pieces of legislation, namely, the directive on pre-insolvency proceedings and debt discharge following ...