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ESBA Bulletin of 18 September 2017

18 September 2017
by ESBA -- last modified 18 September 2017

EU/Trade: No more national obstructions to FTAs
To avoid a new "Walloon Drama", Commission's president Juncker wants to fast-track the approval of new free trade agreements by giving the EU institutions exclusive competence on the majority of chapters in trade accords. Only provisions related to non-direct foreign investment and investment dispute mechanisms will be submitted to national parliaments for approval. The proposed "Split Method" has encountered some reservation – especially from Germany – but it's getting traction. Senior representatives from the EU countries' economic ministries will discuss the proposal in Tallinn on September 21 and 22.

For more information on EU trade policy, please click here.

EU/Trade: EP does not recognise China Market Economy Status over unfair competition
European socialists, backed by Antonio Tajani, the President of the European Parliament, refuse to sign the Commission's new anti-dumping rules that would recognise China as a Market Economy. According to MEPs and industry associations the new methodology would shift the burden of proof onto the EU while failing to address the threat of dumped imports from countries with significant distortions, like China. European Commission trade chief, Cecilia Malmström, will seek to find an agreement with Parliament.

For more information on EU-China trade, please click here.

EU/What's next for the EU single telecoms market?
Last June, the process to achieve a single European telecoms market had commenced. After the vote of the European Parliament's Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) on the September 4th, this process is still under way. MEPs in a different Parliament committee will vote in the next few weeks on a fully binding draft, including measures to lower the price of calls and text messages between EU Member States and the introduction of price caps on international calls.

For more information on Digital Single Market please click here.

EU/Trade: 10th Expo Pakistan in Karachi, Nov 9th - 12th 2017.
Between November 9-12th November, Pakistan will hold the 10th edition of Expo Pakistan inviting local and foreign exhibitors to showcase their products and services. Thanks to the participation of over 1100 buyers from 77 + countries during the past ten years the four-day event has become a gathering point for business worldwide interested in buying and ordering the merchandise on display for coming seasons.

For more information, please click here.

France tougher on the posted workers bill and gaining support.
Employment and social ministers will meet on October 23rd to discuss the posting of workers bill. This draft legislation sets a 24-month limit during which temporary workers can stay in other EU countries and still pay social contributions at home. While France tried to push a controversial amendment on that bill over the summer to reduce that time limit to 12 months, the Estonian proposal clearly continues to set the time frame at 24 months. Nevertheless, this does not imply a total rejection of the tougher French amendments. On the contrary, it seems that the French proposals have, as of June, picked up support and gained backing from Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

For more information on Posted Workers please click here.

EU/Digital Single Market: Concerns about the asymmetry of connectivity throughout the EU
Statistics show that the economic disparity between the north and the south of Europe is also reflected in terms of their populations' connectivity to the online world. With the north possessing considerably more advanced infrastructure for online access the south is at a disadvantage both in terms of what proportion of its population has access to the online world, as well as in terms of the cost for such access. Households in the south spend a much larger proportion of their income on mobile broadband coverage than their northern counterparts, and for connectivity of arguably worse quality. With the expected surge of the Digital Single Market in the upcoming decade, and the shifts to the digital world for cross-border access to goods, services and digital content, the disparity between "offline and online" populations of Europe is expected to grow. Implementing a uniform policy such as the DSM over an otherwise fragmented and unharmonized digital landscape can have the opposite than intended effects of creating a single market. Policy makers on the EU level are called upon to acknowledge this reality they have so far understated and act accordingly.

For more information on the Digital Single Market, please click here.

EU/DSM: Estonian presidency's New plan targeting tax avoidance.
On September 15 and 16, the 28 EU Finance Ministers are planned to discuss taxation of Multinational Digital Platforms in Estonia. The proposal submitted by Estonian presidency proposes changes such as shifting the tax burden from the company registration country to the operating market. The proposed reform of international tax rules could change concepts such as the "permanent establishment" of Digital Multinationals, forcing companies to pay the tax in the country where the value is created, regardless of the physical presence on the market. However, it is unlikely, that a consensus will be reached from the EU 28. The reform might well encounter opposition from various countries such as Netherlands or Ireland which benefit from the corporate tax avoidance schemes.

For more Information on DSM, please click here.


CEPS Publication; Developing EU Capital Markets for SMEs: Mission impossible?
Bank lending is the most common source of external finance for SMEs, but it doesn't suit all of them. Young, innovative and fast-growing SMEs, in particular, do not have the required cash flows and collateral for bank financing and need alternatives to unlock their growth potential. Market-based finance is one alternative to help finance the activities of these SMEs. The European Commission's renewed activities to develop market-based financing need to be stepped up in order to develop a credible capital market to finance SMEs in the EU.

To access this publication, please click here.

Brugel Publication: Remaking Europe: the new manufacturing as an engine for growth
Europe needs to know how it can realise the potential for industrial rejuvenation. How well are European firms responding to the new opportunities for growth, and in which global value chains are they developing these new activities? The policy discussion on the future of manufacturing requires an understanding of the changing role of manufacturing in Europe's growth agenda.

To access this publication, please click here.

World Economic Forum Publication: Digital Policy Playbook 2017: Approaches to National Digital Governance
The "Digital Policy Playbook 2017" is designed to help leaders understand the complex dynamics and difficult decisions they will face in managing their transition into the digital domain. With real-world insights on the implications of digitalization, the aim is to strengthen their confidence as they create new opportunities for all while lowering shared risks. By providing a richer understanding of the factors shaping our future, combined with pragmatic tools to drive the outcomes desired, this new playbook will serve to support the core mission of the World Economic Forum: improving the state of the world.

To access this publication, please click here.

EPC Publication: Why the EU will have an industrial policy - but not necessarily a good one
How best to support its industry has been a perennial issue for the European Union (EU). The Commission's approach has been an attempt to mainstream industrial competitiveness across policy areas. But this hardly constitutes an adequate strategic industrial policy. The EU and its members must recognise that current global pressures require a common and forward-looking approach to ensure that European industry can thrive.

To access this publication, please click here.


Public consultation on EU Company law
DEADLINE: 06/08/2017

The aim of this public consultation is to collect input from stakeholders on problems regarding company law, gather evidence of such problems and ask their views on possible solutions on how to address the problems at EU level. The consultation is divided into four parts (the reasons to act, the use of online tools throughout the company's' lifecycle, the cross-border mobility of companies, the conflict-of-law rules for companies).
To access this consultation, please click here.

Public consultation on the database directive
DEADLINE: 30/08/2017
The Commission is launching a public consultation on the application and impact of the Database Directive 96/9/EU on legal protection of databases. The Directive offers two-tier protection to databases: Copyright protection to the databases which are considered 'original' and Sui generis protection to databases on which major investments have been made. In the ongoing ex-post evaluation, the Commission is assessing whether the Directive still fulfils its policy goals and is fit-for-purpose in a digital, data-driven economy. The results of the consultation will feed into a Staff Working Document describing the Commission's findings. The main objectives of the consultation are to collect up-to-date information on the evolution of the market related to databases; the use and the impact of the copyright and the sui generis protection regimes on the database makers and users.
To access this consultation, please click here.

Interim evaluation of the programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and small and medium-sized enterprises
DEADLINE: 31/08/2017

This public consultation is part of the interim evaluation of the COSME Programme. The Commission will consult representatives of COSME countries' public administrations and key SME stakeholders separately. Nevertheless, we encourage them to also contribute to this public consultation. The report will assess the programme at mid-term, contribute to improving the implementation and provide an evidence-base for future activities and initiatives.
To access this consultation please click here.

Public consultation on the targeted revision of EU consumer law directives
DEADLINE: 08/10/2017

Further to the recently concluded Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law and evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive, the Commission is seeking stakeholders' views on possible targeted legislative changes in some key EU consumer law directives. The evidence gathered during these assessments points to the following areas where legislative changes may be necessary to further fine-tune the cross-cutting consumer law body: providing more transparency on whom consumers conclude contracts with when buying on online platforms (online marketplaces) and whether EU consumer rights are applicable to such contracts; extension of some consumer rights to contracts for online services where consumers provide data instead of paying with money; individual redress/remedies for consumers harmed by unfair commercial practices, for example misleading green claims; more proportionate, effective and deterrent financial penalties to tackle breaches of consumer laws; simplification of some rules and requirements.
To access this consultation please click here.

Public consultation on retail regulations in a multi-channel environment
DEADLINE: 08/10/2017

Public consultation on retail regulations in a multi-channel environment. The purpose of this Public Consultation is to seek input from stakeholders for identifying best practices in the retail sector in the context of the above-mentioned follow-up actions of the Single Market Strategy. Commission services have already conducted extensive fact-finding on national retail legal frameworks and the public policy objectives behind these frameworks (detailed information can be found in the Roadmap). This public consultation is intended to complete this fact-finding exercise with an emphasis on: the implications of the growing importance of e-commerce and changing consumer habits for the retail sector and its regulatory framework and on opportunities and obstacles for the integration of the EU retail market.
To access this consultation please click here.

Public consultation investigating options for reducing releases to the environment of microplastics
DEADLINE: 16/10/2017

The European Commission is launching this consultation to collect the views of stakeholders and citizens with regard to the policy options to reduce microplastics entering the marine environment. This consultation touches the policy areas of Environment, Circular economy, Marine and coastal environment. The objectives of the consultation are: informing and enabling feedback, giving the possibility to a broad range of stakeholders to provide views, feedback and perceptions on the concern around microplastics emissions and possible options for reduction; and gathering information and data that cannot be found through desk research and additional sources of evidence as regards the sources and policy options for the reduction of microplastics emissions.
To access this consultation please click here.

Public consultation on transparency and fees in cross-border transactions in the EU
DEADLINE: 30/10/2017
Earlier this year, the Commission presented its action plan on consumer financial services. Actions 1 and 2 of the action plan announced measures related to the fees paid payment services users for cross-border transactions and their transparency. The consultation seeks to collect views from a broad range of stakeholders, as well as from the public and will help the Commission define the best way forward to complete the objective of reducing the cost of cross-border payments. It looks into the different components of cross-border payments in non-euro currencies of the EU but also inquires about how euro transactions are priced in non-euro Member States. The consultation specifically explores two dimensions of cross-border payments: the cost of a transaction and the cost of currency conversion.

To access this consultation, please click here

Public consultation on post-trade in a Capital Market Union: dismantling barriers and strategy for the future
DEADLINE: 15/11/2017

The purpose of this consultation is to learn stakeholders' views about the current state of post-trade markets, the main trends and challenges faced by post-trade services providers and their users, and to determine the existence and scale of remaining or new barriers, the risks associated with such barriers and the best ways to address them.

To access this consultation, please click here


EU Institutions: important dates
18 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Industry
18 September: Working Party on the Environment
19 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth
19 September: Working Party on Customs Union (Customs Union Group)
19 September: Working Party on Information Exchange and Data Protection
19 September: Working Party on the Environment
19 September: Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society
19-21 September: Informal meeting of energy ministers
20 September: Coreper I
20 September Coreper II
20 September: Working Party on Company Law
20 September: Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society
20 September: Working Party on the Environment
22 September: Coreper I
22 September: Coreper (Art.50)
22 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Internal Market
22 September: Working Party on Intellectual Property – Copyright
22 September: Working Party on Tax Questions – Indirect Taxation
22 September: Working Party on the Environment
25 September: General Affairs Council
25 September: Working Party on Competition
25 September: Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society
25 September: Working Party on the Environment
25 September: IMCO Committee
26 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Internal Market
26 September: Working Party on Energy
26 September: Working Party on the Environment
27 September: Coreper I
27 September: Coreper II
27 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Industry
27 September: Working Party on Telecommunications and Information Society
28 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Internal Market
28 September: Working Party on the Environment
28 September: IMCO Committee
28 September: ENVI Committee
28 September: Joint Committee meetings for IMCO and JURI
29 September: Coreper I
29 September: Working Party on Competitiveness and Growth – Internal Market
29 September: Working Party on General Affairs
2 October: JURI Committee


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The European Small Business Alliance (ESBA) is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities.

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