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ESBA Bulletin of 26 July 2017

27 July 2017
by ESBA -- last modified 27 July 2017

ESBA wishes you a pleasant and relaxing summer break.


EU/Trade: Political agreement reached for free trade deal between EU and Japan
On July 6 2017, the political leadership of the EU and Japan made a joint announcement that an agreement had been reached for a free trade deal between the two parties. The agreement has been achieved on a political level and entails a declaration for closer political cooperation on the basis of shared values. The deal is to serve as the basis of a wider economic and political Strategic Partnership which was also agreed on the same date. According to the leaders of either side, the partnership will serve to unite the two sides bilaterally and make them stronger internationally, while commentators have dubbed it the most significant bilateral trade deal ever struck by the EU. The agreement specifically addresses issues related to market access for goods, services and investment, procurement, non-tariff measures, protection of geographical indications and intellectual property rights. Additionally, it is projected to contribute to job creation and present new opportunities for European companies. Finally, the agreement is the first of its kind to entail an explicit commitment to the Paris Climate agreement in its dedicated chapter on sustainable development.

For more information on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement please click here.

EU/Employment: Commission presents 2017 ESDE review
On 17 July 2017, the Commission published the 2017 Employment and Social Developments in Europe. The report underlines several trends. Firstly, unemployment is at his lowest since December 2008 while employment has never been as high. Furthermore, signs show that there is a heavy burden on younger generations who tend to have more problems in finding a job and are more often in non-standard and precarious forms of employment (including temporary contracts), which can lead to a lower social protection coverage. They are also likely to receive lower pensions, relative to wages. Finally, the working age population is expected to decline which means a smaller number of contributors will pay into pension systems while more pensioners will depend on them.

For more information on EU employment policies, please click here.

EU/Capital Markets Union: Council adopts conclusions on action plan adjustments for the capital markets union
On 11 July 2017, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council reached an agreement regarding the Commission's review of the capital markets union action plan. In supporting some of the priority initiatives set by the Commission, the Council renewed its commitment to the action plan with a view to completing the CMU by 2019. While two-thirds of its actions have been delivered, challenges remain, highlighting the need to strengthen the 2015 plan. Reiterating the Estonian agenda, Mr. Toniste stated that in this phase of economic recovery more investment is of the essence. Additionally, he spoke of the need to increase and diversify sources of financing, particularly for young and innovative companies. This will contribute to long-term sustainable development which is currently being hampered by pre-crisis investment rates. The Council's agreed priorities are to: strengthen capital markets so as to attract more investment and to improve access to finance in particular for European SMEs and start-ups. On its part, the Commission, presented the plan's mid-term review in a Communication dated the 8 June 2017. It places emphasis on specific actions regarding sustainable finance and financial technology, while on a more general level it also sets out three categories of actions to be pursued: actions announced in 2015 and not yet delivered; the follow-up to actions completed under the 2015 action plan; new priority actions.

For more information on the CMU please click here.

EU/Copyright: new chairman at JURI Committee could delays talks on copyright bill
On 15 June 2017, Axel Voss, deputy of the EPP group, started his first session as lead Rapporteur of the copyright bill in a JURI committee meeting. He had been appointed Rapporteur a few days earlier. Mr. Voss will continue the work initiated by Therese Comodini Cachia by putting to a vote the last part of the 1,000 amendments. The new chairman announced that he does not have the same point of view as his predecessor. Commissioner G√ľnther Oettinger and the EPP group at the European Parliament showed support to Axel Voss's position on most controversial amendments. The contentious parts of this bill relate to two propositions. The first one is creating an obligation for online search engines to pay news outlets when they share parts of their copyrighted work. The second one is about making online platforms responsible for any copyright infringement that their users may commit via a post. This shift of opinion could delay the compromise amendments vote and thus the whole file.

For more information on the copyright reform, please click here.

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Commission's publication: Review of Employment and Social Development of the EU for 2017
On 17 July 2017, the Commission published the 7th edition of a review which presents a detailed analysis of key employment and social issues and concerns for the European Union and its Member States as they pursue the EU 2020 employment and social goals. Results show that unemployment is at its lowest level since December 2008 and that job creation is increasing from one year to another. The review also shows that younger generations have more difficulties to find a job and that the share of part-time and precarious jobs is increasing a lot since 2010. This year's edition focuses on the topic of "intergenerational fairness and solidarity in Europe".
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.


EU Institutions: important dates
24-25 July 2017: Informal meeting of competitiveness ministers
4 September 2017: ITRE Committee

Other SME-related events

Taxation of the sharing economy - analyse of possible tax policies faced with the growth of the sharing economy
13/09/2017, Tallinn, Estonia
On 13 September 2017, the European Social and economic Committee is organising a public hearing regarding the new possible tax policies faced with the growth of the sharing economy. The Estonian Presidency asked to initiate this debate in order to gather insights from both the private sector and European institutions. A large panel of experts including member of the DG TAXUD cabinet and the Estonian Finance Minister are expected to participate in this event.
To find more about this event, please click here.

European Pillar of Social Rights: Public hearing of the EESC
11/09/2017, Brussels
On 11 September 2017, the European Social and Economic Committee is organising a public hearing about its new proposal on the draft interinstitutional proclamation endorsing the European Pillar of Social Rights. The panel and program of this event will be released soon on the EESC website.
To find more about this event, please click here.

Drivers of change for the public sector: Bringing governments closer to citizens and businesses in a digital age through Ethics and trust
26/09/2017, Brussels
On 26 September 2017, ACCA is holding a conference under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council. The conference is based on a study undertook by the ACCA with the objective of identifying the main drivers of change in the era of digitalization, and which skills will be required to adapt and respond to such changes in the period leading up to 2026. The conference will answer questions on how digital means can be used to restore the public image of governments and administrations as well as how they can be used to reinforce the role of ethics and transparency in politics. The event will be held from a public accounting perspective and how the role of public sector accountants can be adapted to better respond for the needs of businesses and the private sector more generally.
To find out more about this event please click here.


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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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