Netherlands begins its EU presidency - EUbusiness Week newsletter 730
EUbusiness Week 730 top stories: Brexit negotiations still face difficulties; EU shuts down Belgium tax breaks for multinationals; EU delays decision on China market economy status; EU sour on French milk and meat industry meetings; Bulgaria eyes new gas project after South Stream failure; Merkel takes centre stage in EU's year of crises
Welcome back to EUbusiness Week, as the Netherlands takes over the
Presidency of the EU, promising to focus on "essentials", creating
growth and jobs through innovation, and connecting with civil society.
Its priorities are migration & international security, innovation
& job creation, sound finances and climate & energy policy.
An immediate focus will be the February summit, where Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte declares himself "relatively optimistic' that Britain can secure a reform deal.
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1. Brexit negotiations still face difficulties
Negotiations on Britain's demands to stay in the EU still have difficult
issues to resolve before a hoped-for deal in February can be struck,
says a top Commission official.
British EU exit 'not the answer': Cameron
2. EU shuts down Belgium tax breaks for multinationals
The EU on Monday closed a major tax break that Belgium offered to dozens
of multinationals, including beer giant AB InBev, and ordered the
companies to return EUR 700m in unpaid taxes.
McDonalds's hit by European consumers' anti-trust complaint
3. EU delays decision on China market economy status
The EU on Wednesday said it would wait until later this year to decide
if China should finally be considered a real market economy, a status
keenly sought by Beijing that would make it harder for Europe to limit
its cheap exports.
4. EU sour on French milk and meat industry meetings
The Commission is investigating possible anti-competitive behaviour at
roundtable meetings of the dairy and meat sectors the French government
organised last year held to raise critically low prices.
5. Bulgaria eyes new gas project after South Stream failure
Bulgaria's premier has outlined plans for a proposed new project to
bring gas from Russia and elsewhere to Europe, while bypassing Ukraine,
following the failure of the South Stream project.
6. Merkel takes centre stage in EU's year of crises
In a year of crises for Europe, from the Ukraine war to Greece's debt
turmoil to the historic refugee influx, Germany's Angela Merkel emerged
as the continent's de facto leader, drawing more praise and fire than
Poland: the EU has launched an unprecedented probe into controversial
legal changes introduced by Poland's new right-wing government to see if
they violate EU democracy rules and merit punitive measures.
Hungary anti-terror spy law breaches privacy: ECHR
Latest news from the European Court of Justice
EU law firms
Inside the EU Institutions
Greece: Greece "fully accepted" on Thursday that the hardline IMF take a
role in its massive third bailout, backing away from one of the last
battle lines splitting Athens and its eurozone creditors.
EU extends Iran sanctions freeze by extra two weeks
Turkey: the number of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to
Greece is "still way too high", EC vice president Frans Timmermans said
Monday, a month and a half after a deal aimed to limit the flow.
No further eurozone expansion seen in next few years
Poland: Poland's conservatives have been cosying up to populist Hungary
since returning to power in October, following Budapest's lead in
tightening government control over the judiciary and media in moves that
riled the EU.
This week, the incoming Dutch presidency outlined its priorities at a series of committee meetings. MEPs backed the first-ever EU-wide cyber-security rules, debated the migration crisis and the threat to Schengen, and quizzed the Commission's chief negotiator on progress ahead of the UK referendum.
Other news on EUbusiness this week
EU opens probe into Halliburton, Baker Hughes merger 13-Jan
France to speed Chinese visa delivery 11-Jan
Western sanctions 'severely' harming Russia: Putin 11-Jan
Dutch 'no' to Kiev-EU accord could trip crisis 9-Jan
EU clears FedEx takeover of TNT 8-Jan
Eurozone inflation lingers near zero despite ECB boost 6-Jan
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LinksNetherlands EU Presidency website