EU Public Policy Comes to Capital Thinking

Given the growing influence that global policy initiatives are having on the development of U.S. policy, our colleagues in Brussels will now bring boots-on-the-ground coverage of policy developments in EU to Capital Thinking.

Council of the EU Agrees on WiFi4EU Initiative

The EU 28 Member States Telecommunications Ministers met on December 2 and adopted a partial general approach on a proposal to promote free WiFi in local communities, under the WiFi4EU initiative. This initiative is part of a broader telecom review package that was published by the European Commission on September 14, including the following legislative proposals:

  • 2016/0288 (COD): Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code;
  • 2016/0286 (COD): Regulation establishing the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications;
  • COM(2016)588: An Action Plan for deploying a 5G in Europe; and
  • 2016/0287 (COD) : Regulation on the promotion of Internet connectivity in local communities and public spaces (WiFi4EU).

Council of the EU Reinforces Corporate Taxation Agenda

The EU 28 Member States Finance Ministers met on December 6 to formally approve the Directive (2016/0209 (CNS)) granting access to tax authorities into anti-money laundering information. The new measures should come into effect on January 1, 2018. This initiative was proposed following the Panama Papers revelations in an effort to reinforce the EU’s actions to combat tax evasion and increase transparency. Further legislative proposals were proposed under the Corporate Tax reform package published on October 25:

  • 2016/0337 (CNS): Directive on a Common Corporate Tax Base (CCTB; first-step);
  • 2016/0336 (CNS): Directive on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB; second-step);
  • 2016/0338 (CNS): Directive on a Double taxation dispute resolution mechanism in the EU; and
  • 2016/0339 (CNS): Directive on amending the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive as regards hybrid mismatches with third countries.

The EU 28 Finance Ministers also agreed last week on their conclusions to build a fair, competitive and stable corporate tax system for the EU, highlighting the importance of a two-step approach to establish a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base.

EU Trilogue Agreements

As part of the European Union’s co-decision process, the final aspect of negotiating a piece of legislation is being held through the so-called trilogue negotiations. These meetings include representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the EU. Once a political agreement is achieved, a piece of legislation is deemed finalized. It is worth noting that after the political agreement a number of other procedural steps are taken until formal approval by the European Parliament and Council of the EU.

On December 8, a political agreement was reached for the proposal to revise the Shareholder Rights Directive (original proposal: 2014/0121 (COD)) aiming to improve shareholders’ engagement in companies as well as corporate governance of EU companies listed on a stock exchange.

Another political agreement was reached on December 8, for the proposal to revise the Prospectus Directive into a Regulation (original proposal: 2015/0268 (COD)) aiming to improve access to finance for companies and simplify information for investors.