EU warns it may act to defend Spain in dispute with Algeria
Top European Union officials said Friday the bloc was treating the crisis between Algeria and Spain with the “utmost concern” and warned it was prepared to take action to defend the interests of its members. In a joint statement, European Commission executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the decision by Algeria to suspend a two-decade-old friendship treaty with Spain, potentially freezing trade between the two countries, appeared “to be in violation of the EU-Algeria Association Agreement, in particular in the area of trade and investment.” While urging dialogue to resolve the dispute, the EU officials said “the EU is ready to stand up against any type of coercive measures applied against" an EU nation.news.yahoo.com
US, Germany support Lithuania in spat with China over Taiwan
The United States and Germany are backing Lithuania in its spat with China, saying the pressure exerted by Beijing against the tiny Baltic nation is unwarranted, Lithuania broke with diplomatic custom last year by letting the Taiwanese office in Vilnius bear the name Taiwan, instead of Chinese Taipei.
EU officials target a breakthrough for the 15% global tax deal this month
PARIS - A global deal on corporate tax could be completed before the end of this month, the EU's top trade chief told CNBC Wednesday. Global governments have been involved in tough negotiations to bring a handful of nations in line with a international deal on corporate tax. Some nations, notably Hungary and Ireland, where corporate tax is below 15%, had raised doubts about the agreement. We are also working with EU member states to make sure all are on board concerning the international tax agreement," Valdis Dombrovskis, the European Commission Vice President for Trade, told CNBC Wednesday. Paschal Donohoe, the country's finance minister, said in Luxembourg that he would be discussing the revised tax deal at a cabinet meeting on Thursday and expressing his opinion thereafter.cnbc.com
Odds of settling US-EU trade rifts? Hope may outrun progress
President Joe Biden has vowed to mend America’s trade relations with its European allies, which were stretched to the breaking point by President Donald Trump’s mercurial behavior, combative policies and aversion to multinational alliances.
EU threatens to freeze huge investment deal with China
The European Parliament warned China on Thursday it won't ratify a long-awaited business investment deal as long as sanctions against European Union legislators remain in place. EU lawmakers adopted a resolution in which they condemned “the baseless and arbitrary sanctions" imposed by Beijing on European individuals and institutions in March. The European Parliament’s criticism was echoed by European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, who said after a meeting of EU trade ministers that China’s sanctions haven't created a favorable environment for a deal to be concluded.news.yahoo.com
EU halts plans to ratify China investment agreement as G7 foreign ministers meet in London
The European Union said it had halted plans to ratify an investment agreement with China on Tuesday, as G7 foreign ministers met in London to hammer out a common response to a more assertive Beijing. Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU trade commissioner, said the time was not right to seal the deal, which falls short of a fully fledged free trade agreement, after Brussels and Beijing hit each other with sanctions over the oppression of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province. “It is clear that in the current situation, with the EU sanctions against China and the Chinese counter-sanctions, including against members of the European Parliament, the environment is not conducive to the ratification of the agreement,” Mr Dombrovskis told Agence France-Presse. Beijing retaliated with sanctions on members of the European Parliament after the EU imposed sanctions on officials implicated in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs. MEPs have said they would not now ratify the long mooted agreement. Mr Dombrovskis’ comments suggest that the European Commission, which has long pushed for the deal, has accepted that political reality, despite Berlin pressing hard for the agreement.news.yahoo.com
EU moves toward stricter export controls for COVID-19 shots
Spain resumed the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)BRUSSELS – The European Union moved Wednesday toward stricter export controls for coronavirus vaccines, seeking to make sure its 27 nations have more COVID-19 shots to boost the bloc's flagging vaccine campaign amid a surge in new infections. Ad“I mention specifically the U.K.,” said EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis. That was heading to Australia, which has a very limited coronavirus outbreak compared to the third surge of infections now facing many EU nations. The EU has been feuding with AstraZeneca for months over exactly how many vaccine doses would be delivered by certain dates.
As virus restrictions bite, EU extends safety net till 2023
The Commission, the EU’s executive arm, reckons that fiscal support worth around 8% of GDP was provided in 2020, far more than during the financial crisis of 2008-2009. “There is hope on the horizon for the EU economy, but for now the pandemic continues to hurt people’s livelihoods and the wider economy,” Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Wednesday. Ad“To cushion this impact and to promote a resilient and sustainable recovery, our clear message is that fiscal support should continue as long as needed. Based on current indications, the general escape clause would remain active in 2022 and be deactivated in 2023,” Dombrovskis said. The decision to extend the general escape clause is a sign of just how uncertain things are.
EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges
European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni speaks during an online news conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Growth in the wider 27-nation EU is predicted to hit 3.7% this year and 3.9% in 2022 following last year's 6.3% slide. We will still have a great deal to do to contain the wider socio-economic fallout.”Gentiloni conceded though that the virus is posing major economic and social challenges. “None of the member states is expected return in 2022 to the growth path projected before the crisis. In 2022, GDP in the EU and the euro-area will remain about 4% below what pre-pandemic forecasts had projected,” he said.
EU lawmakers OK $815 billion recovery program
(Olivier Hoslet, Pool via AP)BRUSSELS – European Union lawmakers on Wednesday approved a 672.5 billion euro ($815 billion) recovery package of loans and grants to help member nations recover more quickly from the coronavirus pandemic, but countries will not receive the money for several months. The European Parliament voted 582-40, with 69 abstentions, in favor of the regulation for the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the central pillar of the the bloc’s 750 billion euro ($910 billion) recovery plan. Our health systems will also become more resilient.”AdSo far, 18 nations have submitted their draft plans to the European Commission, which is in charge of assessing them. The funding will be available for three years and EU countries can request up to 13% pre-financing for their recovery and resilience plans. Once a proposal allowing the European Commission to borrow on financial markets is ratified by all member nations, the commission expects the first recovery fund payments could be made from mid-2021.
EU: Brexit trade talks still have 'substantial work' ahead
BRUSSELS – A top European Union official said Wednesday that trade talks with the United Kingdom still face “substantial work" that might spill over into next week, with a perilous deadline drawing ever closer. Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU's top trade official, said “there are still important elements to be resolved. So there is still substantial work to do," if a full agreement is to come into force on Jan. 1. The U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, but a transition period when EU rules apply to trade and other issues runs until the end of next month. Both sides had hoped to get a trade deal by then to save hundreds of thousands of jobs that could be at stake if Brexit amounts to a brutal cliff edge divorce.
EU to impose tariffs on up to $4 billion of U.S. products
The World Trade Organization agreed last year that the EU did not follow best trade practices when granting aid to Airbus. In light of that decision, the U.S. imposed duties on $7.5 billion of imported goods from Europe. As a result, the EU has said it is now going ahead with up to $4 billion in tariffs. However, despite the decision to impose tariffs, the EU wants to overcome the dispute as soon as possible. Speaking to journalists, Dombrovskis said the EU will remove the duties if the United States does the same.cnbc.com
EU puts tariffs on US but hopes for change with Biden
European trade ministers agreed on the move a few weeks after international arbitrators gave the EU the green light for such punitive action. “The United States is disappointed by the action taken by the EU today,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. After Trump also imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum and threatened punitive duties on cars, the Europeans had hoped that he would hold fire on the tariffs related to the Airbus-Boeing dispute. Asked why the EU didn’t wait until Trump leaves office, Altmaier said: “The U.S. tariffs have already been valid for over a year. Dombrovskis welcomed Biden’s commitment to international alliances, the multilateral system and to improving ties with the EU.
EU cuts 2021 economic outlook as virus spreads
BRUSSELS – As COVID-19 cases keep rising, the European Union's executive commission lowered its forecast for the economic rebound from the coronavirus pandemic next year and said the economy wouldn’t reach pre-virus levels until 2023. The regular autumn forecast foresees growth of only 4.2% in 2021 for the 19 countries that use the euro, instead of the previous estimate of 6.1%. The eurozone and the wider 27-country European Union economy saw a robust rebound in July, August and September, following lockdowns and cautious consumer behavior in the first half of the year that crushed business activity. Third-quarter GDP increased by 12.7% from the previous quarter, the largest increase since statistics started being kept in 1995. The European Central Bank is pumping 1.35 trillion euros ($1.58 trillion) into the economy through regular bond purchases, a step aimed at keeping credit flowing affordably to businesses.
The EU announces its first ever plan to regulate cryptocurrencies
The European Commission on Thursday put forward plans to regulate crypto-assets in what will be its first ever attempt to oversee the nascent technology. Valdis Dombrovskis European Commission Executive Vice PresidentAt the same time, there will be tougher rules on firms that issue so-called "stablecoins." 'Not closing the doors to UK financing'The Commission on Thursday also presented plans to develop capital markets within the bloc. The so-called Capital Markets Union aims to make access to capital easier across the 27 EU nations. However, Dombrovskis said that the EU's latest plan was not "closing our doors to the financing from the U.K. or the United States."cnbc.com
Key EU states worry South America trade pact may hurt Amazon
Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the EU Commission, speaks at a press conference in Berlin, Germany, following the informal talks of the EU Trade Ministers on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. And we will need definitely to have more discussions between us.”Following two decades of negotiations, the trade pact was announced last year by the European Commission, the executive body that negotiates trade agreements on behalf of EU countries. The preliminary deal, which needs to be ratified by all EU countries, was struck with the Mercosur bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Speaking after the meeting, EU Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis confirmed that several member states expressed concerns relating to the Paris agreement and deforestation, especially in Brazil. Dombrovskis added that the trade deal is still in the process of undergoing legal revision and that the EU Commission will decide on the ratification procedure at a later stage.
EU names Dombrovskis as its new trade chief
BRUSSELS The European Unions executive commission is proposing its experienced Latvian vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, to take over the post as trade chief of the bloc following the resignation of Ireland's Phil Hogan. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement as she named European Parliament heavyweight Mairead McGuinness as the new financial services commissioner to fill Ireland's seat at the table. Dombrovskis had already been holding the post temporarily since Hogan's resignation on Aug. 26. Dombrovskis now fills a vital post in dealing with the United States, China and post-Brexit Britain, with all three demanding near daily attention. It also means von der Leyen limited her reshuffle in the Commission and with McGuinness she further narrowed the gender gap in the Commission, which now stands at 14 men and 13 women.
'We cannot delay' on approving more coronavirus stimulus, EU's Dombrovskis says
The proposal needs to be agreed upon by EU members before it can be implemented. "We cannot delay (an agreement)," Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission, told CNBC in an exclusive interview. Meanwhile, the European Commission said in early May that the 27 EU countries together could contract by 7.4% this year. "All member states recognize that we are facing an unprecedented crisis, all EU member states are in recession and we need a coordinated response," Dombrovskis said. The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden are among the EU countries that have raised doubts regarding the Commission's proposal.cnbc.com
EU says virus fund access to be linked to its budget advice
Virtually every country has broken the deficit limit of 3% of GDP as theyve spent to keep health care systems, businesses and jobs alive. But these are exceptional times, European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said. The commissions country specific recommendations released Wednesday are part of a system under which the executive arm monitors national budgetary plans and gives policy advice. He did not provide details about how the recommendations would be linked to the recovery funds. Hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain will probably be banking on the recovery fund to survive.
EU predicts region will contract 7.4% this year in worst economic shock since 1930s
The European Union will contract 7.4% in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic brings the worst economic shock since the Great Depression in the 1930s, the European Commission said Wednesday. The executive arm of the EU has released its latest economic forecasts the first estimates since European countries introduced lockdown measures to stop the spread of the virus. In February, the European Commission estimated a 1.4% rise in GDP for the EU this year. "Europe is experiencing an economic shock without precedent since the Great Depression," Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for the economy, said in a statement. The European Commission is currently working on further economic stimulus to the region.cnbc.com