Friday 22 September 2017

State of the Union: legislative worries

The European Commission’s English only State of the Union 2017 web page does not offer any updates this morning, but it only means that we have to look elsewhere for important developments.

Digital tax and Tallinn summit
Yesterday the Commission outlined a path towards fair taxation in the digital economy: press release IP/17/3305, questions and answers MEMO/17/3341 and vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis SPEECH/17/3402.

The exploratory communication is already available on the EU’s legal portal Eur-Lex, but at this time only in English:

A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the European Union for the Digital Single Market; Brussels, 21.9.2017 COM(2017) 547 final

The upcoming, 29 September 2017 Tallinn Digital Summit, arranged by the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union, offers the heads of state or government an opportunity to ponder the role of taxation as part of Europe’s digital future and the emerging digital single market.  For more detailed information, check the digital summit background paper and the state of play of the digital single market.

Naturally, it is economically important, especially for important American corporations, that the EU-US privacy shield fiction has received a clean bill of health: STATEMENT/17/3342.

Legislative worries
The next section in the State of the Union 2017 brochure (108 pages) is called the Policy Implementation Report (from page 79).

Against the backdrop of the blog post State of the Union: better regulation and enforcement and the corresponding brochure sections, the Policy Implementation Report offers a summary of the situation (page 80):  

Legislative Priorities: State of Play
On 13 December 2016, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission agreed on a Joint Declaration on the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017. They highlighted 58 initiatives for which a priority treatment in the legislative process was needed to help address the biggest of the European Union’s economic, environmental and societal challenges. The three institutions committed to ensure substantial progress and, where possible, delivery before the end of 2017. Of these 58 Commission proposals, 11 have already been agreed by the European Parliament and the Council and have therefore been delivered. If there is political will from the co-legislators, 19 initiatives are likely to be agreed by the end of 2017. For the remaining 28 proposals, agreement or substantial progress is unlikely to occur in 2017. For these outstanding proposals, the European Parliament and Council do not always move at the same pace, with one or the other accelerating or slowing progress. Strong political commitment from all EU Institutions will be required to complete these proposals in 2018.

The brochure then summarises progress for each of these 58 priority proposals in a convenient way; you can see the situation almost at a glance.

The presentation is technically beautiful, but the situation is worrying: 28 out of 58 legislative initiatives are stuck in the European Parliament or the EU Council, or both.

For more detailed views you can consult European Parliamentary Research Service EPRS publication The European Commission at mid-term and European Parliaments legislative train schedule (updated to the end of June).

Remaining sections

The sections of the State of the Union 2017 brochure still to cover are:
The European Solidarity Corps: One Year on
Visits to national Parliaments
Citizens’ Dialogues
Letter on the Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and a More Democratic Union  

Ralf Grahn

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