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Tax avoidance and profit shifting by multinationals pose a significant problem for most EU Member States. Since this problem is so widespread, it has become a major question of equitableness. Digitalisation and the increasing importance of intangible assets (brands, algorithms, data, etc.) are additional challenges to international taxation (of profits). A change to the system of international profit taxation towards a consolidated profit approach and formular apportionment (including a minimum profit tax rate) is the best way to get this problem under control.

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Philipp Gerhartinger

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Dominik Bernhofer

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The issue of how to shape future politics in Europe was the subject of a joint event organised by the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour (AK EUROPA) and the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB Europabüro), the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on 19.06.2019. Together with Professor Björn Hacker, political and workforce representatives discussed the issue, as to what a European Union might look like, which would not only react to crises, but would actively operate as problem solver.

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On 5th June 2019, the European Commission published its country-specific recommendations within the framework of the European Semester. The concrete recommendations for Austria paint a mixed picture: on the one hand, it is recommended to increase the cooperation with the social partners. On the other hand, increasing the statutory pension age has been recommended once again.

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On 29 May 2019, a public hearing on the UN binding treaty on business and human rights took place in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Prior to the next negotiation round at EU level, which will take place in October, experts from academia as well as representatives of the social partners and NGOs had the opportunity to present their views on the treaty.

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In order to discuss the consequences of the Nidec case, AK Steiermark President Josef Pesserl met with Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on May 2nd 2019. Only a few weeks before, 400 jobs had been in danger in the Austrian region of Styria, following the initiated merger control proceedings of the Commission. However, thanks to its expertise and commitment, Chamber of Labour has been able to contribute to the matter. The Nidec case also shows a deeper need for reforming EU competition law.

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Based on its Spring Forecast 2019, the European Commission presented its forecast for the economic development of the EU and its individual Member States on May 7th. In doing so, it forecast a weakening of the economic growth in the European Union. Hence, it is necessary for Member States to take action, which promotes sustainable development.

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Die im Rahmen des Europäischen Semesters von der Europäischen Kommission erstellten Länderberichte sind eine wichtige Grundlage für die Ausarbeitung der nationalen Reformprogramme und der länderspezifischen Empfehlungen. Der letzte Länderbericht der amtierenden Kommission zu Österreich fällt umfassend aus. Er enthält eine Reihe wichtiger Feststellungen, aber auch Bereiche, wo die Analyse der EK aus BAK-Sicht nicht nachvollziehbar ist bzw wesentliche Aspekte ausgeklammert werden.

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Norbert Templ

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Competition policy is an important part of economic policy. In an economic system based on a market economy, competition policy has to determine the conditions for a competitive framework which ensure that competition between economic players functions and anti-competitive behaviour is stopped and penalised.

 

 

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Helmut Gahleitner

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Ulrike Ginner

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Eight percent of all households in the EU are unable to keep their homes warm. This shows that energy poverty is by no means a fringe issue. Hence, the EU institutions are required to take effective measures during the coming legislative period to ensure that energy remains accessible to all Europeans.

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On 26th March 2019, the European Parliament adopted the Report of the Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) with a vast majority. The report includes many important demands against tax avoidance and tax evasion. In doing so, the EU Parliament once again sets high standards for the tax policy in the European Union and its Member States.