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Long before the official presentation of the European Green Deal, eyebrows were raised as to the funding of the mammoth project. On 14 January 2020 the Commission presented the financial plan for the green transition to MEPs, including an investment plan for a sustainable Europe and a mechanism for a just transition.

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District heating is, on the one hand, an important energy efficiency measure. On the other hand, it is an important infrastructure to increase the share of renewable energy in heating and cooling. However, there is no strong regulation in place comparable to electricity and natural gas from a consumer´s perspective: They generally are in a weak position with high infrastructure costs entailing high prices. Therefore, AK proposes a reform of the framework conditions of the local and district heating and cooling markets on European level.

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Particularly in the run up to Christmas, Amazon’s business is booming. Criticism of the tech giant appears not to have impact on consumers’ shopping behaviour -  the power of the company, based on dubious and anti-trade union strategies, is growing.

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On 2nd December 2019,  Christine Lagarde, the newly appointed President of the European Central Bank spoke in front of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament for the first time. Apart from current economic indicators, she announced her intention to review the ECB’s monetary strategy for the first time in 16 years.

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On 26th November 2019, mail arrived for Council President-designate Charles Michel: a joint letter of the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) addressed the lobbying by corporations to influence the Council. In this letter, the AK as co-signatory demands actual lobbying transparency, which, among other, had already been recommended by the European Ombudsman and has actually been envisioned by the guidelines of the Juncker- Commission. 

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Outdated tax regulations, as well as loopholes and a lack of transparency resulting from it enable multinational corporations to avoid or evade taxes by complex company structures. Even experts understanding these structures is not an easy task struggle. An event organised by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) on the subject of sustainable corporate taxation addressed this problem.

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It is a well-known fact that large corporations, above all digital companies, hardly pay any tax because they move their profits to tax havens. But how much money do Member States lose due to tax evasion by individuals? A new study of the European Commission sheds light.

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The EU wants to use the European Semester to better coordinate the economic policy of Member States in order to be more effectively equipped against economic crises. In order to make in particular the euro states more competitive, the European Commission proposed in July 2019 an additional governance framework, which shall set the reform and investment priorities for the Eurozone. However, from the AK EUROPA’s point of view, this proposal goes into the wrong direction.

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The AK firmly rejects the proposal for a regulation for a governance framework for the budgetary instrument for convergence and competitiveness:

 

Already the basis of the governance framework, the European Semester, is itself to be criticised. The country-specific recommendations represent a series of demands which, in many cases, appear to be arbitrary, objectively unjustified, socially unbalanced and at any rate run counter to the social objectives enshrined in the EU Treaties or a wealth-oriented policy.

 

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Another round of negotiations in the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on a binding treaty, which shall impose due diligence obligations in respect of complying with human rights on companies, took place mid-October. The EU as such has no negotiation mandate and is therefore not actively involved in the negotiations. However, it is present and announced in the meeting that during the next EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen, it would increase its attention concerning this issue.