AK welcomes the fact that the EU Commission is taking a comprehensive look at re-orientating competition regulations. The current legal situation falls far short of satisfying the minimum requirements in terms of employment, social, consumer protection, taxation, and competition policies. In all future legal acts, the interests of workers and consumers must be given greater priority. This means that interest representative groups should at the best be included in the decision-making process of the actual procedures in the best possible way.
On December 12, 2020, the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation in cooperation with AK EUROPA and ÖGB Europabüro hosted a webinar on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the world of work.
This time, no marathon meeting was required for the Heads of State and Government to reach agreement concerning an important issue at the European Council on 11 and 12 December 2020 in Brussels: the leaders found a compromise regarding the Multiannual Financial Framework and the related Rule of Law Clause, which is to be applied from 1 January 2021 – at least in theory.
On 9 December 2020, AK EUROPA, together with the ÖGB Europabüro, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) launched a campaign, which shall increase the pressure on the EU Commission to present an ambitious regulation on due diligence in 2021.
Companies today are operating with impunity around the world. Too many of them wreck the environment, abuse workers’ and trade union rights, kick indigenous people off their land or support modern day slavery. Those who stand up to corporate abuses around the world are fired from their jobs, thrown in jail, go missing or worse.
The Commission has launched a consultation on EU competition policy and its contribution to achieving the Green Deal. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, it is clear that competition law has to be oriented towards a socially just transition to a climate-friendly economic system. This is the only way to achieve broad acceptance for this comprehensive change, which involves all actors and stakeholders.
In May 2018, the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker presented the proposal for the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. However, it took until 10 November 2020 for representatives of European Commission, Parliament and Council to reach political agreement on this long-term budget plan, which meanwhile has been expanded by a recovery plan as a reaction to the Coronavirus crisis.
In Summer 2020, the European Commission announced a new tax package to improve the cooperation between tax authorities, update the Mutual Assistance Directive and to reform the Code of Conduct for business taxation. AK welcomes it as a step in the right decision. Nevertheless, AK demands the implementation of additional measurements. These are urgently required, since the EU e.g. still misses out on 825 billion euro by tax avoidance yearly.
On 15 July 2020, the EU Commission adopted a tax package with the aim of improving cooperation between tax authorities, to reduce red tape and to reform the code of conduct concerning business taxation. The Chamber of Labour welcomes the package as an important step in the right direction; however, it demands the implementation of additional measures.
The European Commission increases its pace to achieve a climate neutral Europe. On 14th October 2020, it published three strategies, which shall take the next steps to implement the Green Deal. One of them concerns a renovation wave with the aim to double the renovation rate.