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How do European companies report on the social and environmental impact of their business activities? To answer this question, the Alliance for Corporate Transparency presented a large-scale review in Brussels this week. For the first time, an extensive data set has been available, which analyses the sustainability reports of 1,000 European companies.

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On 5th February 2020, the European Commission launched a debate on the EU Stability and Growth Pact. A key issue is how public investments could be promoted. From the AK’s point of view the time has come for a Golden Investment Rule.

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On 28th January 2020, AK President Renate Anderl and ÖGB-President Wolfgang Katzian invited to the traditional New Year’s Reception hosted by AK EUROPA and the ÖGB Europabüro. Also this year, many guests accepted the invitation. Both Presidents addressed the public with a strong appeal for a social Europe: a policy, which prioritizes people, must once again move to the centre of attention.

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There has been a long period of back and forth, but today, on the 31st of January, the exit of Great Britain from the EU has become a reality. Subsequent to the European Parliament voting in favour of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday, the 29th of January, nothing else stood in the way of the exit date at the end of January. However, only the coming months will show how the EU and Great Britain will reorganise their relationship.

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In her political guidelines, Ursula von der Leyen had already announced in July 2019 the convention of a Conference on the Future of Europe to bring citizens and EU institutions closer together. On 22nd January, the Commission published a communication outlining the organisation and content of the conference.

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On 14th January 2020, the EU Commission presented a communication on creating a strong social Europe for a just transition. Also launched on this day was the initial phase of the social partner consultation on the issue of fair minimum wages.

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On 1st January 2020, Croatia, the youngest member of the EU, has assumed the EU Presidency. The Croatian Presidency comes at a special time, since it also accompanies the first 100 days of the new Commission.

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The Communication from the European Commission on the Green Deal for Europe on 11th December 2019 had been awaited with much anticipation. During its presentation in the European Parliament, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pointed out that it was not the objective of the EU Commission to “find out what the costs of non-action would be”.

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On 27th November 2019, MEPs confirmed the Commission under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen with a clear majority. Hence, nothing is in the way of the official inauguration on 1st December. In her speech prior to the vote in Strasbourg, President Ursula von der Leyen again outlined her position on structure and substantive priorities of the Commission.

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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.