On 13 January 2022, EU Commissioner Hahn answered questions on the new own resources package, which the Commission had presented on 22 December 2021. Three new sources of revenues for own resources have been planned for the EU budget: revenues of emissions trading, of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and of taxing multinational corporation’s profits. From 2023-2030, these new sources of revenues shall generate on average up to 13.5 billion Euro per year for the EU budget.
Just before the start of the new year, the EU Commission took a far-reaching decision: within the scope of the Taxonomy Regulation, fossil gas and nuclear energy are to be classified as green investments. Whilst the majority of EU countries welcomes this delegated act, Austria positions itself at the forefront of opponents and even threatens to sue. However, it is unlikely that the Council will block the Commission’s initiative.
On 22 December 2021, the Commission presented a proposal for a Directive on implementing a global minimum tax in the EU. The Directive proposal is based on the agreement reached by 136 countries at the OECD level in October 2021. From 2023, an effective minimum tax rate of 15 % shall apply to multinational enterprises, which operate in the EU. Action will also be taken to tackle tax swamps.
The fundamental problem of the EU economic governance is that it is primarily geared towards avoiding excessive budget deficits. The evaluation that is now underway should be used to accomplish a reform that enables an active, balanced, well-coordinated and democratic economic governance. Hence, this position paper outlines concrete reform proposals.
The planned rules of the draft Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive are intended to extend considerably the “non-financial reporting obligation” applicable until now to certain European companies with respect to scope, extent of reporting and inclusion in the framework of corporate governance.
On 9 December 2021, the European Commission submitted an eagerly awaited proposal for a directive to improve the working conditions of people working through digital labour platforms. The proposal comprises three targets: combatting false self-employment, creating more transparency and fairness as well as introducing comprehensive information duties.
With the presentation of the Autumn Package on 24 November 2021, the Commission has launched the cycle of the European Semester for 2022. It was announced that the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will be integrated into the European Semester. Apart from that, more focus shall be placed on social and environmental aspects. Nevertheless, there is a basic need to reform the European Semester in order to put well-being oriented policies at the centre of the European Union.
On 23 November 2021, the EU Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection voted on the proposal on the Digital Markets Act.
Together with the Autrian Social Responsibility Network (Nesove), the Austrian trade union Federation ÖGB and numerous NGOs, Chamber of Labour has sent an open letter to Austrian Commissioner Hahn on the long-awaited Commission proposal for a Directive on Corporate Due Diligence.
The case law of the European Court of Justice has changed market freedoms into companies’ deregulation levers, which led to increased pressure on public services, social rights and wages. At a webinar organised by AK EUROPA and trade union confederations from Austria, Germany and Sweden as well as the European Trade Union Confederation, alternatives to the neoliberal model of the single market were discussed.